Sunday at 4:15 pm, the Redskins will kick off the season against the New York Giants. Here’s all you need to know about the Skins’ first opponent:
*Giants DT Jay Alford messed up his knee and is out for the season. This doesn’t matter much to the defense, but it’ll play a pivotal role in the game. That’s because Alford was the team’s snapper for field goals. His replacement is virtually guaranteed to screw up when the pressure’s on.
*Giants DT Chris Canty, a very expensive free-agent ack from Dallas, is just now starting to practice after suffering a torn hamstring and undergoing some fancy rehab measures. He’ll be a non-factor.
*Giants DEs Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck are back and ready for action. Umenyiora suffered a season-dooming knee injury last year, and Tuck had foot problems. There’s just no way that the Skins’ OTs will be able to handle these fellows.
*Giants MLB Antonio Pierce is still slow and ineffective: Look for Cooley to burn him over the middle all afternoon long.
*Giants have arguably the worst set of wide receivers since the team’s Parcells years. Shutting them down demands practice-squad-caliber talent. Skins should rest their secondary’s starters until they face a team with real receivers. Their guys are going to be bored jogging around with the NYG wideouts on Sunday afternoon.
*Giants starting RB is Brandon Jacobs, a big guy that all the broadcasters love to praise for being a bruiser. He’s not half as effective as his backup, Ahmad Bradshaw, who’s smaller yet stronger, and much, much faster.
*QB Eli Manning had a good training camp. Which means he had a good training camp.
*Giants offensive line drew raves from many commentators, including John Madden, who called them the premier line in football. Yet they’ll be no match for the reinforced Skins defensive front. Jacobs will get nowhere.