Key Player Match-Ups: Ravens
By: Game Day Staff
Category: Washington Redskins News
Jonathan Ogden vs. Ron Warner
By Scott Hurrey
Jonathan Ogden is widely regarded as the best all-around offensive lineman in the game today. He is a seven-time pro bowler and coming into this season, he had started 58 straight games before missing the first game of this season with a knee injury. Ogden is amazingly agile for a 6’9” tall man that weighs in at 345 pounds. Ogden is athletic enough to take off down field as a lead blocker for Jamal Lewis on one play and then use his enormous wingspan to pick up pass rushers on the next.
With Phillip Daniels set to miss another start with a groin injury, Ron Warner will get his third straight start for the Washington Redskins. Warner was a pleasant surprise for the coaching staff during training camp, and made the team because of his dedication, hard work and his ability to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Warner is one of the fastest guys on the defensive line and uses his speed to get to the quarterback. Warner has 1 sack and 5 tackles as a starter in Gregg Williams’ defense, with an additional .5 sacks and 2 tackles as a reserve against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Warner is known for his high motor and quickness off the ball, although there has been some question about his ability to play the run.
Warner suffered a bruised lower leg and an ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Browns. For Warner to have a shot at winning this match-up, he needs his legs to be at 100% in order to take advantage of his speed. If there has been a knock on Ogden, it has been that he can lose focus on some downs and that he doesn’t always show the “killer instinct” when finishing blocks. If Warner is 100% and Ogden takes a few plays off, and Warner will need to take advantage of these opportunities. With Ogden’s rare combination of size, speed and athleticism, this match-up is his to lose.
Advantage: Jonathan Ogden
Chris Cooley vs. Ed Reed
By Dan Hines
When Chris Cooley lines up this Sunday, he will find one of the games best players, Baltimore Ravens strong safety Ed Reed, waiting for him. Reed in his third year, has already picked off 14 passes in his short career. While Reed draws the task of stopping Cooley, his first order of business will be helping to stop the Redskins running game. As all teams who have faced the Redskins this year, Baltimore will bring seven and eight men up to the line. Reed will serve as the eighth man in the box and is a big part a Ravens run defense that has underachieved in the first four games yielding 116 yards a game.
The Redskins must get Cooley involved in the offense if they have any hopes of establishing the running game. Look for the Redskins to use short to medium range passes (as the Chiefs did on Monday night) to Cooley, to force Reed out of the box and into coverage. If the Redskins can hit a few passes early to Cooley, the Baltimore defense could be in for a healthy dose of Clinton Portis. Conversely if the Redskins don’t the offense could sputter as it has in the first four games.
Ed Reed is an All-Pro and one of the games best strong safeties. Look for Reed to dare the Redskins to throw to the rookie Cooley. Reed is talented enough to play run first and still cover Cooley.
Laveranues Coles vs. Chris McAllister
By Fran Farren
The 2004 version of Laveranues Coles has thus far been not as explosive as the 2003 version. While he is on pace to top last year’s number of receptions, he will not likely match the number of yards accumulated last year at this pace. Why? Because this year, Brunell has been throwing mainly short to mid range passes to Coles. Coles simply hasn’t been used as the deep threat, even though he is certainly capable of becoming one. During the first 3 weeks of this year, for example, Coles’ longest pass was only 22 yards. Last week against the Browns, however, Brunell finally caught Coles on his favorite pattern (the slant over the middle) for a 45-yard gain, Coles’ longest of the year. As Brunell becomes more and more comfortable with Gibbs’ offensive system, look for him to start stretching the field a little more. We saw glimpses of that against Cleveland. We should see more of that against a Ravens team that gave up a lot of long passes against the Chiefs last week.
CB Chris McAllister is a very physical player that will try to match up against Coles this week. McAllister likes to play tight off the line and bump the receiver, trying to prevent the receiver from getting into his pattern early. Because of that, there is potential for him to get burned deep if Coles is able to get off the line clean. To do well against McAllister, Coles will need to get off the line clean and run tight routes this week.
Against a tough Ravens defense, look for Brunell to once again play more conservatively and use the short-mid passing attack at first. With the success of the short passing game this week, look for Brunell to then throw 3-4 balls deep to spread the offense resulting in Coles’ first touchdown pass of 2004. Notwithstanding a decent effort by McAllister, look for Coles to catch 7-8 balls for just over 100 yards and one touchdown. This week will be the week that we finally see Laveranues Coles take back the #1 wide receiver position for the Redskins.
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