Friday, October 29, 2010 6:00 AM
By Rich Tandler
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What should Redskins fans be prepared for when Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford takes snaps for the first time since Week 1? Is monster rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh a player that the Redskins should fear at this point? Did last years Lions win over the Redskins give Detroit fans confidence that they can make it two in a row over Washington? To answer these and other questions, we turned to Sean Yullie from The Pride of Detroit, SB Nations fine Lions blog. Sean was good enough to take some time to answer our questions about Sundays opponent. Thank, Sean, for your insights and any Redskins fans who want some more intel on the Lions should go visit The Pride of Detroit. CSNwashingtonMatthew Stafford is coming back after being out with an injury since opening day. What are the expectations for him this week? Assuming he plays to his normal level, what does he do particularly well and what is a weakness that the Redskins could exploit? Sean YuilleThe expectations for Stafford vary depending on who you ask. Some expect him to step right in and play as if he missed no time at all, which I think is unfair to Stafford. Although he's had a bye week on top of this week of practice to get ready for his return on Sunday, I think he will take some time to get back into the full swing of things. After all, it's not like he played a few games before his injury; he was on the field for less than a half. So not only is Stafford playing in his first game after an injury, but really this is like his first game of the 2010 season. In that sense, my expectations are not all that high; as I think it will take at least a quarter or two to get in rhythm with everyone. If Stafford plays to his normal level, what we should hopefully see is the Lions open up the playbook. He's got many weapons around him, including Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Nate Burleson, Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew, and if he is given the green light, he should be able to sling the ball around quite a bit, both down the field and underneath. One weakness that I could see the 'Skins exploiting is if Stafford's timing is a bit off with his receivers, which could hamper the notion of slinging the ball around. He spent the offseason getting on the same page with Calvin Johnson, but will this extended time off affect their timing negatively? It's possible, although I don't anticipate DeAngelo Hall getting four picks or anything like that as a result of them not being on the same page. CSNNdamukong Suh was one of my favorite players at the combine, both in terms of talent and as a person. Almost midway through his rookie season, how is he playing? What does he do well and what does he have to learn? SYSuh has lived up to and exceeded his hype, which is saying something considering he was the second overall pick. He draws double teams, gets to the quarterback, stuffs the middle and in general plays a dominant style of football, which is a bit surprising for a rookie defensive tackle. He has done a very nice job of making plays despite offenses keying in on him, and hopefully that will continue as the season goes on. One thing Suh does need to do a bit better job of is avoiding penalties. His aggressiveness is part of what makes him such a great player, but at the same time, you have to make sure you're not taking bad penalties by hitting the quarterback in the head, even if it seems like a weak call. Against Minnesota there was a fumble negated because Suh got a penalty on Brett Favre, and he got a bad hands to the face call against the Giants a couple weeks ago that extended a drive. That is the one area where he has room for improvement. CSNGive me a quick scouting report on the Lions offensive line. SYThis is probably the best Lions offensive line we've seen in years. Jeff Backus, though he often receives a lot of criticism, has played fairly well at left tackle. Next to him at left guard is Rob Sims, who was acquired in the offseason and has already earned an extension. Dominic Raiola plays at center and has been there for the last decade. Next to him at right guard is Stephen Peterman, who seems to be good for at least one or two dumb penalties a game. He can be very good, but he has struggled this year, in part because of the penalties. Book-ending the right side of the line is Gosder Cherilus, who seems to finally be living up to being a first-round pick. CSNWhen the Redskins were looking for a coach in 2008, Jim Schwartz was one of the first people that they interviewed. Are Lions fans generally happy with him so far? What are your impressions of him as a motivator, game planner, and game manager? SYAlthough his record has been pretty bad, fans think pretty highly of Schwartz. As all coaches in his situation, he has his detractors, but the majority of fans like him quite a bit, both because they think he will be the man to turn this franchise around and because of his personality. He has a very down-to-earth attitude and seems like someone you could have a beer with, which is a big difference from someone like Rod Marinelli, the Lions' previous head coach. CSNWhat are the expectations of Lions fans this week? The win that broke the 0-19 string certainly fresh in the minds of Redskins fans. Is this a game that Lions fans expect to win? Or is there recognition that the Redskins are a different team this year with Mike Shanahan in charge? SYI think a lot of people don't seem to realize that the 2010 edition of the Redskins can't really be compared to the 2009 version. Many fans are expecting a victory simply because the Lions won last year. Others that expect the Lions to win do realize that the Redskins are much improved, but they still think Detroit will pull out a victory on Sunday. In general, the Lions have a pretty optimistic fan base, so regardless of the Redskins' changes from 2009 to 2010; it's not surprising a lot of people think Detroit will win. CSNWho is going to win and why? SYI think this will be a close game that the Redskins ultimately win. As much as I'd like to say that the Lions will come out of the bye week with a win, setting the tone for a good second half of the season, I think there will be some growing pains on offense that will allow Washington to jump out to a two-touchdown lead. The Lions won't give up, just as they haven't given up in any game this season, but I believe the 'Skins will hold on for a victory.Redskins blogger Rich Tandler answered some questions over at the Pride of Detroit. You can find that exchange here.