Tale Of The Tape: Washington Redskins At Oakland Raiders
- QuarterbackRobert Griffin III is off to a difficult start and he does not appear to be at his best, despite what the Redskins say. Griffin had a positive statistical game in the Week Three loss to the Lions as he threw for 326 yards, but he is simply not running the team as sharply as he did in his rookie season. It seems quite clear that he is not moving the way he used to and he is not fully recovered from his ACL surgery.After a tough Monday night game in Denver, Terrelle Pryor may not be able to play because of a concussion. If he can’t play, the Raiders will have to go with backup Matt Flynn. Pryor is still developing his skills, but he is a hustler who knows how to extend plays. Flynn is a pocket passer who needs the kind of protection the Raiders are unlikely to provide in order to be effective.
- OffenseThe Redskins will try to run the football with Alfred Morris, but the Redskins’ gameplan that was so sharp and quick last year seems predictable this season. Santana Moss is an explosive receiver who plays with balance, but his lack of size is a problem when he can’t shake the defender. Pierre Garcon is solid, but he is not a gamebreaker.The Raiders are limited at the skill positions and that does not help Pryor with his execution. Darren McFadden runs with quickness and a low center of gravity, but he’s the kind of back who tends to struggle when he doesn’t find success early in the game. Wide receiver Rod Streater is a good effort guy, while Denarius Moore does not give the Raiders enough production.
- DefenseThe Redskins appear to be ill-prepared on defense this season. They don’t have a very good idea of what opponents are going to do and they usually seem one or two steps behind the play. The big reason for that seems obvious – a lack of team speed. That’s not going to get any better as the season progresses. Strong safety Brandon Meriwether sets a tone with his hitting, but many of his teammates can’t keep up.The Raiders are playing hard and they have gotten a lift from the return of defensive back Charles Woodson. The secondary is much improved this year. Cornerback Tracy Porter (concussion, check status) has gotten off to a good start and is a decent cover corner who is not afraid to hit. Defensive end Jason Hunter has the speed to come around the corner and sack the quarterback.
- Special TeamsThe Redskins struggle in their punt and kickoff coverage. The lack of team speed has an impact on their ability to get downfield. John Potter has had to kick in place of Kai Forbath (groin). Potter made both of his FG attempts vs. the Lions. Sav Rocca is a decent punter who usually gets excellent height but ordinary distance.If the game comes down to special teams play, give the Raiders the edge because of Sebastian Janikowski. He has been most effective in home games where he knows the turf and has the support of his roaring fans. Marquette King’s punts have proven eminently returnable this season.
The Redskins were supposed to be prime contenders in the NFC East this year, but they have not been competitive for much of the early season. While RGIII may not be fully recovered from his knee surgery, the defense has been awful. This is a close game that could go to the home team because of Janikowski. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor