The Washington Redskins will take their first road trip of the new season and the first under the leadership of General Manager Bruce Allen and Head Coach Mike Shanahan when they travel to the Edward Jones Dome to take on the St. Louis Rams at 4:05 pm on Sunday. The Washington Redskins will try to rebound from a 30-27 overtime loss to the Houston Texans after relinquishing a 17-point third quarter lead. The St. Louis Rams lost for the 27th time in 28 games when they were defeated by the Oakland Raiders 16-14.
This will be the 31st regular season meeting between the teams and the fourth time since 2006 that the Redskins and Rams have played each other. Washington holds a 21-8-1 lead in a series that dates back to the when this week's opponent was known as the Cleveland Rams in the 1930s. The Rams last defeated the Redskins in 2008 after Head Coach Scott Linehan was fired after five games and the Rams replaced him with an interim head coach. Current Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett was that interim head coach when the Rams upset the Redskins 19-17 at FedEx field after safety Oshiomogho Atogwe's returned of a fumble by Redskins guard Pete Kendall, who caught a deflected pass and then lost it for the Rams touchdown.
The Week in Review:
- With no ground game to speak of against the Texans (17 attempts for 18 net yards), QB Donovan McNabb threw for 426 yards and completed 28 of 38 attempts. Although WR Santana Moss caught more than a third of the completions, McNabb spread the ball around, hitting eight different targets. Running back Clinton Portis had a 12-yard gain and finished with 33 yards on 13 runs and two touchdowns on a day that many of the plays sent from the sidelines were changed at the line of scrimmage.
Veteran offensive lineman Artis Hicks understood the changes but looks forward to some run blocking.
"Sometimes if they're overloading the box or giving you looks that the runs might not do so well against, hey, check it and let's throw it. Donovan spent the day doing that. There's a little frustration by the guys up front that we didn't have a good day on the ground, but hey, Houston had a good strategy."
- Texans WR Andre Johnson beat nickel corner Phillip Buchanon and replacement free safety Reed Doughty for the 34-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-10 that forced overtime last Sunday. On Monday morning, cornerback DeAngelo Hall was frustrated about the late defensive breakdown and said "from here on out, I'm going to be wherever the ball's going. Wherever the receiver's going, that's where the [expletive] I'm going. That's the bottom line. That's something we got to do in order to win games. So that's what's going to happen." When asked if defensive coordinator Jim Haslett supported his decision, Hall replied, "It don't matter what he say. This my team. This my defense. So I'm going to follow the receivers around." Jim Haslett said he wasn't upset by Hall's demands to shadow the opposing top receiver and added "The good corners I've been around all had that mentality. I'd be disappointed if he didn't have that mentality. There's time you can (lock onto a receiver with one defender). There's time that you can't. I know his frustrations in that game. He got no balls his way."
- The defense gave up 468 yards passing but limited the top rushing team in the NFL after Week One to 58 net yards on 24 attempts. With Albert Haynesworth inactive as the Redskins showed that they can get to the quarterback without him by sacking Matt Schaub five times. Linebackers Brian Orakpo, Lorenzo Alexander, London Fletcher, and strong safety LaRon Landry all recorded sacks on Sunday while defensive linemen Adam Carriker and Vonnie Holliday split one.
- Running back Larry Johnson's total production was five rushing attempts for two yards in two games. This included a 10-yard loss on the first play of the fourth quarter of the Texans game. On Tuesday morning the Redskins released the 30-year-old back and signed Chad Simpson, a third-year running back out of Morgan State who spent two years with Indianapolis and was with Buffalo during the preseason. Simpson had 30 rushing attempts for 147 yards and three touchdowns in 25 games for the Colts. In Week One of the 2010 preseason Simpson was the Buffalo Bills leading rusher with 7 carries for 67 yards against the Washington Redskins.
The roster move took many players by surprise. Quarterback Donovan McNabb was no exception.
"I didn't see that coming ... especially when you're trying to get things going in the last-ranked run game. With a running back of his caliber and the things he has been able to do and what we wanted him to do here, I thought it would somehow work out but a decision was made."
- While left tackle Trent Williams, who was the fourth overall pick in the draft, is recovering from injuries he suffered to his left knee and toe in last week's loss to Houston the Redskins are deciding what to do should he be unable to play against the Rams. Backup tackle Stephon Heyer, who replaced Williams after the injury practiced at left tackle this week but tackle Jammal Brown, who started the first two games at right tackle, worked on the left side in practice on Thursday. Although Brown has played in two Pro Bowls as a left tackle and Heyer started every game at right tackle last year, Coach Mike Shanahan won't reveal what his plan will be. He has hinted at leaving Heyer at left tackle until Williams is ready to go but has also stated that Brown could also switch to the left side where he starred for New Orleans.
Shanahan has not even ruled Trent Williams out for Sunday's game.
“We'll get a chance to see how he feels Friday. He was much better today. He was able to jog and be on the treadmill for a while, so we'll check him out Friday. I think it’s more the toe, the knee, I think it's a little bit sore. But more the toe than the knee and that's a good sign."
Quotes and Notes:
– Defensive lineman Adam Carriker was a first-round pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2007 and started 25 of 32 games over the next two years. He missed all of the 2009 season because of an injury to his right shoulder and the Rams traded him to the Redskins as part of a swap of fifth-round draft picks in 2010. In his first two games this season, Carriker has two tackles and a half-sack, but his primary job as a nose tackle in the team’s new 3-4 scheme is to clog the line and help open space for linebackers to make plays. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who held the same post in St. Louis when Carriker was drafted had this to say about Adam's return to the football field: “He’s perfect for what he does here in this defense… he’s probably the strongest guy on our team. He’s a powerful guy and he has done a good job for us.”
-- Newly signed running back Chad Simpson is happy to be on a Redskins team coached by Mike Shanahan. Simpson's role is still unclear but he has experience returning kicks as well as filling in at running back and he says he's game for pretty much anything. "I'm just happy being on the team. Am I playing running back? Special teams? I'm just gonna be happy, period. Wherever they need me at... I always wanted to play for Mike Shanahan. Just knowing all the no-name backs that have done well in his system, I wanted to be one of those no-name backs."
-- Kyle Shanahan’s honest assessment of Larry Johnson: “It was tough for Larry. I really like Larry. I just think it’s a bad situation for him. Larry is a guy who needed more carries to get it going. In his role with our team, that was tough for him to get.”
- Safety Kareem Moore returned to practice this week, since spraining his right knee on August 21st. He's expected to reclaim his starting job from Reed Doughty, who will have to help out as depth at both safety positions because safety Chris Horton isn't practicing because of an ankle injury.
- Cornerback Carlos Rogers can actually catch the football. His interception in the first quarter was his first since 2008 and only the seventh of his career.
-- Adam Carriker on if he has something to prove to the Rams: “A little bit. They traded me for a donut and a cup of coffee.”
Complete Tale of the Tapes:
Total Offense: Washington is ranked 11th with 335.5 yards per game and St. Louis ranks 25th with 267.5 ypg.
Rushing Offense: Washington is ranked 31st with 53.5 yards per game and St. Louis ranks 24th with 80.0 ypg.
Passing Offense: Washington is ranked 7th with 282.0 yards per game and St. Louis ranks 23rd with 186.5 ypg.
Total Defense: Washington is ranked 32nd giving up 453.0 yards per game and St. Louis ranks 28th with 391.0 ypg.
Rushing Defense: Washington is ranked 8th giving up 80.5 yards per game and St. Louis ranks 30th with 142.5 ypg.
Passing Defense: Washington is ranked 31st giving up 372.5 yards per game and St. Louis ranks 24th with 248.5 ypg.
Under NFL rules, all 32 teams must release injury reports on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday prior to Sunday's games. Only on Friday are the designations of Out, Doubtful, Questionable and Probable assigned to players. Therefore these designations are subject to change.
OT Trent Williams (Knee/Toe) is Questionable
Williams did not practice Wednesday, but he jogged and ran on the treadmill Thursday. He is questionable for Sunday's game.
WR Anthony Armstrong (Groin) is Questionable
Armstrong did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a groin injury. He is questionable for Sunday's game.
DL Anthony Bryant (Head) is Out
Bryant did not practice on Thursday because of an head injury (concussion)suffered on Wednesday and is out for Sunday's game.
RB Clinton Portis (Wrist) is Probable
Portis was listed on the injury report but fully participated in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and is expected to start Sunday.
DB Kareem Moore (Knee) is Probable
Moore is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his sprained right MCL. He fully participated in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and is expected to play Sunday.
DL Albert Haynesworth (Ankle) is Probable
Haynesworth was limited in practice on Wednesday but fully participated in practice on Thursday. He is expected to play on Sunday after being inactive last week because of the ankle.
The following players are done for the 2010 season:
WR Malcolm Kelly (Hamstring)
Kelly was placed on the injured reserve list and will miss the entire 2010 season after pulling his left hamstring. He did not take part in the 2010 preseason activities.
WR Mike Furrey (Concussion)
Furrey was placed on the injured reserve, putting an end to his season. Furrey has a history of concussion problems and that could force the veteran to consider retirement.
OL Mike Williams (Non-Football Injury)
Williams was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list after doctors found blood clots near his heart. Williams was expected to compete for the starting right guard spot, instead he will miss the entire season.