- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 15, 2009

KEY MATCHUP

BRONCOS WR BRANDON MARSHALL vs. REDSKINS CB DeANGELO HALL

When he last saw the Broncos, DeAngelo Hall was making his regular-season debut for Oakland. It didn’t go well. Marshall didn’t play, but rookie Eddie Royal caught nine passes for 146 yards and a touchdown.

Marshall will be on the field Sunday, likely matched up against Hall. The receiver, who sparred with coach Josh McDaniels during training camp, has been targeted a team-high 66 times and has 44 catches for 468 yards and four of the Broncos’ nine touchdown catches.

Hall has three of the Redskins’ four interceptions this year. Redskins secondary coach Jerry Gray compares Marshall to Terrell Owens.

“Big guy who’s fast, strong and he can do a lot of stuff against his body and come up with a tough catch,” Gray said. “In the Dallas game, he jumped over [cornerback Terence] Newman’s head to make a catch.”

The Redskins allow a league-low 159.9 passing yards a game.

THREE KEYS

1. Show a first-half pulse

The Redskins’ first-half debacle last week in Atlanta featured personal fouls by LaRon Landry and Lorenzo Alexander, two offside penalties by Albert Haynesworth, a sideline brouhaha and a 24-3 deficit they couldn’t overcome. The Redskins have been outscored 103-36 in the first half.

2. Keep Campbell upright

Jason Campbell has been sacked 11 times in the past two games and had to leave the Atlanta loss twice because of injury. Another new offensive line combination — in are left tackle Levi Jones and right guard Chad Rinehart, out are right tackle Mike Williams and right guard Will Montgomery — has to keep track of Broncos linebacker Elvis Dumervil.

3. A big return

The Redskins rank 16th on kickoff returns and 30th on punt returns. Their biggest play was a 42-yard kickoff return by Rock Cartwright. Denver’s coverage teams are 27th (kickoffs) and 29th (punts); a big play by Cartwright or DeAngelo Hall on a punt return could provide a short field.

THE EDGE

WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL

The 20-point barrier — heck, the 18-point barrier — remains elusive for a Washington offense that will be without four starters from the season opener. The line has been revamped again, Jason Campbell is not completely healthy and Ladell Betts is nursing an ankle problem. Betts is the key. He showed a burst in the second half last week and allowed the Redskins to use their play-action game to string together consecutive 13-play touchdown drives. The Broncos present a challenge, though. Elvis Dumervil’s 10.5 sacks are tied for the league lead, and safety Brian Dawkins doesn’t appear to have lost a step since his prime years in Philadelphia.

Edge: Broncos

WHEN THE BRONCOS HAVE THE BALL

Denver is middle of the road in all of the major offensive categories, including rushing (18th), passing (16th) and points (22nd). Third down is where the Redskins will take advantage. Denver is 8-for-27 on third down in its past two games, losses to Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The running game has stalled, but receivers Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal have combined for 69 catches and 700 yards. The Redskins’ key is wrapping up Denver’s running backs; Michael Turner’s big runs for the Falcons were aided by missed tackles. It will be interesting to see whether the Redskins start moving free safety LaRon Landry closer to the line of scrimmage, leaving Reed Doughty as the deep safety.

Edge: Redskins

SPECIAL TEAMS

Neither team’s numbers are very good except for the Redskins’ coverage teams (second on kickoffs, sixth on punts). Denver’s Eddie Royal averages 11.6 yards a return on punts and 23.7 on kickoffs. Redskins punter Hunter Smith passed the test by kicking Friday and feeling well enough Saturday that the team released fill-in Sam Paulescu. Smith has missed three games this year. Denver is on its second punter — Mitch Berger is averaging 34.9 yards since being signed two games ago. The Broncos get the edge because Royal has proved he can score on punt and kickoff returns.

Edge: Broncos

BRONCOS STARTERS

Offense

WR19Eddie Royal

WR15Brandon Marshall

WR10Jabar Gaffney

LT78Ryan Clady

LG71Russ Hochstein

C62Casey Wiegmann

RG73Chris Kuper

RT77Brandon Gorin

TE89Daniel Graham

RB28Correll Buckhalter

QB8Kyle Orton

Defense

DE98Ryan McBean

NT91Ronald Fields

DE90Kenny Peterson

OLB57Mario Haggan

ILB54Andra Davis

ILB55D.J. Williams

OLB92Elvis Dumervil

CB24Champ Bailey

CB21Andre Goodman

FS23Renaldo Hill

SS20Brian Dawkins

Specialists

K5Matt Prater

P17Mitch Berger

PR19Eddie Royal

KR19Eddie Royal

Injuries

Out: RT Ryan Harris (toe). Doubtful: S Josh Barrett (hamstring). Questionable: DT Ryan McBean (knee). Probable: WR Brandon Marshall (back)

REDSKINS STARTERS

Offense

WR89Santana Moss

WR11Devin Thomas

LT76Levi Jones

LG66Derrick Dockery

C61Casey Rabach

RG75Chad Rinehart

RT74Stephon Heyer

TE86Fred Davis

RB46Ladell Betts

FB45Mike Sellers

QB17Jason Campbell

Defense

DE99Andre Carter

DT96Cornelius Griffin

DT92Albert Haynesworth

DE93Phillip Daniels

OLB52Rocky McIntosh

MLB59London Fletcher

OLB98Brian Orakpo

CB23DeAngelo Hall

CB22Carlos Rogers

FS30LaRon Landry

SS37Reed Doughty

Specialists

K6Shaun Suisham

P3Hunter Smith

PR82Antwaan Randle El

KR31Rock Cartwright

KR46Ladell Betts

Injuries

Out: TE Chris Cooley (ankle), RB Clinton Portis (concussion), RT Mike Williams (ankle). Questionable: RB Ladell Betts (ankle), CB Byron Westbrook (knee), RT Stephon Heyer (knee). Probable: QB Jason Campbell (ankle).

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