Good day, Who Dats and the EOSB legion.
It’s time again for that one thing I know you all can’t wait for each week. In fact, you probably wake up early on Friday morning’s because you know it’s coming.
View from the Other Side is back and this week, we welcome in David Elfin (Twitter: @DavidElfin), who is the web site columnist for 106.7TheFan in Washington, his hometown. David first covered the Redskins for The Washington Times in 1989 and returned to the beat in 1993 after three years covering the Capitals.
He was President of the Pro Football Writers of America from 2005-07 and serves as the Washington representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee for which he played a pivotal role in the elections of former Redskins Art Monk and Darrell Green (2008), Russ Grimm (2010) and Chris Hanburger (2011). David has written seven books, five on the Redskins, including "Washington Redskins: The Complete Illustrated History (2011).
Please give your undivided attention to David, who was kind enough to answer questions this week.
WWLTV.com: The last time a rookie quarterback faced the Saints in Week 1, New Orleans confused and battered Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who threw three interceptions. Will Robert Griffin III show the same rookie tendencies that hurt Stafford or has he shown in preseason the ability to play above his rookie status?
David Elfin: “Griffin only threw 31 passes in his three preseason games (Washington coach Mike Shanahan didn't play his starters in the finale). However, he had a passer rating of 103.3 and didn't have an interception. Griffin doesn't have a superstar target as Stafford did in Calvin Johnson, but his surrounding cast and defense are better. I'm not sure if New Orleans' defense is as good as it was then, either, but the Superdome crowd and the fired-up Saints in the first post-Bountygate game figure to make Sunday not too sweet for RGIII.”
WWLTV.com: The Redskins have had some issues with health at running back this preseason. Who will get the bulk of the carries for Washington?
DE: “Health isn't a big concern at this point. RGIII seemed to hint on Wednesday that rookie Alfred Morris, who's more of a power back, will start. Shanahan says he won't decide until Sunday between Morris, speedy Roy Helu (100+ yards in three of his five starts as a rookie in 2011) and slasher Evan Royster (100+ yards in both his starts as a rookie in 2011). Look for Shanahan to use all three backs until someone establishes a hot hand, make that hot legs.”
WWLTV.com: Jim Haslett helped the Redskins defense improve from Year 1 to Year 2 in the Mike Shanahan era. How much better can Washington’s defense get in Year 3?
DE: “Haslett's defense can be better because 2011 newcomers Ryan Kerrigan, Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield and Josh Wilson didn't have an offseason to learn the 3-4 scheme because of the NFL lockout. All are back along everyone else who finished last year as starters.”
WWLTV.com: How do you expect Washington to defend against Saints TE Jimmy Graham, RB Darren Sproles and WR Marques Colston?
DE: “Graham, because of his size and speed, and Sproles, because of his quickness, are very tough matchups for linebackers or safeties. At least defenses are used to seeing receivers like Colston a regular basis. Like most teams, the Redskins figure to be in for a long afternoon against the Saints' offense.”
WWLTV.com: When all is said and done, how much will the Washington Redskins have improved in 2012 and will they contend for a playoff spot in the tough NFC East?
DE: “The Redskins are better because they have a better player at the most important position, quarterback, where Heisman Trophy winner Griffin has replaced veteran Rex Grossman, a turnover machine. However, Washington has questions on the offensive line, at running back and in the secondary. The Redskins also have a tough schedule with their six NFC East games, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Look for Washington to finish last in the division again at 6-10 before making true progress in 2013.”
--Bradley Handwerger, WWLTV.com