For all of the criticism that the 2-5 Redskins have taken this season, a look at some statistics might indicate a closer comparison to the Falcons than one would originally think.
The Redskins rank 28th in scoring at 13.7 points per game, but you'd never guess which team's quarterback has the higher rating and has thrown fewer interceptions. If you guessed the former Auburn quarterback, you're right. Jason Campbell's rating is 85.8 to Matt Ryan's 82.4. Campbell has eight touchdowns and seven interceptions while Ryan has 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Yet the Redskins lost to winless teams on three different occasions and in one of those, a 14-6 loss to Kansas City, Redskins Head Coach Jim Zorn removed Campbell from the game in the second half because of his lack of effectiveness.
It's hard to envision a situation in which the same would happen to Ryan. Nonetheless, his seven interceptions in the last three games are alarming. He will surely face plenty of questions today during his media availability. One thing I want to know: Does Ryan believe in the concept of a "bad year" and is he having one?
On Monday, Smith said that Michael Turner had reviewed old tapes of himself when he was running well as a sort of self-evaluation. Then Turner broke out with a huge 151-yard game against a good Saints defense. I'm curious to hear from Turner what he saw in himself on those tapes and how that helped him.
Washington has the 22nd-ranked rushing defense in the NFL, but the second against the pass. Defensive end Andre Carter has 6.5 sacks and rookie end/linebacker Brian Orakpo has 3.0 and seems to play both positions. I'd like to hear from Smith as to how the Redskins use Orakpo in their scheme and his concerns about protecting Ryan.
Here's another startling statistic to me: Opponents are running the ball 30.4 times per game against the Redskins. That's the seventh-most in the NFL. I don't think it takes a stretch of the imagination to realize that the Falcons, who ranked second in the NFL last season in rushing attempts per game, are going to show the Redskins a healthy dose of Turner.
If there's a reason why the Redskins have been torched in the press, it's probably because of the image of a team that beats itself. They lead the league with 20 fumbles, although they have only lost eight. They also are minus-8 in the turnover ratio while the Falcons are plus-5.
So as we saw from Coy Wire and Thomas DeCoud last week, it will be incumbent on the Falcons to create turnovers. That's always part of the Falcons' game plan.