The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
I had a chance to ask Kenneth Arthur, managing editor of the Field Gulls fan blog, five questions about his favorite team, Seattle, whom the Redskins will face off against at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday. This is the fourth of the five questions & answers.
I answered five questions asked by Kenneth, and my answers to his questions are posted on Field Gulls.
4. If Jay Gruden hired you to put together a game plan for the Redskins this week, what advice would you give him for attacking the Seattle football team’s offense & defense?
I guess the first thing I’d do would be to thank Gruden; this was a long time coming but, frankly, I deserve it.
Big play offense
When the Seahawks are on offense, I'd work to eliminate "the big play."
Last Sunday, Russell Wilson completed four passes that went for at least 48 yards. He is the first QB in history to do that in a single game. Oddly, none of those passes went for touchdowns, but they all contributed to Seattle's 41 points in the win over the Texans.
A defense can stuff Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls over and over again, but then suddenly, it gives up 50 yards to Paul Richardson on a single play and the opposing defense finds itself asking: "What's the point?"
Wilson also launches it; he doesn't get a ton of YAC on these throws. He’s usually chucking it up to Richardson or Tyler Lockett or Tanner McEvoy, but he also mixes in short to intermediate passes to Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham — not that the latter two also can't be found downfield.
Get pressure on the QB
Putting pressure on Wilson is obviously key, as most QBs will make worse decisions when under duress, but putting pressure on Wilson would be nothing new. He's managed to overcome opposing pass rushers for the most part this season, especially over the last five games.
With Duane Brown — acquired in a trade with the Texans on Monday — now in at left tackle, it's even less likely that opposing defenses will find success in pressuring Wilson.
Bad analysts from Twitter say "Keep Wilson in the pocket!" but that's stupid. Wilson is one of the best pocket passers in the NFL.
Instead, force him to move. Put him on the run. He's not quite as dangerous in that regard as what I saw from Deshaun Watson last week. Wilson thrives more often when he has a clean pocket because with his speedy and sure-handed receivers, that's when he's eating up huge chunks of yards through the air. Pressure Wilson, force him outside of the pocket, and keep track of Richardson downfield to eliminate the big play.
Defending the run
A normal effort against the run should be enough to keep Seattle in check on rushing yards, so I'd be less worried about that at this point.
A little less “boom” this year?
Flipping it around, it's funny to wonder if the defense has fallen behind the offense.
They were first in the NFL in points allowed up until the Texans game, (now 7th), so how much of that was a defensive lapse and how much of it was the Texans being so hot on offense right now? Probably a combination of both.
I think the defense is still really good — great even — but without Earl Thomas (who suffered a hamstring injury in the Texans game) it's hard to say for sure how dominant they can be.
The Seahawks are starting rookie Shaquill Griffin opposite Richard Sherman, and he's good, but vulnerable to allowing big plays. Without Thomas to help over the top, I'm expecting Kirk Cousins to target that side of the field a lot this Sunday.
Rightfully so. Slot corner Justin Coleman is also undersized and vulnerable to mistakes, so I'd keep going in his direction as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vernon Davis have an impact (assuming he's healthy, but knowing Washington, I don't know if he will be?) as well. I'm sure nobody will forget the hit that Kam Chancellor put on him five years ago.
The ‘shut down’ part of Seattle’s defense
I think that Sherman will shut down his side of the field, as usual, and that the Seattle run defense shouldn't have too many problems with Washington's ground attack.
Keeping Cousins upright
Cousins is a talented QB, obviously, and I'd expect him to keep pushing the ball towards the guys being covered by Griffin and Coleman, and getting the ball out quickly if Washington's patchwork offensive line can't keep Frank Clark and Michael Bennett off of his back.
Seattle also added Sheldon Richardson prior to the season and Dwight Freeney last week, so there's some nice veteran presence added to the mix, though the impact of Richardson is maybe more muted and understated (or underwhelming?) than we may have expected.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is having another DPOY type season, so avoid him whenever possible, on the ground or through the air.
The role of Redskin receivers in attacking the Seattle defense
Speedy receivers also give the Seahawks troubles — guys like Will Fuller last weekend and Markus Wheaton a couple of years ago — who put up over 200 yards on Seattle. That's also something that DeAndre Hopkins did on Sunday, but in the three times in franchise history that the Seahawks allowed 200 yards to a receiver, they are 3-0.
Control the clock and keep Wilson on the sideline
Try to keep the score low for sure -- somehow the Seahawks have become a team that is more shootout-friendly these days than ground-and-pound. If you can establish long drives and keep Seattle's defense on the field, that'll be a key.
Give Wilson the ball too often, allow him to keep it in his hands, and that's when the Seahawks are at an advantage... especially at home.
I want to thank Ken again for his time and the in-depth strategy he outlined.
As usual, we look forward to an injury-free game and the prospect of yet another Redskin victory over another NFC West opponent!
How many Redskins players (not on IR) will be inactive due to injury for the game in Seattle on Sunday?
This poll is closed