This won’t be the easiest of weeks for the Washington Redskins, who have a quick turnaround by virtue of playing on Monday night and then having to fly to St. Louis on Saturday for a game the next day against the Rams.
“We don’t have a lot of time to think about [the Dallas loss] with a day-and-a-half of lost preparation time to get ready for our next opponent,” said Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, who would obviously like to earn a win on Sunday before heading into the bye week. “It’s going to be tough, and you got to fight through it and get ready for the Rams.”
The Redskins certainly have some problems to address during the abbreviated work week.
Here are some key areas to monitor leading up to Washington’s fourth game of the season:
● Haslett and Hall: DeAngelo Hall basically called out his coach for the decision to blitz eight players and leave no help downfield on the third-down play that ended up putting Dallas in position to win. Haslett doesn’t address the media until Thursday, but it’ll be interesting to find out what – if any – clearing- the-air conversations coach and defensive back have had since Hall’s expletive-laced comments on Monday night. Also, it’s the second straight week of getting burned while running a similar late-game strategy. What changes will or should Haslett make?
●Health: Anthony Armstrong doesn’t start, but is a key contributor at wide receiver, and the Redskins appeared to miss him in the second half on Monday while he was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Armstrong said via text on Tuesday that he felt “good as ever,” but we’ll see later this week how quickly he is able to bounce back from what could be a slow-healing injury. Meanwhile, the team also had to make do without starting fullback Darrel Young, whose hamstring remained tight Monday night, and although he’s not in on every play, his absence could have had something to do with an ineffective run game. We’ll also see what effects — if any — LaRon Landry deals with after playing for the first time since Week 9 of last season.
●Turnovers: Rex Grossman now has five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) through three games and if it’s one thing Mike Shanahan has little patience for, it’s a quarterback who can’t take care of the ball. Grossman needs to focus on sharpening his decision-making and also make a more conscious effort of clinging to that ball with pressure breathing down his neck.
●Red-zone efficiency: For the second straight week, the Redskins couldn’t get it done inside their opponent’s 20-yard line. They’ll spend more time working on this area of the game plan as they try to finally break out and find success in this department.
●Field goals: If it’s not one thing, it’s been the other. Whether it’s concentration or simply flukes, the Redskins have to get better in this department and get to the point where they – and their fans – feel like three points are automatic rather than an area of great uncertainty.