Keeping Tabs on Washington's Team

Redskins-Rams: Preview of Extremely Confident Proportions

The running game: "So you're telling me there's a chance..."

By Janie Campbell
|  Saturday, Sep 25, 2010  |  Updated 11:00 AM EDT
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Redskins-Rams: Preview of Extremely Confident Proportions

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Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis (26) and cornerback Carlos Rogers (22) enter Texas Stadium for a Monday Night Football game September 19, 2005 in Irving, Texas. The Skins defeated the Dallas Cowboys 14 - 13. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

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The Redskins head to St. Louis this weekend to take on the Rams. And by "take on the Rams," we mean "obliterate a hopeless team in a feel-good stats-padder."

But it probably doesn't do to say that out loud.

The Rams' 1-15 performance of last year earned them the right to guarantee rookie quarterback Sam Bradford more than any one in the NFL ever, which they did, and they are now 0-2 after losses to the Cardinals and Raiders.

They have yet to score more than 14 points. 

It could easily be what you call a field day for the 'Skins, or just another chance to be 'Skinsy: Washington barely beat the Rams last year, 9-7, and lost by two during the Rams' 2-14 2008 season.

Or both, with short-yardage field goal situations bringing up the latter. We'll find out.

Line: Washington, 3.5

NFL incest: Donovan McNabb and Rams defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo spent many years together in Philadelphia. But McNabb is good enough to at least give lip service, lest familiarity breed contempt before he breeds it with his arm: "[Knowing Spagnuolo well] helps a little bit, but...they are different players and it is somewhat of a different scheme."

One to watch, St. Louis: Rams running back Steven Jackson isn't easy to manhandle alone, so no flying half-tackles are going to cut it here. Jackson may only be averaging 3.8 yards per carry so far this season, but it'll be up to Adam Carikker to keep him from busting out from behind right tackle Jason Smith -- and Laron Landry if that doesn't work.

One to watch, Washington: After stating last week that Jim Haslett was wrong not to assign him to every team's No. 1 receiver every play, DeAngello Hall will get a chance to eat his own words with Mark Clayton. Or prove them. Either way, someone's snacking, and let's hope it isn't Clayton. He's scored two of the Rams' three touchdowns, and he's a rookie quarterback's safety net. The ball is coming his way, and DeAngleo Hall is going to get his moments.

When tripping opponents with crutches is legal, St. Louis will win the Super Bowl: All three of the Rams' tight ends are injured and Craig Dahl is concussed-ish. We're going to go ahead and put Sam Bradford and his papier-mache shoulder on the list so we don't have to write him in later.

The Redskins, meanwhile, expect to get left tackle Trent Williams and free safety Karreem Moore back. As usual, no one's sure if Albert Haynesworth will play.

But what does Dexter Manley think? "It's time to take off the Boy George makeup, and the makeup is denial." 

Dexter is talking, very sweetly and bravely, about not having learned to read until he was 28 -- because even a Dexter Manley show segment in which puppets talk about football doesn't care to waste time on the Rams.

Unfortunately, Dexter could be talking about the Redskins' running game after Clinton Portis tried to tell us he "wouldn't say the running game is struggling. I just don't think we attempted to use it much."

Fortunately, the Rams have the 30th-ranked rushing defense in the league, allowing 142 yards and 16 points per game on the ground. Sounds like a match for the 32nd-ranked rushing Redskins!

32nd is dead last, by the way. Watching the two sides square off on the run is going to be like watching toddlers box. Or Dexter Manley host a show with puppets.

 

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