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The Washington Football Team heads into week four against the extremely talented Baltimore Ravens, led by last year’s MVP Lamar Jackson. This Battle of the Beltway is more of a test for Washington than it will be for Baltimore.
The Football Team has plenty to prove and their success will be contingent on these three keys to victory:
Protect The Football
It’s no secret that Washington struggled with protecting the football last week against the Cleveland Browns. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins was responsible for three costly turnovers that played a huge part in the loss. This week, it will be imperative for Haskins to make better decisions. He will also be without two wide receivers: Steven Sims, Jr. and possibly his favorite target, Terry McLaurin.
“I have a 24-hour rule in the sense where I go through the motions of what happened in the game…what can I fix in the game or what did I do well in the game?” Haskins stated. “Then the next day, you kind of watch the film, see what you did well, what you didn’t do well. The film’s not going to lie to you.”
The Ravens have one of the top defenses in the NFL and they will likely bring the blitz on Sunday. They also brought in former Jacksonville Jaguar Calais Campbell, who was known as the Mayor of Sacksonville because of his ability to terrorize quarterbacks. While most of the attention will be on Haskins, taking care of the ball applies to every member of the team.
This has been a recurring theme but the offense has to find a way to start fast. Washington has struggled to move the ball and put up points in the first half. Each week they have been in situations where they are frantically trying to make second half comebacks. The offense needs to find an early rhythm and keep the Ravens’ defense at bay.
“They try to generate big plays with their defense and they do a great job of doing that,” Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner said. “Yeah, they’re going to make plays. That’s what they do. But when we do have the advantage, when we do catch them in a good look, you’ve got to take advantage of those. You’ve got to try to get some big plays on them.”
Contain Lamar Jackson
Washington’s defense had trouble slowing down Arizona’s Kyler Murray, who has mobility similar to Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson is dangerous when he escapes the pocket and their offensive coordinator often calls plays that put him in the position to run for substantial yardage.
“I think Lamar in particular is outstanding,” Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said. “The things they’re doing with him and playing to his strengths…they’ve done a great job with him. When you look at what the Ravens have put together, they’ve got a good team. We’re getting prepared to go compete, but we acknowledge that the guys that can run and throw, the dual threats, make it a little more challenging.”
Washington’s defensive front will take a hit this week, with both Matt Ioannidis and Chase Young out of the lineup due to injuries. They will need Montez Sweat to step up again and Ryan Kerrigan will have to continue to show why he is the team’s sack leader. The pass rush has to do everything they can to pressure Jackson into throwing the ball. Otherwise, he will make them pay.