When the Redskins have the ball
It’s Dwayne Haskins‘ show for the balance of 2019, as the rookie quarterback was announced as the full-time starter back in October. Neither of his veteran predecessors had much success this year, and in a lost season, it was decided to assess what they have in this year’s 15th overall draft pick by handing him the keys.
So far, the results have been uninspiring. Haskins was a big play waiting to happen at Ohio State, but in four games as a rookie, he is completing less than 60% of his passes, has thrown just two touchdowns and has yet to lead Washington to any wins this season. The jury is still out on his future, but in the present, he will get every opportunity to show that he can be the answer under center.
A major factor in Washington’s quarterback carousel and Haskins’ struggles has been a complete dearth of offensive playmakers on the roster. At receiver, rookie Terry McLaurin leads the team with 35 catches, five scores, and 566 yards and has emerged as the ‘Skins most dangerous offensive weapon, though he hasn’t reached the end zone since the middle of October. Former college teammate with the Buckeyes, Washington is counting on growing chemistry between him and Haskins.
Aside from McLaurin, there is very little to write home about. Wideout Paul Richardson has been a free agent flop since signing a large deal in 2018. Veteran tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis have battled concussions all season, with Reed on injured reserve.
The Redskins simply don’t threaten teams through the air and are the only squad averaging under 200 passing yards per game. Look for the Lions to play more zone coverage than usual, with one safety playing closer to the line of scrimmage. The Lions may also send extra rushers to try and fluster the young signal-caller.
One of those rushers may not be defensive end Trey Flowers, who suffered a concussion in last week’s loss and figures to be unavailable this week. Flowers had been playing his best football of the season in recent weeks and would be a significant loss up front should he be unable to play.
On the ground, the ‘Skins haven’t been much better averaging under 86 rushing yards per contest, ranking 26th in the league. Despite currently dealing with a toe injury, old Lions nemesis Adrian Peterson is still toting it for Washington at age 34, and the future Hall of Famer is averaging a respectable 4.2 yards per carry on 124 attempts. The cupboard is bare behind him; no one else on the roster has more than 23 carries on the season.
Stopping Peterson and forcing the ‘Skins to rely on their feeble passing attack will be a key to victory for Detroit, though defending the run has been a notable weakness all season. With several banged-up defensive starters, including Flowers and safety Tracy Walker, the Lions will need another solid game from linebacker Jarrad Davis, who is in the middle of a strong two-game stretch. His fumble recovery last week led directly to the Lions’ first touchdown.