ARKUSH: Bears have more playmakers than Redskins
The Washington Redskins are 1-4, have one of the worst defenses in the NFL and, while they pile up yards on offense, they’re not particularly good at scoring points.
Like the Bears, they struggle with time of possession. But unlike the Bears, other than Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris, they don’t have many players who scare you.
Perhaps none is the complete package, but Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett all are players the opposition has to scheme for because they know they can beat them.
Griffin and Morris were those guys last year as rookies, but they haven’t been to date this year. Offensively for the ’Skins, that’s it.
Pierre Garcon is their leading receiver, but he’s really just an average wideout who drops too many balls. Santana Moss was one of those guys for a number of years, but these days he’s just another target. Leonard Hankerson, Jordan Reed, Josh Morgan, Logan Paulsen, Fred Davis ... OK, but most teams can handle them.
That group collectively has piled up some yardage, it just hasn’t had the igniter to allow them to make a difference. If RGIII and/or Morris suddenly become that guy/igniter again, as they were last year, then the Bears could have big problems on their hands.
Defensively, Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and DeAngelo Hall at times will remind you of the Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Julius Peppers we once knew. The last time these clubs met, Hall picked off Cutler four times. But, most of the time, they’ll remind you of the Bears defense we’ve come to know this year.
With just a few great players, they’ve been getting pushed all over the field and leaving the ’Skins needing to get into a shootout and have the ball last to win.
Worse than 1-4, the only loss the Redskins really were competitive in was to the Lions. The Eagles, Packers and Cowboys games were not as close as the scores indicate.
Washington’s one win was on the road, but beating Oakland anywhere is hardly something to build a season on.
Sunday’s game will be the first time the ’Skins have played at home since Sept. 22, against the Lions, and that was the one loss the Redskins were competitive in. In fact, they would have won were it not for a bushel full of mental errors, which is unusual for a Mike Shanahan-coached team.
What the Bears have to worry about is whether Griffin finds himself and brings Morris along for the ride. Griffin was a Pro Bowl quarterback last year with a 102.4 passer rating, 20 touchdowns, five interceptions and 120 rushes for 815 yards.
Today, his passer rating is 21 percent lower at 80.4 and he’s on pace to rush for only 480 yards. He’s thrown only six touchdowns and has yet to score on the ground.
Of course, a great deal of the falloff is because of his rehab from the torn ACL he suffered in the ’Skins wild-card game last season.
He did look as explosive on the ground last week in Dallas as he has all season.
Perhaps Griffin’s woes have allowed defenses to take away Morris, who rushed for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns last year but is on pace for 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
The Bears’ biggest concern should be the ’Skins’ pass rush, which is seventh in the NFL right now with 16 sacks. Although the Bears have been good protecting Cutler, if the ’Skins force them to struggle, it could disrupt the flow of the offense and lead to turnovers like the last time these two met.
In addition to Orakpo and Kerrigan, the Bears guards will have to account for Barry Cofield, the Northwestern alum who’s having a big year on the nose.
That said, this appears to be a good matchup for the Bears. If both clubs play to their 2013 form, they should go to the bye at 5-2.
• Hub Arkush covers the
Bears for Shaw Media and
HubArkush.com. Write to him