Jclombardi reviews game day headlines.
Guest senior writer jclombardi @ http://lombardiave.com
Packers vs Redskins preview: Teams: Packers (3-1) vs. Washington Redskins (2-2). Time: Noon CT, Sunday. Place: FedEx Field, Landover, Md. TV coverage: FOX – WITI (Ch. 6) in Milwaukee and WMSN (Ch. 47) in Madison. Packers injury report–S Morgan Burnett (knee) was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Thursday. LB Nick Barnett (wrist), LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder), CB Sam Shields (calf) and FB Quinn Johnson (glute) are out. RT Mark Tauscher (shoulder) is doubtful. LT Chad Clifton (knee), S Nick Collins (knee), DE Cullen Jenkins (hand), S Derrick Martin (ankle), S Charlie Peprah (quadriceps) and CB Charles Woodson (toe) are probable. Line: Packers are favored by 2 ½ points. Prediction: Packers’ vibe coming out of last week’s win wasn’t a good one. Rodgers questioned the play-calling, McCarthy had to remind the players that they’d actually won the game. Maybe the Redskins’ porous secondary is the tonic for what ails the Packers’ inconsistent offense. The guess here is that the Packers finally put a full game together despite the disconcerting injuries. But that’s all it is, a guess. Packers 24, Redskins 20.
Game Scout–Packers vs Redskins: Keys to Game–With Portis (groin) out, the Redskins won’t veer from the run-first approach that worked at Philadelphia with RB Torain, but expect more from McNabb against the Packers’ beat up defense that is without injured S Burnett and LBs Barnett and Chillar. Redskins defensive coordinator Haslett has hugged the throttle with blitzes when facing potent passing offenses with mixed results. He might back off a bit fearing pronounced mismatches with TE Finley. The Packers are still trying to replace RB Grant averaging 82 rushing yards in the past three games. Game plan: Quarterback Rodgers believes the spread formations out of shotgun is the best tonic for what has been ailing the Packers’ talented inconsistent offense. The frustrated signal caller could get his wish with coverage-challenged Redskins defense. Washington ranks in the bottom of the league allowing a whopping 305 passing yards per game. Mixing in 15 to 20 runs between RB Jackson and FB Kuhn should be sufficient to keep Washington from selling out to defend the pass. Defensively, the Packers’ aiming point is quarterback McNabb, an old former Eagles nemesis. Green Bay’s run defense has allowed opposing QBs to break free for huge gains. Keeping the mobile McNabb from breaking containment in the pocket is a must. While the Packers won’t see RB Portis, out with a groin injury, they will be tested by powerful RB Torain who gashed the Eagles for 70 yards in the Redskins’ last game. Special teams coordinator Slocum will be under the gun to have punter Masthay and kicker Crosby not allow big-play returners Banks and Thomas the time and space for a long runback.
Emerging star LG Sitton: As Sitton emerges in his third year with the Green Bay Packers as one of the best offensive linemen on the team, Smith said the rest of the world is finally catching up to what he knew all along. “That Josh Sitton is one heck of a player now,” former Packers general manager Ron Wolf said recently when asked which players he still liked to watch a decade after his retirement. “I don’t know why he doesn’t get his due. He is really a good player.”