The Green Bay Packers (0-1) and Washington Redskins (0-1) are three days away from kickoff at Lambeau Field, as both teams will look to avenge their respective Week 1 losses. The Redskins lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, 33-27, on Monday Night Football, and Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III said the team was unable to put together a complete game against their NFC East rivals.
“I’m not in the business of making excuses,” Griffin said. “We didn’t play well in the first half, we turned it on in the second, but it was too late.”
The Redskins offense recorded four turnovers in the game and the Eagles raced ahead to a 33-7 lead in the third quarter. The second-year quarterback threw two interceptions early in the game, but finished the night completing 30 of 49 passes for 329 yards and throwing two touchdowns.
“There is a difference, but you know what to expect,” Griffin said about the change from rookie to sophomore. “This team is never going to stop fighting, and that was shown on Monday Night. You don’t ever question the heart of this team, and we know we have to play better.”
The Packers lost on the road at San Francisco this past weekend, as 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick shredded Green Bay’s defense, throwing for a career-high 412 passing yards. Griffin said he understands the Packers could’ve easily won in their season opener, but the past won’t matter on Sunday.
“The bottom line is Green Bay didn’t win and we didn’t win,” Griffin said. “Both teams are hungry to win, and that is all you can worry about. We just have to get ready and prepare for them.”
The Packers defense successfully prevented Kaepernick and the 49ers’ rushing offense from making an impact in the opener, as the 49ers recorded 66 rushing yards on 28 carries. On Monday night, Griffin rushed for 24 yards on five carries against the Eagles. Despite the low rushing attempts, Griffin said he will run more or less, pending on what the Packers defense presents on Sunday.
“It depends on what the defense gives me,” Griffin said. “Certain teams will have certain plans. It is a battle of adjustments, you don’t worry about it. You just execute and move on.”
Griffin and the Redskins offensive line will have to consistently worry about All-Pro outside linebacker Clay Matthews on Sunday. Matthews, who has received criticism of being a “dirty player” after hitting Kaepernick late and out of bounds last week, recorded three tackles for loss and a sack against the 49ers.
“He is a great player,” Griffin said. “He is a talented guy that has got a motor and plays every down like it is his last, and anybody with that ability is a dangerous guy. We will be aware of him, and you always have to respect your opponent, and I have respect for him.”
The Redskins defense looked gassed defending the Philadelphia Eagles no-huddle hurry-up attack on Monday Night, while the Packers offense ran the no-huddle efficiently in San Francisco last weekend. Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan realizes the benefits and problems with the hurry-up style.
“I think some teams are able to run a successful no-huddle,” Shanahan said. “If you’re a high-tempo offense and scoring that is great, but if you’re a high-tempo offense and not getting first downs, it can put you in a heck of a hole quickly.”
Shanahan said he knows the Redskins will have a hard time defending Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson. In the season opening loss, Nelson caught seven passes for 130 yards and scored one touchdown.
“He was great,” Shanahan said about Jordy Nelson’s performance last week. “Coming back from knee surgery and playing at that level tells a lot about him as a person. He is an unselfish person who prepares well and plays very hard.”
Shanahan knows he has one of the brightest young quarterbacks in the NFL today, but he also said he has tremendous respect for Packers Super Bowl champion and MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“I admire how he handles himself as a quarterback, and how he handles other people and the class that he has,” Shanahan said. “Any time you have that kind of person with that level of talent is a dream for an organization.”
Shanahan said he knows Rodgers has the ability to terrorize opposing defensive units weekly, and the Redskins will have their hands full for all 60 minutes trying to stop or neutralize Rodgers from taking over.
“I don’t know if you do that,” Shanahan said. “You try and limit him as much as you can and keep him off balance. If he knows what you’re doing, he is very sharp. He has a quick release and good ability to make plays. As a defense you have to play very hard and be extremely sound.”
Other News and Notes: Packers tight end Jermichael Finley (toe) reportedly flew to Minnesota yesterday to receive a second opinion. Finley is expected to play for the Packers on Sunday.
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