Editor’s Note: We’re very lucky here at BLD to be part of Fansided, a wide-reaching network with blogs for every NFL team (as well as a huge selection of NBA, NHL, MLB, and other blogs as well). We’d be dumb not to take advantage of these resources, so welcome to our weekly feature: Behind Enemy Lines. Each week, we’ll be checking in with the staff from the Fansided blog representing the Bills’ opponent for that the week.
This week, we’re checking in with Kevin Mayer II of Riggo’s Rag, Fansided’s awesome Redskins blog. A big thank you to Kevin for taking the time to answer some Redskins questions for us as we prepare to watch the Bills/Redskins contest in Toronto on Sunday.
Q: The Redskins have really been hit hard with injuries lately (Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Tim Hightower). Which of those injuries hurts the team the most?
A: The Redskins managed to remain healthy for the first four games of the season, which played a huge role in getting to a 3-1 record at the bye. Of the three injuries you mentioned, Santana Moss would probably be the most painful to the team. Washington has three guys that can legitimately run the ball on their team and Hightower’s production hadn’t been exactly where they expected through the first part of the season. Cooley had also seen a drop in production this year with the emergence of Fred Davis. Fred is the Redskins number one now and has surpassed Cooley on the depth chart. Santana was Washington’s single greatest threat on the offensive side of the ball. Some say he’s lost a step, but this guy was all they had aside from a few wandering veterans and a group of very young new guys catching the ball. I will say this though, Santana’s injury wasn’t the biggest blow this team has taken.
The Redskins have suffered tremendously from the loss of starting left guard Kory Lichtensteiger for the season (ACL/MCL) and starting left tackle Trent Williams for 3-4 weeks (sprained ankle). Our offensive line has been completely mixed up and it shows when we try to execute.
Q: Washington made a QB switch last week, pulling the wildly inconsistent Rex Grossman for John Beck. How’d Beck look in his first game as the starter last week?
A: Beck played pretty vanilla to be honesty. He almost made a “Rex-like” error in throwing to a linebacker that was seven yards away and just waiting for the ball. He had some good throws, some not so good and a few drops. His performance was nothing to write home about, but it was a lot easier to watch than four interceptions.
Q: How are Redskins fans in general feeling about the Mike Shanahan era so far?
A: Redskins fans are content, for now. Shanahan has this team going in the right direction. Vinny Cerrato is out, Danny boy has let off the gas as an owner and Bruce Allen along with Mike have this team on an upward swing. Fans are happy about drafting solid talent and not looking for a “Dream Team.” I say with everything Shanahan has done right over the last year and a half, he has at least another two to get this team in serious contention.
Q: You may not be aware of this, but few words get Bills fans more upset than “Brian Orakpo.” Why? It’s because the Bills decided to bypass Orakpo in the Draft a few years ago to take mega-bust Aaron Maybin (with 99% of the fan base was pleading with the team to take Orakpo). We know the rest of that story. Anyway, how impressive has the pass-rush combo of Orakpo and rookie Ryan Kerrigan been this season?
A: “Kerrakpo” as they have been deemed, has turned out to be a winning combination. Orakpo didn’t have the benefit of another superior talent lining up at the opposite end like Kerrigan does now. Both of these guys are “high motor” as Mel Kiper would put it and they just don’t quit. This combination has kept the Redskins in many games this year. The best (and scariest for the rest of the NFL) part of their combo is that they are only going to get better. 91 and 98 jerseys have been flying off the shelves in DC.
Q: Any other young Washington players who are playing well but are maybe below the national radar still?
A: Right now, I would say fullback Darrel Young. This kid has the potential to be a Pro Bowler. He’s the reason the run has been working and when he’s been hurt he’s the reason it hasn’t (him not being in the game). The kid has a lot of talent and is only going to get better. He spent three weeks on the Redskins practice squad in 2009. In 2010 he switched positions from LB to FB, made the 53 man roster, and is now starting.
Q: Any other players or storylines to keep an eye out for Sunday?
A: I’d just keep an eye on how well the Bills offense can run the ball. The Redskins defense plays much better against pocket-passing quarterbacks. The Bills will need to run the ball effectively to avoid letting the Redskins pass rushers to get into the “downhill” third-down rush mode. If they can pin their ears back and just come after Fitzpatrick, it’ll be a long day in Toronto for Buffalo.
Q: How about a prediction for the game?
A: I think Buffalo’s defense may disappoint a bit on Sunday, I look for Ryan Torain to have a great game, but I also know we never just flat out beat people so I’m going to say 27-20 Redskins (possibly even in OT).