As the Washington Redskins get set to begin their 2012 regular season at 1 p.m. ET today against the Saints in New Orleans, here's one reason for Redskins fans to feel good and one reason for concern:
Feeling good: If the Redskins have any chance to slow down Drew Brees and the Saints' offense, it's by getting consistent and ferocious pressure on Brees. They're hurting in the secondary with a couple of safeties out, and if they give Brees time he can pick them apart. But their front seven does appear to be very good at generating pressure, and not only with outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will try to throw as many different looks at Brees as possible, with blitzes and stunts and whatever tricks he can think of to try to get his defense through the New Orleans offensive line and be disruptive.
Cause for concern: The flip side is, of course, that when they don't get that pressure, Brees will have no trouble finding receivers open downfield against the Redskins' secondary. But I think the biggest concern for Washington is big New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham. I just can't see any way they can cover him. They've been using DeAngelo Hall as a slot corner for much of the summer, but if he's on Graham that's the biggest mismatch of the game in either direction. They may have to use one of their bigger, more physical corners such as Cedric Griffin on Graham, and whoever it is will require help from that depleted safety corps. If they can find a way to cover Graham, the Redskins will have to feel as though they accomplished something on defense.