Key Player Match-Ups

Game Day

The 2-5 Redskins limp into Detroit needing a victory. The Lions much improved play this season has staked them to a 4-3 start and they will be looking to stay in their respective division hunt with a win this week at their home field. Here are some of the key player match-ups:

Derrick Dockery vs Shaun Rogers
By Scott Hurrey

Shaun Rogers is one of the league’s best young defensive tackles, and also one of the biggest at 6’4”/ 345 lbs. After leading the league in tackles by a defensive lineman at 97 in his rookie season, Rogers, dubbed “Bib Baby” by his teammates, was looked at by some as a force to be reckoned with. The 2002 season wasn’t his best, but in 2003, Rogers had a break out season that has carried over into 2004.

So far this season, Rogers has recorded 4 sacks (tied for the lead league in sacks by a defensive tackle), 32 tackles, a blocked field goal and a fumble recovery. In week 7 against the New York Giants, Rogers recorded 4 tackles. 1 sack and 1 pass defended earning NFC Player of the Week honors for the first time in his young career.

Derrick Dockery is also no slouch when it comes to sheer size. Dockery is listed at 6’6” / 345 lbs. Dockery was thrust into action last season, when Dave Fiore shut down his season early due to a nagging knee injury. He has shown improvement in every game, especially since the return of Coach Joe Bugel.

This season, the Dirtbags have had good and bad moments, but they continue to get better with each game they play together. So far on the season, the team has allowed 17 sacks, and blocked for the fourth-best rushing attack in the NFC.

This battle of the Longhorns — both men hail from the University of Texas – should prove to be one worth watching. Both men are mammoths and the sheer power on display will be breath taking. To win this battle, one of these men will need to do so with technique. Neither man can count on overpowering his opponent.

Last week, Dockery struggled a bit guarding Cletidus Hunt. With Grady Jackson demanding a double team next to Hunt, Dockery wasn’t able to rely on his line mates to help him. This week, “Big Daddy” Dan Wilkinson will be the other tackle, meaning that Dockery will likely get help from Cory Raymer on big passing downs. During the week three matchup with the Cowboys, Dockery was able to keep La’Roi Glover in check for most of the game. If that Dockery shows up on Sunday, this could make for an exciting battle.

Advantage: Shaun Rogers

Laveranues Coles vs Dre Bly
By Mark Solway

It has been a tough season for anyone on the Redskins’ offense to date… including Laveranues Coles. Washington has not managed to put up more than 18 points in a game yet this year. Considering that, it’s not really all that surprising that Coles himself is also off to a slow start.

Coles leads the Redskins in almost all receiving categories regardless. His 38 catches are 12 more than Rod Gardner’s and his 452 yards are about 70 yards more than Gardner; however, his yards per catch are only 12 yards (Gardner – 14.7) and Coles has yet to register a touchdown in 2004 (Gardner has 5 TD catches).

This week, Coles will line up against Dre Bly more often than not. Bly is one of the most talented cornerbacks in all of football and as such, usually draws the assignment of the opposition’s top receiver. Bly has already logged two interceptions this year, including one that he returned for a touchdown. His speed allows him to stay step-for-step with almost anybody and his blanket coverage often means the opposition look away from Bly’s side of the field.

With Washington’s offense struggling mightily at the moment, don’t expect Sunday to be their ‘breakout’ game. But expect them to try.

Detroit’s defense is exceptional against the run and will make it difficult for Clinton Portis all day. The Redskins must have some success throwing the ball if they are going to have any success moving the ball. Obviously a lot of that load has to fall on the #1 receiver. Look for Coles to get his catches all day long, but don’t expect him to get his first TD of the year. Coles will inevitably get open for short gains and make possession type grabs because of his toughness, but it will be difficult for him to actually get behind Bly. Expect somewhere in the range of 7 catches for 90 yards for Coles, but it will be a moral victory for Bly if he can keep #80 off the score sheet.

Advantage – Bly

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Game Day Staff

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