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The Sporting News-Feature Matchup


Blondie

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REDSKINS -vs- JETS

Why To Watch

There is bad blood between these two organizations, as wide receiver Laveranues Coles, return specialist Chad Morton, kicker John Hall and guard Randy Thomas will be taking on their former team in their first regular-season game as Redskins. . . . Head coach Steve Spurrier might finally have the talent to run the Fun 'n' Gun, but second-year quarterback Patrick Ramsey must spark the offense. . . . Can 39-year-old QB Vinny Testaverde, filling in for the injured Chad Pennington, keep the Jets' chances alive? . . . Can wide receiver Santana Moss be the go-to-guy for Testaverde and the Jets?

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Jets Keys For Success

1. Get RB Curtis Martin on track early. If for no other reason, Martin must be involved early in this game to instill confidence in his teammates. Because the Jets' offense has so many question marks, a cautious start and a strong commitment to the running game on first and second downs likely will put the team in more manageable third-and-short situations. In addition, attacking the Redskins' weak defensive line makes sense from a strategic point of view. By running Martin early and often, the Jets will be able to exploit their advantage up front. As elementary as it might sound, having confidence could mean the difference to a team playing without doubt after a bumpy offseason.

2. Rattle Ramsey. The Jets must find a way to pressure the inexperienced quarterback. If the front four can't find a way to do it, then defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell will have to get creative in his blitz packages. The more the Jets attack and disrupt Ramsey's timing, the less decisive he'll become and the more mistakes he will make. If the Jets' defense can force Ramsey to throw a couple of interceptions, it can provide the unsure offense with scoring opportunities on a shortened field.

3. Bend, but don't break. Cottrell has decided to implement more man-to-man schemes this season. That being said, Jets cornerbacks Donnie Abraham and Aaron Beasley have been zone defenders for their entire careers and are not suited physically to turn and run with the Redskins' talented trio of wide receivers. The Jets must not bail out Ramsey by giving up a short scoring drive. Cottrell should rethink his approach, as sticking with his soft cover-2 from last year would force Ramsey to put together longer drives by throwing underneath. Simply put, more attempts could mean more mistakes by Ramsey.

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Redskins Keys For Success

1. Get Ramsey into a rhythm. There is no question Ramsey has excellent arm strength and intelligence, but he still has plenty to learn about being a starting NFL quarterback. He is surrounded by more talent this season, but Spurrier must help Ramsey succeed by putting him into good situations. Short, easy throws and the use of three-step drops will help Ramsey get off to a good start in this game. In addition, Ramsey must protect the ball by not forcing throws downfield.

2. Force the Jets' offense to be one-dimensional. Although Washington has the back seven to defend against the pass, the team lacks the bulk in the middle of the defensive line to serve as a plug against the run. With a new front four of left end Renaldo Wynn, right end Regan Upshaw and defensive tackles Jermaine Haley and Bernard Jackson, the Redskins must find a way to contain Martin. If the Jets are allowed to run the ball effectively, Testaverde, as a result, will be able to get comfortable in the pocket by utilizing the play action pass. Stopping Martin is a must for the 'Skins, even if it means taking more chances with safeties Matt Bowen and David Terrell lining up in the box.

3. Trung Canidate must prove himself. Canidate could emerge as a speedy running threat in Spurrier's system, as he is much better fit for the scheme than Stephen Davis ever was. The problem with Canidate, though, is his lack of experience as a featured back. He must prove capable of carrying the load against the Jets by demonstrating his versatility in the run and the pass for four quarters. Another knock on Canidate is his knack for fumbling; as a full-time starter, he must protect the ball better.

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The Bottom Line

This game will serve as a litmus test for two teams with plenty of questions. Washington has a young quarterback and an unproven tailback on offense, while the Jets have a depleted receiving corps and must rebound from the injury to their starting quarterback.

These teams are pretty evenly matched in terms of talent, but Washington does not have a 1,000-yard runner to fall back on, as Testaverde and the Jets do with Martin. Look for the Jets to establish a pass rush early to throw Spurrier's attack out of whack. Despite the injury to Pennington, the Jets still have enough talent to pay back Washington for raiding them in free agency.

Pick: Jets 24, Redskins 21

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Amazing....he talks about how evenly matched they are, that we took a lot of the Jets talent in the offseason, and then he picks them over us anyway, despite the fact that its our home opener.

Makes sense.....

I hope we lay a spanking on them they won't soon forget.

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The Jets MUST get Curtis Martin going, not only that but I think their best bet would be to just own time of possesion, ala keeping the ball out of the Skins hands. The Redskins offense may not yet be the well oiled machine it will be in 2004, but with Ramsey's arm strength and the speed of our recievers, we have ability to strike fast, VERY FAST. We saw it in the preseason, instances where the overall offense was sluggish, but because of the players we have, it gives the ability for huge yards in minimal time.

If the Skins score early on, and force the Jets to play catchup, I think the Jets are done.

I think a big determining factor in this game, is which team scores the first touchdown. (Morton, I'm calling yer number, fella~!).

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1. Redskins WILL stop Santana Moss and Curtis Conway.

2. Jets will not stop Coles, Gardner and Co.

That will be the difference in the opening game.

The contest will be close and neither team will have a big lead and that one extra big play from Coles I think will put the Skins over the top in the fourth quarter.

The Jets have not demonstrated that their DBs have the athleticism to stay with Coles for 60 minutes.

In the heat and humidity of DC the Jets' CBs are going to think they have been sent to purgatory :D

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Haley is a big-bodied interior defender said to be strong against the run.

I thought Bernard Jackson was a DE but at 301 lbs. he may be a better tackle.

Lional Dalton was an inside force on the Broncos D-line last year.

Martin Chase played in 13 games last season, making one start. He had 51 tackles and one sack.

Maybe the middle of the Skins d-line is not as soft as some might think.

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It's not a horrible assessment, and i can even see why they'd pick the Jets, given their criteria. However, with our strong linebacking corps, we might be able to shut Martin down...and then Vinny will be in trouble.

Originally posted by Larry

I agree with their point that establishing Candidate would help a lot, too.

Umm...you know that it's "Canidate," right? Honest. :)

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While I agree it is important to stop Martin for the Skins to win the game, it will depend on how you stop him that will determine if you win or lose. If you can stop him with your base defense plus a couple of wrinkles, than the Skins should win. But, if they have to focus their whole defense on stopping Martin, than the Skins could be in trouble as I feel Vinny still has enough left to get the job done.

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Yeah, what's all this about 'the team lacks bulk' in the DL? Dalton and Chase combine for well over 600 lbs...that pretty bulky.

On the flipside, I like what he says about Ramsey...'There is no question Ramsey has excellent arm strength and intelligence...' This is the first piece of press where someone actually gives him a little credit.

All in all, a good read.

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