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Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Trash Bears

Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Trash Bears

Bold Predictions: Redskins Will Trash Bears

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

It’s a little early in the week, perhaps, to be making bold predictions, especially since I will answer to them next week (for those of you who didn’t read this space last year, I will always go back and review my predictions gone wrong and ‘fess up). However, this week there really isn’t much purpose in waiting, in examining the moods of the teams during practice, checking out any last-minute shifts in the injury report, seeing what the weather will be like at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon.

I’ve been known to agonize for thousands of words before coming up with a tentative prediction. Not this time. This one is easy. The Redskins will trash the Chicago Bears.

There is only one matchup that I need to know about—Kyle Orton vs. Gregg Williams. The Bears’ rookie QB may have potential to be a good pro quarterback, but this is the first NFL game he has ever participated in in any way, shape, or form except perhaps as a spectator when he was in high school. Williams, on the other hand, has coached in a couple of hundred NFL games. Whether his team is matched up against the likes of Orton or against a 10-year veteran with Hall of Fame credentials, his goal is always the same—rattle the opposing quarterback.

Orton will have the opportunity to meet, up close and personal, nearly every member of the Redskins’ defense. He’ll get introduced to Cornelius Griffin when the Redskins’ defensive tackle puts his facemask into Orton’s sternum. He’ll only get a quick glance at Shawn Springs before the cornerback plants his back into the FedEx Field turf. It’s unlikely that he’ll see LaVar Arrington before he helps him off of the grass since the linebacker will be coming from Orton’s blind side. Finally, when Sean Taylor comes after him from who knows where, Orton will want the license number of the truck that hit him. Note to Kyle, it will be # 21.

In all, Orton will have to consider himself fortunate if he can drop back and be comfortable in the pocket more than five or six times. The rest of the time he will either be running for his life or accumulating grass stains from having been slammed to the ground so often.

With Orton being slapped silly, who on the Bears is going to generate any offense? Muhsin Muhammad can’t make a catch if his quarterback more time on his back than a hooker at a convention in Vegas. Thomas Jones might sneak through for a few yards here and there, perhaps he could break one for 30 yards or so, but he can’t carry the team against the Redskins’ defense. So who else is there? Justin Gage? Desmond Clark? Very, very unlikely.

Not so fast, my friend, you might say. The Redskins’ offense isn’t exactly a juggernaut either and the Bears defense can’t exactly be described as soft. True those. Chicago’s cover two defense isn’t a good matchup for a team that wants to establish a deep passing game as the Redskins do. True that.

There are a couple of flaws in the scenario that says that neither team will score much and that the game will come down to a late break. One of them is that the Redskins’ offensive line is one of the elite units in the game. Note the lack of qualifiers such as they “might” be or they have the “potential” to be elite. They are right now. All five of them, Samuels, Dockery, Rabach, Thomas, and Jansen, could start for most of the teams in the NFL. They’re good blocking for the run and they’re good against the pass rush. Every member of the line won’t make the Pro Bowl but every one of them has a shot at it. They won’t allow the Chicago front four to generate the pass rush that they need.

The other factor is Clinton Portis. He ran for 171 yards the last time the two teams met in Chicago in 2004, averaging 4.8 yards a carry. It was too bad that the Redskins really hadn’t figured out how to use Portis in the offense as they have by now or he really could have done some damage. On Sunday, he’ll follow the zone blocking from the Redskins’ elite offensive line and put up over 150 yards and score a pair of touchdowns.

Despite the prowess of the line and the productivity of Portis, the Redskins won’t put up a lot of points. Patrick Ramsey will make some plays for both teams. Thomas Jones’ running could set up a score or two for the Bears, but they will only be three pointers. Perhaps those who only see the score in the paper on Monday will think it was a fairly competitive game.

But those who watch the game will know otherwise. The Redskins will dominate on defense from start to finish, they will get their offense in control by halftime and will trash the Bears by a score of:

Washington 17, Chicago 6







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Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan throws some serious shade at Kyle Shanahan for the Super Bowl loss

Matt Ryan spoke to CBS Sports' Pete Prisco about the loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl and how the Falcons will rebound in 2017. 

In the process, he took a shot at former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's play-calling and put some of the blame on his style of coaching for the disastrous fourth quarter.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Those are some harsh words from Ryan and not exactly a ringing endorsement of Kyle Shanahan. This loss will surely haunt him should he never get back to another Super Bowl.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan said. "You never lose that. Hopefully we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

Redskins fans may be able to relate to Matt Ryan's pain as some were vocal about Kyle Shanahan's play-calling during his time in Washington. Maybe Kirk Cousins takes notice of Ryan's comments as well before he considers San Francisco next off-season.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS STATEMENT WAS A MISTAKE, BUT WON'T HAVE IMPACT ON THE FIELD

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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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