Reporting Grant Paulsen
ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — When the Redskins take the field to play the St. Louis Rams this weekend, Washington’s front seven will look to repeat its performance from one year ago at the Edward Jones Dome.
While facing the Rams 11 months ago, Washington tallied seven sacks and held Steven Jackson to 2.6 yards per carry in a dominating performance that limited St. Louis to 10 points.
Brian Orakpo registered a season-high 2.5 sacks while Stephen Bowen (1.5), Ryan Kerrigan (1.0) and Adam Carriker all contributed to a dominant effort against St. Louis’ offensive front.
“They got away from the run once we were able to contain Steven Jackson,” Orakpo said about last year’s suffocating defensive performance. “We’re going in with the same game plan. We feel like they’re going to be a run heavy type of offense. That’s what they’ve shown on film so far. We’ve got to get after Jackson, because he’s a premiere back in this league. Then we’ll be able to get after Bradford a little bit.”
The Rams allowed four sacks to the Detroit Lions in Week One, the second-highest total in the NFL. What’s worse for St. Louis is that the club could be without starting left tackle Rodger Saffold and center Scott Wells (broken foot). With a pair of reserves in the game Brian Orakpo (working against Wayne Hunter) and Barry Cofield (matching up with Rob Turner) would be the most likely beneficiaries.
“We get the injury report, everybody does,” Orakpo said. “We’ve got to do a good job playing as one and coming in with the same mindset regardless of who’s out there.”
The best way for Washington’s pass rushers to exposed the Rams’ decimated front will be to force them in to consistent passing downs by taking an early lead.
Additionally, if the Redskins are able to minimize Jackson’s yardage on first and second down carries, forcing the Rams to throw the ball off deep drops on third down could prove critical as well.
Jackson ran the ball 21 times against the Lions last Sunday, one of the five highest totals in the league. He’s the only tailback to amass 1,100 rushing yards in each of the past six seasons and stopping him will be the key in getting to Bradford.
“He’s a big back,” London Fletcher said. “He’s got speed and power. You’ve just got to get as many guys around him as possible when you’re trying to corral him.”
Last October Jackson managed just 45 yards on 17 rushing attempts. If he rushes for under 50 yards again on Sunday the Redskins will have a very good chance to improve to 2-0 for a second straight season.