Five questions Redskins beat writer Brian McNally has heading into Washington's Sunday afternoon game against the Denver Broncos:
What can the Redskins do to fix their struggling special teams?
This unit needs to be fixed after allowing special teams touchdowns in three straight weeks. It won't help if veteran Reed Doughty (concussion) is out. They've already lost long snapper Nick Sundeberg and special teamer Bryan Kehl to season-ending injuries. Denver's Trindon Holliday is one of the better kickoff and punt returners in the game. Washington can't afford another long return.
How does Washington contain Denver quarterback Peyton Manning?
It's an almost impossible task. No player is better at diagnosing what the defense wants to do. It's a chess match Manning almost always wins. But he does have an ankle injury and Indianapolis was able to generate pressure up front with limited blitzes. The Redskins need big games from outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo.
Will Denver linebacker Von Miller be a factor?
The All-Pro plays his second game after a six-game drug suspension. He's a force with 30 sacks in his first two seasons. Miller didn't do much against the Colts last week upon his return with just two tackles. But four times last season he had at least two sacks in a game. Miller can take over and the Redskins must account for him.
What do the Redskins do at safety?
Doughty was again limited in practice on Thursday. Brandon Meriweather has been suspended for a pair of illegal hits last week. That leaves ... a whole host of questions. Look for corner E.J. Biggers to move to safety. Rookie Bacarri Rambo, inactive the last three weeks, should be be back in the mix. Jose Gumbs, Trenton Robinson and the re-signed Jordan Pugh likely will all play.
Can the Redskins offense keep up with Manning and the Broncos?
This won't be easy, but is necessary to pull the upset. There are signs Washington is finding its form. Robert Griffin III has set a season-high in rushing yards two weeks in a row. Roy Helu has become a bigger part of the offense with three touchdowns last weekend. And Alfred Morris has been steady at 5.2 yards per carry. That balance is crucial.
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