Lions-Redskins Preview: 5 Questions with Chris Russell of SI Redskins Maven
Chris Russell is the host of the Locked on Redskins podcast, and is a 106.7 The Fan columnist specializing in Redskins and Capitals coverage.
He is also a sports-talk radio host with 22 years of experience between the D.C. market and nationally syndicated radio programs.
He answered five questions heading into the Lions-Redskins contest Sunday.
JM: It's no secret the fans of Washington are not happy with the state of the team. What are the fans most frustrated about?
CR: "The fans of the Redskins have been a loyal bunch over a long 27-year period of mediocre play, at the very best. Most years, it's been a circus and pure misery.
Now, they are a dying bunch. Nobody really cares, especially with the success of the Nationals and Capitals.
They are most upset with ownership (Daniel Snyder) and the president/general manager (Bruce Allen). We're coming up on the 10-year anniversary for Allen, and we're now 20-plus years under Snyder. They are closed off and arrogant in the view of everyone, and that lack of humanity hurts their image.
In addition, neither is a true 'football guy.' So, the Redskins are viewed as having nobody with true power that is a pure football guy."
JM: What is the one storyline you are following with this Washington team?
CR: "The one storyline I'm following -- besides how empty FedExField will be throughout the game -- is Dwayne Haskins' improvement and if he shows any. The Jets gave him fits for three-plus quarters, sacking him six times and playing a two-deep shell on the back-end.
My understanding is that the Lions will play a lot of man coverage and won't blitz a lot. This should be a great opportunity for Haskins to have some real success."
JM: Haskins has now played in four games. What have been your thoughts regarding his play?
CR: "Haskins was significantly behind and unprepared to play in his first two appearances -- at the Giants and the Vikings -- when he had to relieve Case Keenum.
Since becoming a starter -- before the bye at Buffalo and after (which came) against the New York Jets -- he's been better, but it's hard to say he's been even mediocre or fine.
He's struggled with pass protection slides and adjustments. He's been sacked nine times in his last six quarters of play. The Redskins can't operate on offense when they can't run the ball, and that's exactly what happened last week against a stout Jets run defense. So, if the Lions can control the run and the line, that might be their best chance to win on defense."
JM: What are the matchups to watch in this game?
CR: "The matchups I'll be watching are Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson against Damon "Snacks" Harrison & A'Shawn Robinson, (as well as) Kenny Golladay and/or Marvin Jones against Josh Norman. Norman has been brutal this year.
Also, Darius Slay vs. Terry McLaurin. McLaurin is the Skins' best young receiver, and getting Paul Richardson back will help."
JM: How do you see this game playing out?
CR: "I see this game playing out as a somewhat higher scoring affair than probably most. The Redskins' defense against tight ends and slot/No. 2 receivers is not good. Their pass rush is inconsistent, especially if Daron Payne is out.
The Redskins haven't won at home since last October. I can't pick them, so I'll take the Lions, 27-21."