As soon as the NFL schedule came out, Redskins fans knew Week 1 against Houston posed a very specific problem. The Texans pass rush has an established star in J.J. Watt, and added rookie Jadeveon Clowney, arguably the most fearsome defensive line prospect in a generation. Consider the Redskins struggles in pass protection, combined with Robert Griffin III's tendency to take big hits, and Jay Gruden needs to devise a plan to protect his quarterback.
The good news? Game-planning for Week 1 means the NFL is officially back. Bad news? The Redskins will be forced to alter their offense to combat Clowney and Watt.
"We have a good game plan going into Houston and it’s just a matter of us executing – me calling a good enough game to keep Robert comfortable, stay out of those second-and-longs or third-and-longs," Gruden said Monday.
The run game will be the first and primary tool to slow Watt and Clowney. A strong game from Alfred Morris will force the Texans to slow their defenders from going upfield, and could set up the play-action pass game where RG3 has excelled in the past.
Another key name for the Redskins will be Trent Williams.
One of the best tackles in the NFL, Williams will likely work individually against Watt depending how Houston shifts their d-linemen. Williams vs Watt will be a matchup fans of interior line play will salivate over, but for the Redskins, that means Clowney coming off the other edge against a player like Tyler Polumbus, who has struggled in pass protection.
The Redskins will likely try to help Polumbus against Clowney with a tight end or running back, which could mean more playing time for Logan Paulsen and Roy Helu, Washington's best blockers at those positions. It's worth noting Clowney is listed as day-to-day on the Texans injury report, and though the injury is undisclosed, it could slow him on Sunday.
What's the best way for the Redskins to protect RG3? Does RG3 need to be sure he protects himself? Can Williams hold his own against Watt? What about Clowney?
Let us know what you think in the comments.