BY MARK F. GRAY
There is finally some merit to the Washington Redskins playing in FedEx Field. Their defense has taken the theory of shipping property to a new level this year with a punishing physical style that has led to consecutive victories with injured opponents in their wake. They will be pushed to the limit this Sunday night on homecoming as they face the Indianapolis Colts in a game that will be a great litmus test for a team trying to play itself into legitimate post season contention.
In the last two weeks Burgundy and Gold defense has shipped Michael Vick to an extended stay on the Eagles injured list and LeSean McCoy is nursing cracked ribs. Last week the Packers lost tight ends JerMichael Finley and Donald Lee while the decisive interception came as a result of a punishing hit from Jeremy Jarmon on Aaron Rodgers that left him slightly concussed.
“You never go into a game with the intent to hurt anybody,” said defensive lineman Kedric Golston. “Buy you do want to play physical that is the mindset”.
This is not the defense of Gregg Williams or Greg Blatche where they blitzed heavily but it didn’t result in much. Instead this unit, which is statistically ranked 32nd in the NFL, has remade itself into one of the most intimidating in the league. In the past they relied on scheme to confuse and deceive but now they are inflicting the type punishment that is leading to game changing plays that has resulted in two of their first three victories.
However, they have yet to face an offense like the Colts with a quarterback who rarely leaves the game with a dirty uniform and has mastered the art of confusing even the most intimidating of defenses. Peyton Manning and the Colts figure to win the total yardage and time of possession battles but will they be able to score enough to put the Redskins away. Green Bay, whose offense is not as prolific but presents enough challenges, scored just one touchdown, though dominating statistically, which gave them a chance to steal last week’s game in the fourth quarter.
This is not the atypical Colts offense that fans have grown accustomed to. The offensive line is an aging unit that is vulnerable to the outside rush which could lead to a big night for Brian Orakpo or even Andre Carter. Manning will be hit and there will be chances for the secondary to make big plays. It would not be surprising if DeAngelo Hall or the reigning NFC Player of the Week LaRon Landry revives Tracy Porter’s game changing moment in last year’s Super Bowl before Sunday night is done.
If the defense isn’t intimidating enough this is being billed as homecoming weekend as the Redskins continue their “Return To Glory” with a weekend full of festivities reviving the memories of their past. The once docile suburban crowd figures to go old school and don’t the bleachers may rock like they once did back at the old relic that was RFK Stadium.
If they hope to beat the Colts it will be the defense that has to rock and express mail Indianapolis home with a loss.
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