Redskins Limit Mistakes Against Discouraged Rams
Watching the Washington Redskins versus the Dallas Cowboys last Monday one thing was readily obvious: the Redskins were trying desperately hard to avoid mistakes on both sides of the ball. Mistake prone quarterback Rex Grossman was limited to relatively simple plays that were designed to keep the Redskins in the game and allow their defence to give them an edge. While the game was lost to the Cowboys the logic behind this strategy seems fairly sound and it has worked reasonably well to this point of the year. The Redskins are not built with headline grabbing calibre players, although on the defensive side of the ball they are gaining some recognition for big plays. A lot of criticism has been placed on Redskins coach Mike Shanahan’s decision during the Cowboys game to all-out blitz, but one can understand the logic.
The Redskins are not exactly lighting up the league and neither is quarterback Rex Grossman. With five turnovers to date, it’s been an area of concern for Washington and you can bet they’ll continue to address it both through play calling and making sure Grossman understands his role on this team. Coach Shanahan has certainly let Rex Grossman know he’s not at quarterback to do his best Tom Brady impersonation. He’s there to run simple plays and above all else protect the ball, which given his history he’s done a relatively good job of doing. Granted that the Redskins last game was a disappointing loss due largely to self-inflicted wounds, the bottom line remains that the Redskins are doing a pretty good job so far and have to be largely positive about their 2-1 record to this point. A lot will be made of Redskins DeAngelo Hall criticizing his coach’s decision to blitz repeatedly towards the end of the game, but this simply shows his desire to win.
While the Washington Redskins have arguably been performing above expectations so far this year, the St. Louis Rams have become mired in yet another winless start to their season. Certainly their first three games have been tough tests, as they went up against the Eagles, Giants and Ravens. The really troubling thing about these games for the Rams is not that they lost the matches, but rather how they went about losing and then responding to losses in subsequent games. After the game in New York against the Giants in which the Rams (possibly with the exception of quarterback Sam Bradford) looked extremely lacklustre, the Rams are absolutely pummelled by the Baltimore Ravens. Teams that want to be counted among the elite of the league respond appropriately after a disappointing loss in which they do not appear to put forth full effort or complete heart. The Rams have not responded well after disappointing losses and the spirits seem to be visibly sinking in St. Louis.
To compound the Rams problems we can add in the fact that QB Sam Bradford is listed as questionable with a toe injury, although he is certainly expected to play Sunday. I’m sure Bradford could use some rest after taking five sacks against the Ravens in their last game but his commitment is not an issue-his teammate’s dedication is. Wide receiver Greg Salas has largely been a bust this season and currently remains questionable to play due to an undisclosed injury. In addition, power running back Steven Jackson continues to be hampered by quad and groin problems and although he is expected to play this Sunday one can only guess that he will not be close to full health. With the direction both of these teams are going and their recent history the Washington Redskins seem a likely bet to continue to outperform their critics this season, while the St. Louis Rams continue to search for ways to motivate their players.
Washington Redskins -1.5 (-110)
St. Louis Rams +1.5 (-110)
Take the Washington Redskins -1 this Sunday over the St. Louis Rams.
Play: Washington Redskins -1
Written by Greg Smith