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Cardinals vs. Redskins preview: 'Jay Gruden's got a lot of work to do'

Hogs Haven answers some questions for us.

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Ron Antonelli

As we have as an SB Nation tradition, Hogs Haven and ROTB exchanged questions leading up to the game on Sunday between the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins.

answered some questions here.

Here are my questions for HunterLoganX and his responses.

ROTB: Washington has struggled as you know -- 1-4 this year and 1-12 dating back to last year. But there is some talent on both sides of the ball. How close is the team and how indicative is their record of their talent? Can they turn it around?

HH: I thought the team would max out around 7-9 this year if a lot of things went right. Then TE Jordan Reed got hurt, then NT Barry Cofield got hurt, then Robert Griffin III got hurt, then CB DeAngelo Hall got injured, and there are multiple other injuries to starters on both sides of the ball.

I hate the injury excuse for a losing season, but it exposes a bigger problem which is the lack of depth on the team.  Cousins came in and played some good games, Niles Paul stepped in and had career high numbers, Chris Baker stepped in and has played well at NT, but the depth is stretched thin everywhere and some of it is just not very good.  

My biggest issue with the team over the last few years is not making the needed upgrades/changes in the secondary and on the offensive line. The Redskins have been searching for a good safety since Sean Taylor was murdered, but they constantly dumpster dive to do it. The offensive line was built by Mike Shanahan to run the zone blocking scheme with small, quick linemen. That's great for the run, but the pass blocking is just not where it needs to be. And there is the oh so special teams that have been a disaster for the last two years. Jay Gruden's got a lot of work to do.

ROTB: Tell us about the Robert Griffin/Kirk Cousins thing. Is there really a controversy if Griffin is healthy? Do people truly think Cousins is better or a better fit? What happens once Griffin is healthy?

HH: Cousins can be a starter for some teams in the league, but he's got a lot of work to do to be consistent enough to win games. Cousins can be very effective in Jay Gruden's system, and he will have big passing days like we've seen already this year. He seems to be clicking with DeSean Jackson on the deep ball, and minus the Giants game, hasn't looked bad.

That being said, I still think this is Robert Griffin III's team, and Cousins can post 400 yards, 3+ TDs, and 0 INTs every game, but if he's not winning, it's not going to matter.  Griffin ran the offense efficiently Week 1, and then it was really opened up for him Week 2 vs the Jaguars with a few read option plays.  I don't think he returns until after the bye at the earliest, but the job is his when he returns.  Now if Cousins magically carries the team on a 5 game winning streak, Gruden will have a tougher choice to make.  But what are the chances of that happening?

ROTB: Alfred Morris hasn't cracked 100 yards  in a game yet. Why not?

HH: Everyone is Washington loves a strong running game, and Alfred Morris has been great since winning the job in training camp his rookie year. Now the Shanahans have been run out of town, but Jay Gruden has kept most of their offensive line and the zone blocking scheme.  

So why isn't he getting the yards? It's a combination of not getting the carries due to the game situations, the lack of a mobile QB, OL struggles and defenses keying in on Morris to take him out of the game. If you watched the Seahawks game on Monday, they made sure Morris was not a factor and wanted that game all on Cousins. The Seahawks run defense is also ridiculously good, so not every team is going to be able to do the same thing, and Cousins can hurt you in those situations. 

Morris is still on pace for 1,100+ yards this year, and he will break the 100-yard mark soon. Gruden just has to keep the run game going and finding ways to get Morris the ball.  He's a former QB, so there's always a way to throw your way to victory.  And he will tell you after certain games that he's got to feed Morris more.

ROTB: What is the matchup you are most excited for on Sunday? What matchup are you most afraid of?

HH: I'm really looking forward to Ryan Kerrigan and Jason Hatcher getting to Logan Thomas and causing some bad decisions.  The Redskins need their pass rush to be dominant to help a suspect secondary, and that hasn't been happening consistently.  Experienced QBs are able to avoid the rush and make quick decisions to take advantage of the gaping holes down the middle.  Thomas isn't there yet and he can get rattled early.

And on the flip side, I'm afraid of Logan Thomas continuing a long tradition of rookie(especially mobile) QBs making the Redskins look like crap.  Russell Wilson seriously exposed Washington's defense last week, and it took a while for them to adjust.  If Thomas can use his legs to torch the defense it will be a long day for them, and give him more time/opportunity to find someone open downfield.

ROTB: If you could have one Arizona Cardinals player, who would it be and why?

HH: Well I already got the Cardinals player I wanted this year in WR Andre Roberts, so I can have another one now?

I'll have to go to the secondary and take Patrick Peterson. DeAngelo Hall is out for the year, and the depth at corner is really hurting.  David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland have been starting and we have E.J. Biggers in the slot who is terrible.  I'm tempted to take a safety, but Peterson is too good to pass up here. 

Your prediction for the game:

This is a tough one to predict with Logan Thomas potentially starting.  The Cardinals are the better overall team, but the Redskins pass rush should be able to rattle Thomas and force some turnovers and bad decisions.  I think it comes down to the defenses and with Calais Campbell out too, I'll make the homer pick and go 24-21 Redskins.

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