Here’s the 5 Questions segment for this week, starring our good friend over at Hogs Haven, Skin Patrol. He loves him some Deadskins, so let’s see what he has to say.
Blogging The Boys: What's your take on the whole no-huddle offense that's so topical this week? Will the Skins let Jason Campbell run it again this week in hostile territory where it's hard to hear?
Hogs Haven: Hard to tell. I've lost a huge amount of confidence in the Redskins red zone offense, which has proven pretty inept recently, especially last week against Philly. Regarding the no-huddle, the sample size is still small enough where I'm not ready to make a judgment one way or the other, but I do like the idea of letting Jason Campbell air the ball out more, be himself, and control the game. It's only been very recently that our run game has started to look appreciable, so I'm not yet sold on a run, run, pass, punt strategy. Especially against a team like Dallas that is moving the ball very well and scoring a lot of points, we can't depend on an injured defense to keep this one within reach; we need to score.
BTB: I can't keep up with the injuries at WR. Just who is in and who is out? And who is a maybe?
HH: Brandon Lloyd and James Thrash are out. Santana Moss is a maybe. That leaves Randle El, Keenan McCardell, and Reche Caldwell. We added Jimmy Farris, though you shouldn't know who that is (or you might, he played in Atlanta a couple years back). Surprisingly, the most devastating injury is... James Thrash. He's the only Redskin receiver with multiple touchdowns. Whoulda thunk it?
BTB: How bad will Sean Taylor's absence hurt the defense? What have been his main contributions this year and do you have capable backups?
HH: You cannot replace a Sean Taylor. He is the best player on the defense and thus it is the single most consequential injury that could happen on that side of the ball. The impact his absence will have is difficult to tell, because he hasn't missed a game since 2004. Taylor's main contribution has been generating turnovers with his five interceptions. Beyond that he's played very well in coverage and can cross a lot of field quickly, which makes it much easier to defend both the deep pass and the run (he does that well). The starter in his stead will be Pierson Prioleau, though the Official Site says Vernon Fox and Reed Doughty should see time as well. Fred Smoot was practicing as safety as well, though I don't see him getting in that spot. The amount of people we're willing to use to replace Taylor tells you just how many things he does incredibly well. Prioleau is a capable backup, had actually earned the starting job in front of Adam Archuleta last year before an injury in the first game, but he is not Sean Taylor.
BTB: How do you feel about Coach Gibbs? Is he safe from Danny Snyder? Might he leave after this year if the team doesn't succeed?
HH: Yes, he is safe from Dan Snyder. He might not be safe from Joe Gibbs, though, and may just decide to hang it up. He's said repeatedly that he plans on honoring the full length of his contract. It's not an unfair question though, as I'm sure you've noticed the Fire Joe Gibbs website and multiple minds discussing this precise point. That said, I think it is a huge indictment of the NFL peanut gallery's now now now attitude that we can start discussing the shortened career of a hall of fame coach who currently has a winning record. Were we supposed to beat New England?
The answer to your question is I just don't know. It will depend on how unsuccessful the team is; if we manage to sneak into the playoffs, I'd say absolutely not. If we miss them in dramatic fashion with a late season meltdown, certainly that would increase the likelihood of Gibbs saying it just isn't worth it.
BTB: How does Washington go about winning this game?
HH: Have to win the turnover battle. The Cowboys are playing better football than the Redskins right now which means we need to play flawlessly. It will be especially difficult without Taylor and with our offensive line and receiving unit injured. The Redskins have to be willing to make Dallas defend everywhere, and that means a willingness to go deep. We cannot wait on establishing our running game to start launching 3rd quarter play action passes deep. We need to attack the deep ball from snap one and keep Dallas honest. Defensively we have to get on Tony Romo and need to capitalize on his mistakes; dropped passes by our secondary are unacceptable in this game. The Dallas O-Line is playing good enough where pressuring Romo cannot come from a four man pass rush. We have to take some chances and bring blitz. And we have to cover T.O. I haven't seen anyone attempt to.