This is the seventh of a 16-part series where Hog Heaven looks at each game on the Washington Redskins 2013 schedule. We are 13 days away from the start of training camp.
Sunday, Oct 27 – Redskins at Denver
Quarterback Match-up: Redskins fans now say that their quarterback ranks with the best and nobody laughs anymore. Some will argue Robert Griffin III has not stood the test of time like Peyton Manning. That is true. Yet, no one will find it odd that Griffin and Manning are mentioned in the same sentence.
Manning and Aaron Rodgers are the only two quarterbacks on the Redskins schedule Hog Heaven concedes are better than Griffin is right now. Manning and Tom Brady are case studies on avoiding hits behind the scrimmage line.
Perhaps the Redskins can beat the Broncos in Denver’s thin air, but Griffin has the tougher task against Denver’s defense to outperform Manning than Manning does against Washington’s defense.
Adam Gase & Peyton Manning vs. Jim Haslett: Adam Gase is 34 years old, three years younger than his quarterback. Gase spent the last two seasons as Denver’s quarterback coach so he has a fingerprint on the success of both Manning and Tim Tebow. No wonder he was promoted to offensive coordinator to replace Mike McCoy who is now in San Diego.
Jerry Jones can talk about giving Tony Romo a bigger voice in game planning. Manning already has it. The Broncos will run the offense Manning wishes to run and Gase/Manning have weapons to work with. Wes Welker joins Denver’s already strong receiving corps. If anyone can help Welker to be as productive as he was in New England, it is Manning.
We think Denver will resolve their contract issues with their franchise LT Ryan Clady. If there is a weakness on the offense, it’s at running back where Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball step in for Willis McGahee, not to say stopping the run game will stop Denver.
Hog Heaven cannot decide who has the toughest assignment. Is it DC Jim Haslett who must stop Manning’s offense, or OC Kyle Shanahan who must match up against Denver’s D?
Manning will leverage the height of his big receivers against Washington’s DBs. Then he will use Welker to test how aggressively DeAngelo Hall plays for picks. Rookie safety Bacarri Rambo gets a lesson in football on this day.
Kyle Shanahan vs. Jack Del Rio: So what if a clerical error cost the Broncos OLB/DE Elvis Dumervil. Talent oozes from Denver’s defensive roster. The Broncos added to the roster CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, NT Terrence Knighton and LB Shaun Phillips to replace Dumervil. The Broncos still have highly regarded linebacker Von Miller and CB Champ Bailey, who Hog Heaven will always think of as our cornerback.
So, if the Denver’s defense is so tough, why were they one-and-done in the playoffs against the Ravens? Torry Smith made Bailey look old and slow. Smith only caught three of the six passes thrown to him, but two went for touchdowns. Not everyone can do that. Pierre Garcon, a former Manning target, might be able to do it.
Manning’s ill-timed interception in overtime gave the Ravens the ball in Broncos territory. Baltimore won by a field goal and took the mantle of destiny Denver and everyone else assumed to be theirs. If stalwarts like Manning and Bailey can screw up, anyone can. You just have to be as good as the Ravens to exploit it.
Teams like the Broncos are why the Redskins should not scale back on the read option. Read option forces defenders to hesitate on their pass rush. A hesitant Von Miller is just what you want for play action. Hesitation is an ingredient for big plays, but it will take more than Garcon to pull it off.
Storyline: Prepare for the hype. Denver legend Mike Shanahan returns to the Mile High City. You can finish the storyline from there.
Denver has the most loaded roster of any opponent the Redskins will face until they meet Minnesota and San Francisco later in the season.
Way too early prediction: Denver mistakes and big plays are how Washington wins this game, if it can be won.
“The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. But that’s the way to bet.” ~ Damon Runyon.
Sorry ‘Skins fans, the smart money is on Denver for good reason.
Next: Chargers at Redskins
“Way too early prediction” means we reserve the right to change our minds after we see these teams in preseason games. Look for Hog Heaven’s stake-in-the-ground prediction the week before game one.
This story idea was inspired by the Big Ten Network Tom Dienhart who is running a similar series for the B1G football season.
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