Kevin Ewoldt, the head man at SB Nation's Redskins site Hogs Haven was kind enough to answer five of my questions about his team.
1. Two years in, do you feel this current regime is the answer?
I do think it's the answer. The state that Cerrato left this franchise was an utter disgrace. Joe Gibbs retired with a playoff-caliber roster and in two years Zorn, Cerrato, and Snyder destroyed the locker room with high-priced free agents and traded draft picks. Bruce Allen did a 5-star job of getting the cap number way back down and making quality trades for starters (Carriker, etc). Last year the Skins went into the 2011 draft with a measly 6 picks, but with trading back, the Skins turned that into 12 picks and everyone selected in the first 5 rounds are starter quality. The defense is built to win now, so when the Redskins address the QB position this April, things will be on the up. It's not easy being patient, but it's clear the Redskins have a foundation of quality players.
2. How is this Redskins team different from what it was at the start of the season?
Piggy-backing the last answer, the Redskins have over-hauled their roster A LOT the last two years. So, in regards to that, it's been tough to establish continuity. Why are the Pats, Saints, and Packers so good? Despite the Pro-Bowl QBs, the key players have played with each other for many years. Now that the Skins are in the second half of the season, things are starting to click where players know their assignments. Haslett said this week that there have been far fewer breakdowns in a game then there were in the past.
3. How would you game plan against the Redskins?
Offense: It's a must to stop the run. It's not that hard to do, as last week was the first game in five weeks the Redskins had a rusher over 41 yards. Roy Helu certainly broke out, so stop him and force Rex to throw the ball. Interceptasaurus Rex will come out.
Defense: The Redskins are a top 5 defense in sacks and pressures with Kerrigan and Orakpo being extremely disruptive. If the OLine can come up with a good protection scheme, that's enough to expose the lackluster secondary. Kerrigan and Rak don't have great speed, so Sanchez should be able to scramble if he can get out of the pocket. Barry Cofield vs Mangold will be a huge part of this game.
4. Give me one player on both offense and defense who will make an impact that the average fan has not heard of.
Offense: Roy Helu. The rookie RB out of Nebraska finally won the starting job after weeks of struggling in pass protection in minimal play. Shanahan loves bootleg and misdirection plays, so look for Fred Davis and Roy Helu to get 1-2 big plays that way.
5. Describe the state of Redskins special teams.
Sit on a whoopie cushion and that sums it up. While the Redskins have not given up a TD in punt or kickoff coverage all year, they have not scored one either. Brandon Banks is an elusive returner, but has been unable to take it to the house which has many fans wanting him to get cut.
Thanks to Kevin for answering my questions and head over to Hogs Haven for the best source of Redskins information and analysis on the web.