Five questions Washington Times writer Brian McNally has heading into Washington’s Sunday night game against the New York Giants:
1.What version of Robert Griffin III will we see this week?
The inconsistency has been there for a number of reasons: a struggling offensive line, holding the ball too long, learning how and when to step up into the pocket to buy extra time. Griffin needs to show progress over these final five games if only to build for next season.
2. How does Washington get better secondary play?
The Giants have a mediocre pass offense. Then again, the 49ers are the worst in the NFL and torched the Redskins last week. So did Minnesota earlier this month. And neither of those teams has Eli Manning under center. Washington, facing the 25th-ranked rushing offense (88.4 yards per game), may be able to give its defensive backs some help this week.
3. Can the Giants stop the Redskins’ running game?
New York has been much better lately in winning four of five games and crawling to the margins of the NFC East race. Washington struggled to move the ball against San Francisco, the NFL’s No. 12 rush defense. New York has been even better at No. 7 (78.8 yards per game). This will be a challenge.
4. Will Washington tight end Jordan Reed play?
He sustained a concussion two weeks ago against the Eagles and was never a viable option to return against the 49ers. But Reed has been on the practice field this week, though limited on Thursday. Washington needs the extra receiving option with Leonard Hankerson out for the year and Fred Davis not taking advantage of the injury opening. Reed, the team’s second-leading receiver, says he’s playing and Washington coach Mike Shanahan agreed provided there are no setbacks.
5. Have the Redskins quit on their coaching staff?
Players insist the effort is still there. San Francisco is just a better team, after all. But this week will tell that tale once and for all. The Giants are a mediocre team about to miss the playoffs, too. The game is at home. Just for sanity’s sake, Washington can’t have a repeat performance. At 3-8, it needs a win to keep the ship afloat.