The Washington Redskins square off with the Chicago Bears in a crucial Week 3 showdown on Monday Night Football. Here are five players to watch as the Redskins look to win their first game of the 2019 campaign.
In his first season with the Redskins, Landon Collins leads the team with 19 tackles through two games. Despite not registering an interception or sack so far, Collins has making plays both at the line of scrimmage and in the secondary. A versatile safety, Collins is placed all over the field and is one of the leaders of the defense in the secondary alongside Josh Norman.
The Bears offense is often at its best when running back Tarik Cohen is heavily involved, and Collins will most-likely shadow Cohen all game long. In addition, Collins will surely come down and help support the linebackers and defensive linemen in the run game.
When assessing the performance of Montez Sweat, who recorded tackles sacks and zero sacks in his first two NFL games, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky made sure to add an important modifier. "Any young guy that comes into the league, they're used to offensive tackles," Manusky said earlier this week. "They're not used to Pro Bowl tackles.
Sweat's NFL debut came against nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters of the Philadelphia Eagles. In his second game, he faced off against Dallas Cowboys six-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith. Not many players, rookies or otherwise, would have much success against those two offensive linemen
Still, the Redskins coaching staff has identified where Sweat needs to be better. Manusky pointed to his get off at the line of scrimmage, his angle to the quarterback and his ability to win 1-on-1 matchups. Head coach Jay Gruden mentioned similar areas of improvement before adding, "He's got some length, got some speed, we know that. Now we just got to figure out a way to let him utilize it a little bit better. Hopefully that'll happen here soon."
Sweat's latest chance to showcase his first-round potential comes Monday night against Bears left tackle Charles Leno Jr., who made his first Pro Bowl appearance last season.
The Redskins offensive line has been a talking point all week long, and right tackle Morgan Moses has the toughest matchup of anyone having to face off against Khalil Mack.
Not anticipating any help from his teammates, Moses is locked in on doing his job and preventing Mack from pressuring Case Keenum. With another day of preparation, Moses using the extra time to continue refining his technique for what he knows will be a difficult matchup from the first snap to the last.
As a unit, the offensive line has only given up two sacks, and a strong game from Moses will continue that trend Monday night. Setting the tone early and generating some explosive plays in the run game will be important for Moses and the offensive line early on.
After missing the first two games of the season with an ankle injury, Fabian Moreau is slated to make his 2019 debut against the Bears on Monday night.
Having given up three 50-plus-yard touchdowns through two games, the Redskins secondary will be very happy to welcome back another familiar face on the back end. A starter in 2018, Moreau knows defensive coordinator Greg Manusky's defense and will look to make a big impact Monday night.
With Quinton Dunbar's status unknown for the game, Moreau will need to step up in a bigger role to help the Redskins defense. Chicago has several speedy weapons on the outside including Allen Robinson and Cordarelle Patterson, presenting Moreau with a difficult task in his 2019 debut. Expect Moreau to come out and play with a lot of energy and physicality after not playing in a regular season game for nearly nine months.
With just seven receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown through two games, veteran speedster Paul Richardson has yet to showcase his full potential in an offense filled with new skill players. He's been overshadowed by another deep threat, third-round rookie Terry McLaurin. McLaurin has caught 10 passes for 187 yards and a pair of scores.
Richardson's lack of production is not a cause for concern, however. Offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell said as much in his press conference Friday, noting that the Redskins have not run enough plays to adequately split up the receptions. With more offensive volume will bring more work for Richardson.
"Paul has been great. Both [Richardson] and [McLaurin] are flying down the field, putting stress on the defense," O'Connell said. "A lot of what Terry has been able to accomplish is because of Paul doing his job really, really well on the other side."