Redskins gameday: Notes and analysis

  1. After the Washington Redskins signed safety Ryan Clark, one longtime coach said a side benefit of getting him was his winning experience. Clark is used to playing on good teams and great defenses; not many players on the Redskins' defense have that sort of background. Actually, no one does. The coach said Clark would instill certain qualities in his teammates because of his resume.

  2. Sure enough, Clark was not going to praise the defense for only giving up 10 points. But Clark also recognized the urgency of getting a win this week. Though he wasn’t here last season, he knows what happened. "You can’t put your team in that type of hole," he said. "You don’t want people in this locker room to think it’s the same old thing when you come into the year with such high hopes. You got a chance at home to even up the record and we need to do that."

  3. Another benefit is the energy he brings to the defense. Yes, Clark missed four tackles, but he recorded 10 according to the coaches statistics and he played with a mindset that more on defense need to have. He might miss a tackle, but as long as he’s being aggressive and forces the runner to his help, then the coaches will live with it (provided he makes more, of course). But Clark also hit gaps faster than any Redskins free safety has in a while.

  4. Clark even said he doesn’t care about missing certain tackles, a message he delivered to safety Bacarri Rambo, who, of course, missed a big one last weekend. "Nobody will miss more tackles than I will," Clark said. "Sometimes I’m trying to make a statement. I told him those tackles are more important, when I have those opportunities when I know if I miss this guy, it’s a big play, it’s a touchdown. Those are the ones you need to make. At some point this year we’ll all miss tackles. That’s why you run to the ball."

  5. One player said Clark told him he couldn’t believe how loose everyone was during the week, coming off a loss. Guess it wasn’t that way in Pittsburgh. Does it matter? It’s the same way the players reacted two years ago after losses en route to a 10-6 finish. But I think more players with Clark’s mindset would help. We will learn a lot about this team in terms of how they play Sunday. They definitely feel as if last week's loss was more the result of four or five bad plays and not just a bad game.

  6. Quarterback Robert Griffin III keeps a low profile in the locker room, so he can’t be accused of seeming too loose (I would never describe him as uptight, either). Though Jacksonville’s defense has talented parts, this is a chance for Griffin to have an excellent game. The Redskins believe their running style works well against this defense (as it did against Seattle two years ago, the blueprint for this Jaguars' scheme). If the Jaguars start using too many eight-man fronts, look for the Redskins to use more spread looks to get them into more favorable coverages. This should be a game where the zone-read is used -- and zone-read fakes. If so, Griffin and the offense could have a good day. Again, the offensive players like this matchup.

  7. Jacksonville, like Seattle in the past and the New York Giants once upon a time, can line up three defensive ends in certain passing situations, trying to get more speed inside. So protection once more will be key to getting downfield. But, in general, they need to do a better job causing the rush to hesitate. The zone-read fakes were as much about slowing the rush as creating good lanes. And, yes, the Jaguars will miss safety Johnathan Cyprien, out with a concussion. His presence matters.

  8. Center Kory Lichtensteiger had a strong opening game, but will face a different challenge this week. Last week he had a defender over him, which enabled him to use his quickness quite effectively. Sunday, his angles will be different against a defense that typically schemes well vs. zone runs. They try to shade the center and get penetration. "They’ll do some movement, try to mix it up," Lichtensteiger said. The Jaguars will run full-line stunts and provide different looks. They will also use end Chris Clemons on both sides. "They make it tough to identify stuff and make hard angles for a zone team," Lichtensteiger said. Despite that, the Redskins feel they can run on the Jaguars.