The Washington Post

Areas to monitor as the Redskins prep for the Seahawks

The Washington Redskins return to the practice field Wednesday and will begin installing their game plan for Sunday’s game in Seattle, where the 4-6 Seahawks await.

Offensively, the Redskins look to build on their best showing of the season. The defense has some buckling down to do, particularly on third downs. For the second straight week, the defense struggled to make stops on that critical down.

Here are some key areas to monitor for the Burgundy and Gold this week:

Trent Williams’ health – The Redskins simply can’t find a way to stay healthy along the offensive line. They were fortunate that Trent Williams sustained only a sprain to his MCL rather than a tear, but they still may have to play without the left tackle. That could pose a problem as they prepare for defensive end Chris Clemons, who has eight sacks on the year for Seattle. Another banged up lineman is guard Maurice Hurt. The team started tackle Tyler Polumbus at left guard against Dallas with Hurt nursing a knee injury. Mike Shanahan said Hurt would be evaluated at Wednesday’s practice and then the team would have a better idea about whether he would return to the lineup this week.

LaRon Landry’s Achilles’ tendon – The starting strong safety hasn’t played at last season’s level, when he was in the running for defensive MVP before his Achilles’ tendon sidelined him. The same tendon has flared up again. Landry wanted to play against Dallas, but wasn’t able to practice, so Shanahan shelved him. Dirty 30 believes he still can be effective and says the pain is manageable. Will the week off help him get back to full strength this week?

Running back rotation – Coach Mike Shanahan has promised that the Redskins will get their rushing attack fixed. He didn’t say if it was this year or next, but he called it his trademark. But for now, he hasn’t found a back who gives him everything he wants. Ryan Torain can’t get anything going (although not all of it is his fault). Roy Helu offers a spark, but Shanahan doesn’t seem to view him as an every-down back. On Tuesday the team promoted rookie Evan Royster from the practice squad. Can the Penn State product crack the rotation this week? Will Helu’s workload increase? Will staying positive and working hard finally pay off for Torain?

Josh Wilson’s hamstring – He’s had some breakdowns this season, but Wilson has played very well he last two weeks and currently is Washington’s best cover corner. Losing him to a hamstring injury late in Sunday’s game hurt. The diagnosis was a Grade 1 strain, which isn’t too severe. He’ll be monitored this week and the former Seahawk will see if he can give it a go Sunday. The Redskins and DeAngelo Hall certainly could use Wilson’s help against Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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