LANDOVER, Md. -- As the Washington Redskins prepare to take on the Cincinnati Bengals in their home opener here today at 1 p.m. ET, here's one reason for Redskins fans to feel good and one reason for concern.
Feeling good: In spite of the losses of defensive end Adam Carriker and outside linebacker Brian Orakpo to season-ending injuries, the Redskins ought to be able to get pressure on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton today. Washington has depth on the line to cover for the Carriker loss, and they like the potential of Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson to help fill the Orakpo void. But even if they're going to need time to adjust, Cincinnati doesn't offer the stiffest first test. The Bengals have struggled in pass protection this year, and Dalton isn't the most mobile of quarterbacks. The Redskins' defense needs to create pressure up front due to concerns in the secondary, and they should be able to rely on that formula to their benefit today, even without those two key players.
Cause for concern: The Bengals' defensive weak spot is in the secondary, where corners Leon Hall and Nate Clements have struggled in the early going. But the Redskins are not at full strength in their wide receiver corps, and the likely absence of top wideout Pierre Garcon will limit Robert Griffin III's ability to beat Cincinnati deep. If the Bengals can keep the Redskins in a short-yardage offensive game plan, the advantage swings their way, especially with defensive end Carlos Dunlap likely returning from injury to play in this game.