The Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints both had headline-grabbing offseasons, albeit for different reasons. The Saints' foundation was shaken to its core as the fallout from a bounty scandal left their roster, coaching staff and front office in shambles. Meanwhile, the Redskins trumpeted the arrival of their newest franchise player, Robert Griffin III.
Sunday, however, the offseason will be a thing of the past as the 'Skins and Saints meet at the Superdome in an intriguing Week 1 matchup.
Griffin will be making his long-anticipated NFL regular-season debut against one of the NFL's elite teams. Despite losing head coach Sean Payton (not to mention general manager Mickey Loomis and interim head coach Joe Vitt), New Orleans still possesses the league's most prolific offense. Led by record-setting quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints will look to exploit Washington's depleted secondary with weapons like Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and Marques Colston.
RGIII won't be lining up against New Orleans' offense, but he will have to contend with a highly motivated opponent, a raucous crowd at the Superdome and the earlier-than-expected return of defensive end Will Smith, who could play after an appeals panel reportedly overturned all player suspensions in the bounty case (linebacker Jonathan Vilma is unlikely to play).
Griffin, however, has said that while he will feel some nerves ahead of his first start, he will do his best to remain calm under pressure.
The spotlight on the Redskins' sideline will surely be shining on RGIII, but the most important unit Sunday will be the defensive line. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan will have to get to Brees and disrupt the flow of the Saints' offense if they are to stand a chance.
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