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Redskins-Giants: 4 Keys To the Game

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Redskins.com looks at four key players to keep an eye on during Sunday's Redskins-Giants game at FedExField.

"Redskins-Giants: 4 Keys To the Game" is presented by Papa John's.

Every Monday, fans can order a large cheese pizza for only $9.99, plus for each touchdown that the Redskins score, fans get one free topping. And with a Redskins victory, fans get double the toppings.

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PROTECT THE BALL, REX

Grossman started against the Giants in the Redskins' finale last season and he turned the ball over three times, once on an interception and twice on fumbles. Turnovers have been a problem Grossman's entire career – he has 40 interceptions and 14 fumbles.

Grossman knows he needs to be smart with the football, especially against an opportunistic Giants team that led the NFL with 39 turnovers (16 interceptions, 23 fumble recoveries) last season.

Last week, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan emphasized that Grossman must remember to protect the football in the face of pressure and not force throws into coverage.

WILLIAMS' IMPROVEMENT

In training camp and preseason, Williams showed he has made strides from his rookie year. He showed improved footwork, hand placement and balance, especially against speed rushers that gave him trouble last season.

Sunday is Williams' first test to show what he learned last offseason. Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who had two sacks vs. Williams and the Redskins in the season finale last year, is sidelined with a knee injury.

Instead Williams will match up against second-year defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who also logged two sacks against the Redskins last year. Pierre-Paul has quickness and a large wingspan, so Williams faces a challenge.

COFIELD vs. GIANTS

Cofield has provided a steadying presence on the Redskins' new-look defensive line. He is transitioning to nose tackle after playing defensive tackle for the Giants the last six years.

Cofield brings brute strength and a forceful mentality that was lacking at the position last year. Plus he'll be motivated to play against his former team. If he can get a strong push up the middle, it could go a long way toward disrupting the Giants' run game.

Cofield has matched up against Giants center David Baas and guards David Diehl and Chris Snee in practice the last few years. They should know each other's strengths and weaknesses and the ensuing chess game among them should be interesting to watch.

KERRIGAN'S TRANSITION

Kerrigan is making his regular season debut after recording two sacks in the preseason. Looks like transitioning to outside linebacker (from defensive end in college) won't be too difficult for the Redskins' first-round draft pick.

Not so fast, says defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. Kerrigan remains a work in progress and he's going to be learning on the job the first month of the season.

Pass-rushing is his specialty and he'll diversify his moves as time goes on. The Giants could test his coverage skills by matching him up with a tight end. If Kerrigan makes a mistake, he'll make it full-speed, Haslett says.

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