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Espn Scouting Report Skins Vs Giants


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Campbell could break out against NY

By Scouts Inc

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Why To Watch

This is a rivalry game in the NFC East. You don't want to talk too early in the season about must win games, but if the Giants lose they fall to 0-3 and 0-2 within the division. Washington QB Jason Campbell has been up and down, but has excellent upside and should continue to get better. There should be plenty of hitting in this game as the Redskins feature two of the best hitting safeties in the NFL in Sean Taylor and Laron Landry.

When the Giants have the ball

Rushing: Backup RB Derrick Ward was one of the few bright spots for the Giants offense last week in their home loss to the Green Bay Packers. He carried the ball 15 times for 90 yards, but could not get enough touches as the Giants fell behind and struggled to sustain drives. Brandon Jacobs (knee) will be questionable again this week, but Ward actually looks to be giving them a spark from the backfield. Ward is a little more versatile in his ability to run outside, and his vision and run instincts give him a better chance to make the first man miss in the hole.

Look for the Giants to try to attack the perimeter in this game. The Redskins are undersized up front with Andre Carter at the RDE spot and New York will look to exploit this matchup by running Kareem McKenzie, one of its better run-blockers, at him. The Redskins are much more stout up the middle in run support with LB London Fletcher, Taylor and Landry.

The Giants have to run the ball more effectively this week with their injury-riddled QB situation right now. The Giants need to shorten this game, so look for Ward to top the 20-carry mark in this football game.

Passing: The biggest question early in the week for the Giants as they get ready for this game is who will be the starting QB. Eli Manning won the respect of his teammates last week by playing with an injured throwing shoulder, but did not finish the game. Jared Lorenzen replaced Manning and then was injured as well and veteran Anthony Wright had to come in and mop up. Early indications are Manning will play and even though he played with pain last week, the Giants need him to be more effective at controlling the clock and moving the chains. To do that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride needs to find a way to get TE Jeremy Shockey more touches. Shockey has favorable matchups this week versus Taylor if they can get him insolated on him.

Look for the Giants to flex out Shockey more this week with their standard offensive package. This will force defensive coordinator Greg Williams to walk a safety out giving Manning a matchup he could exploit. It could also force the Redskins into more situations where they need to use their nickel package on early downs, which would then open up the Giants' running game. And if the Redskins are aggressive with blitz packages, the Giants will take some shots downfield to WR Plaxico Burress, who has four TD catches in two games and a solid height advantage on both corners this week.

When the Redskins have the ball

Rushing: After missing the entire preseason, the Redskins have to be very excited about RB Clinton Portis, who has been running hard, breaking tackles and playing very physical early in the season. Head coach Joe Gibbs loves to pound the ball on the ground and control the clock this week, which would mean plenty of touches for both Portis and backup RB Ladell Betts.

The Giants were better versus the run last week against Green Bay, but have not been able to force many big plays or big hits in the first two weeks. They will load up on the run early in this game so look for a lot of eight-man fronts on first down. They want to force the Redskins into more second- and third-and-long situations, which would force Campbell to have to beat them. The Giants do not have a lot of speed in their front seven so look for the Redskins to potentially try to run a little more outside this week. They want to stretch the Giants defense out as much as possible.

Passing: The Redskins are still trying to feel their way with their passing offense. Campbell missed some time in the preseason with a bruised knee and it set the offense back a little bit. However, this offense is going to be more explosive through the air, which could start this week.

The Giants have been struggling to get consistent pressure on the QB and it is taking its toll on the back end. They have been picked apart the past two weeks by Tony Romo sits to pee and Brett Favre. CB Sam Madison has clearly lost a step and been sloppy with his technique as well. Madison, in his day, was a very good man-to-man cover corner, but teams are actually trying to get their top receiver matched up on him and the Redskins will do the same with Santana Moss.

Campbell can stretch the field vertically with his arm and will try to early in this game versus a Giants defense that will be playing run first and pass second. Also look for TE Chris Cooley to be more involved in the offense. Giants' safeties Gibril Wilson and James Butler have been out of position way too often this season, and Cooley has the speed to stretch the middle of the field. If the Redskins were looking to gain some confidence in the passing game, this is a good week to do that.

Special Teams

The Giants' special teams have been a little shaky early in the season. Injuries have depleted some of the depth on the cover units and the return game lost a spark when Derrick Ward moved into the starting backfield. R.W. McQuarters is still good, but he's lost a step as a return man.

The Redskins' Antwaan Randle El is a dangerous punt returner and a threat to score any time he touches the football. Washington PK Shaun Suisham was a bit of a question mark coming into the regular season, but got some confidence after a huge game-winning field goal in overtime in Week 1. The Redskins get the advantage this week in special teams and the Giants need to get something here if they are going to pull the upset on the road.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/scouting?gameId=270923028E

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