Redskins LT Trent Williams braces for matchup with Chandler Jones

Clark: Pats are too good of a team for Redskins to handle (0:57)

ESPN's Ryan Clark and Brian Dawkins break down the Sunday afternoon matchup between the Redskins and Patriots. (0:57)

ASHBURN, Va. -- Some notes and analysis for the Washington Redskins for their game vs. the New England Patriots:

  • Redskins left tackle Trent Williams remembers going against New England linebacker Chandler Jones during the 2014 training camp -- and remembers seeing a different player by season’s end. Jones has become an excellent pass rusher with 8.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hurries. “I felt I had a good feel for him,” Williams said. “But he went from good to great in such a rapid pace it’s almost scary. He’s going to be a handful.” Williams said Jones now has an array of moves. He can win with speed, but he’s shown good power, and because he maintains good flexibility and balance, he can shift from power to speed and beat a tackle inside. “He’s setting them up now,” Williams said. “You can tell he’s a student of the game because the things he’s progressing in, a lot of it is cerebral. A lot of it just has to do with growth and knowing when to use what moves and knowing the situation of the game and what to expect.”

  • The Redskins know that not everything wrong with the running game starts with the backs -- the line can help by creating better holes. But they also need to see their backs show an ability to make their own openings by causing defenders to miss. That hasn’t happened much this season and it’s an issue to watch going forward. Alfred Morris used to do a decent job of this, but hasn’t this season. And Matt Jones’ impatience causes him to miss on opportunities -- if he presses the hole better at times, for example, it leads to improved situations on the edge. And this is a guarantee: If he tries to bounce it outside too quickly vs. the Patriots, he’ll have problems. They do a good job setting the edge with their outside linebackers. Very good. Jones has the ability to make defenders miss because of his quick feet, but it hasn’t happened in a while.

  • Redskins defensive end Ricky Jean Francois was asked this week if it’s possible to give too much respect to an opponent such as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. “I don’t know about too much respect. We give respect. You have to give a quarterback like that respect. If you don’t, Tom Brady ain’t got no problem to show you he can earn your respect real quick. Yeah, we respect that guy. I played against him quite a few times and he showed me every time he’s always that top-tier quarterback he’s always been.”

  • One reason the Redskins feel good about their offense: With receiver DeSean Jackson back, they now have more players who can get open in a hurry. Jackson, along with receiver Jamison Crowder and tight end Jordan Reed, do the best job at creating separation in a hurry. It’s what the Redskins will need vs. New England. If the Patriots play man defense, the Redskins likely would be pleased. But that’s the problem. While the Patriots often play man, the Redskins know they change their emphasis week to week and are bracing for a heavy dose of either man or zone.

  • Here’s what Redskins coach Jay Gruden said about the Patriots’ defense: “They do a great job of giving you different looks -- three-man, four-man, two-man, five-man rushes. They can double certain people. They do a good job of keeping you off-balance on both sides of the ball.”

  • One thing I’ve liked about the Redskins’ locker room this season: the professional atmosphere. Too often the past two years they were way too loose and while it might not be the reason they lost games, it certainly didn’t help. This season it’s not as if they’re uptight, they’re just a little more mature and I credit the arrival of players such as Jean Francois and nose tackle Terrance Knighton among others. Friday, there was more pep than usual and while the locker room was lively afterward, it was normal. The past two years there was too much silliness.

  • Here’s what Patriots coach Bill Belichick said about Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins: “He's got good quickness in the pocket. He doesn't get sacked very often, gets rid of the ball on time. He does a good job of spreading the ball around, all the receivers and tight ends and backs. It's not like he just locks in on one guy all the time, anything like that. He's smart. It looks like the plays that they have to audible to and check based on the defensive look, I'd say just looking at it from our side of it, he usually gets the team in a good play. They go away from the strength of the defense and into the weakness where you would expect them to go, things like that. I think all those things, I've been impressed with all those things on film.” Yes, you would expect a coach to say good things about an opposing player. Regardless, Belichick went a little longer than anticipated on this answer. Remember, it was the Patriots’ staff after their joint practices with Washington in 2014 that first sounded the notion that Cousins looked better than Robert Griffin III.