The Washington Redskins are facing a pivotal challenge this Sunday when they host the Baltimore Ravens. Coming off of a huge one point win on Monday Night Football against the New York Giants, the Redskins have placed themselves back in the NFC Playoff picture this season.
But they know that they cannot let up one bit, as they may have to win out in order to qualify for the postseason, meaning that they have to find a way to beat the Ravens in the Beltway Battle on Sunday afternoon. If you ask defensive coordinator Jim Haslett what the strategy is to slowing down the Ravens, he will tell you it is quite simple.
According to CSN Washington, the Redskins have to make sure that Baltimore cannot call too many “Hey diddle diddle, Ray Rice up the middle” sort of plays on Sunday.
“First of all, he’s a great football player, not just in the run game but the pass game, too,” Haslett said of the Ravens’ top running back. “His route running, his pass receiving, screens.”
“That’s our No. 1 goal,” Haslett said. “You have to handle Ray.”
The Redskins have been very good against the run this season, ranking fourth in the NFL , allowing opponents to rush for just over 91 yards per game. Surprisingly, the Ravens are just 23rd in the league this season in terms of rushing yards per contest, as Baltimore just has a mental block at certain points in games, almost forgetting to get Rice more involved in the offense.
That will be quite fine with the Redskins if that holds true once again on Sunday, as they are more than fine sitting back and making Joe Flacco beat them. They are not saying that it could not happen, but they are much more fearful of letting Rice beat them on the ground than Flacco through the air.
Who can blame them?
Flacco on the road is not nearly the same quarterback as Flacco at home. It is almost a day and night difference. Never can I remember a team who plays its home games outdoors being such a different team on the road. It is one things when it effects a dome team, but Baltimore is not one of those such teams. They just struggle on the road mightily.
And when I say they, I mean Flacco.
That is why Haslett and the Redskins want to focus on slowing down Rice.
“When he’s running the ball, you have to be ready for spin moves, stiff arms,” Haslett said. “He’s violent when he runs the ball. You have to know where he’s at all times and you have to gang tackle him. One guy is not getting him down, not going to happen. You have to have three or four guys getting to him.”
If Washington can at least contain Rice, and if Robert Griffin III can take advantage of an injured Baltimore defense, they can certainly play well enough to win this game and remain in the thick of things in the NFC Playoff chase as the season winds down over the final month.