Out of the Box: Vuja de all over again as the Redskins travel for the second year in a row to play a struggling Lions team, may this time be better than the last, 1:00 pm ET on FOX, unless you live in the Detroit market.
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The Story So Far: Normally the last time the teams played is later in this section, in this week's case the game is all about the last time they played, the Lions were on a nineteen game winless streak, going back into 2007, the Redskins in Jim Zorn's failing second season has head coach blundered into Lions Stadium for game three and got beat. We know what happened after that.
Meanwhile back on Earth there was a week of news. After beating the Bears in the sloppiest game ever in which cornerback DeAngelo Hall tied an NFL record with four interceptions, much of the focus of the week was on the offense, this unit has been somewhat sloppy and inconsistent with a persistent inability to close games out. Quarterback Donovan McNabb, while still thrilling Redskins fans just by being here, is on pace for just about his worst statistical season ever.
The second biggest story after Donovan McNabb having his worst season ever, has got to be Albert Haynesworth and the team negotiating a peace that allows Albert to be Albert while still allowing the team to stick with its 3-4 philosophy, the result of this new arrangement saw Albert have his best game as a Redskin, although we can now expect not to see Albert in base 3-4 sets, we will still see lots of him, doing his best Charles Jefferson impression (op. cit.), going through the line straight to the quarterback. I hope this works.
As the Redskins defense continues to be a sieve a pattern emerges: It is all about turnovers, the Redskins are sitting at seventeen takeaways and a plus eight turnover margin, good for third in the league.
Take a minute to think about this: Seven games into the 2010 season the Redskins have matched their win total from 2009. Those four wins are all quality wins with playoff implications: Two wins in the Division and two in the Conference.
Curly R Aside: This week I finally upgraded from my crappy old Blackberry to a brand new iPhone, I have the Washington Post Football Insider app which pipes in Post blogs, articles, columns, game stats and photos, a very cool app. Help me out readers, what other apps are essential for the football fan?
Oppo Research: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who like Sam Bradford did in game three this season, won his first career NFL game last season in the
The other major threat for this team is receiver Calvin Johnson, he had a big hand in last year's debacle and creates matchup problems for the Redskins. Let us see if DeAngelo can keep it up or if he has a predictable letdown.
This is of course not to disrespect defensive tackles Ndamakong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch, see below for more on them.
Trainer's Table: Safety Kareem Moore, who played plenty against the Bears but did not actually start, is suffering lingering problems from his preseason knee injury. This is not good, Kareem is better at the free safety position than either Chris Horton or Reed Doughty.
The team this week finally admitted something everyone already knew: Right guard Jammal Brown is not fully recovered from the hip injury that caused him to miss all of the 2009 season and that made him expendable in New Orleans. Veteran utility man Stephon Heyer is right at his door and may take that job which if you have been watching the past few seasons you will recognize as a bad thing.
Fullback Mike Sellers left the Bears game with a foot injury and was seen wearing a boot after the game, he appears to be fine. Tailback slash return man Chad Simpson pulled a hamstring in practice and was inactive for the Bears game, he is to be determined (op. cit.).
Tailback Clinton Portis, he of the detached groin muscle, is still two weeks away minimum before coming back. Still predicting he has no serious role in this year's offense.
Other players appear on the Redskins Wednesday injury report then again on Friday's, those not named here will play.
Gameplan: On offense the Redskins are still looking for some consistency along the line, right tackle Jammal Brown is still slowed by the hip injury that kept him out all of 2009, his main backup Stephon Heyer is as much a threat to make mistakes as block well. While not as dangerous as DeMarcus Ware and Clay Matthews, Lions rookie Ndamakong Suh and free agent pickup defensive tackle Kyle Vanden Bosch, Albert Haynesworth's old teammate in Tennessee, are menacing, setting the rhythm early is key.
On defense the plan will be to try and get to the quarterback, the Lions have talented but limited weapons on offense, the Redskins will plan to limit Matthew Stafford and force the Lions to do it on the ground.
My Take in 60 Words or Less: Trap game schmap game, show Detroit the Redskins remember humiliation, take this game seriously and go kick their assess.
LaVar Arrington's keys to the game: Offense / defense / special teams; Inactives: tailback Chad Simpson, cornerback Kevin Barnes, tailback Clinton Portis, linebacker Perry Riley, nose tackle Anthony Bryant and left guard Derrick Dockery, this is Derrick's fourth straight game inactive, John Beck is the emergency third quarterback.
Broadcast coverage, as you can see no one cares about this game but us and the game is blacked Detroit, Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan on the call, I like Tim on Sirius NFL Radio but not always on TV, I will be looking to give him another chance.
Enjoy the game, I will be in my usual spot on ShedTV, we watch outside as long as the weather permits.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmet logos from here.