Five questions Redskins beat writer Brian McNally has heading into Washington’s Sunday game at the Green Bay Packers.
1. Which Redskins offense will we see: the ineffective one from the first half vs. Philadelphia or the improved one from the second half? No question Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was shaky on Monday night early. His team had three turnovers by the end of the first quarter. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan called Griffin’s footwork “up and down.” That’s not going to cut it. But he needs help from his teammates, too. By the second half Griffin had found his rhythm.
2. Can Washington account for Packers linebacker Clay Matthews? One of the top linebackers in the NFL with a relentless motor who can wreak havoc on an offense. Matthews had seven tackles and a sack in the Week 1 loss to San Francisco. The problem? You don’t always know how the Packers will employ Matthews. He usually lines up on the offense’s left side. But he’s also in a 3-4 defense. Green Bay has options.
3. Will playing on the road at Lambeau Field have a negative affect? Few venues in American sports have more history or a better crowd. As former Green Bay linebacker and current Redskin Nick Barnett said, the opposing bus rolls through farms and small suburbs and then — boom — a massive stadium and 70,000 hostile fans. Friday’s entire Redskins practice will feature crowd noise pumped in to help prepare the team for the lion’s den.
4. Does Green Bay’s offense have a new dimension with rookie running back Eddie Lacy? Several Washington defensive players mentioned Lacy, a second-round draft pick out of Alabama who had a nice preseason and 41 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut on Sunday. More of a bruiser at 5-foot-10, 230 pounds, Lacy did fumble once against the 49ers. His presence makes an already dangerous Packers offense more balanced.
5. How do the Redskins stop Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers? Rodgers is the focus, an MVP candidate and one of the league’s best quarterbacks. Green Bay runs a far more conventional offense than Philadelphia did on Monday. But the Redskins better give him multiple looks or he’ll pick their defense apart with one of the league’s best arms and the legs to make a play when things break down.