With the San Francisco 49ers visiting the Washington Redskins in Week 7, Niner Noise went behind the scenes with FanSided’s Riggo’s Rag to preview this road contest.
The San Francisco 49ers will look to keep their 2019 undefeated record intact in Week 7, as they prepare for a road bout with the 1-5 Washington Redskins this upcoming Sunday.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan will look to get some revenge on his former employer during the game, something he failed to do back when the Niners visited Washington during Shanahan’s first year as San Francisco’s head coach.
On paper, this contest looks like a pushover from the 49ers’ vantage point. They retain a top-five offense and defense heading into the game, while the Redskins are still dealing with the aftermath of firing head coach Jay Gruden and are at the bottom in standings, both offensively and defensively.
Yet these are the kinds of games which can be dangerous for a team like San Francisco.
So, to preview this bout, Niner Noise extended into our FanSided family, chatting with Redskins fan site, Riggo’s Rag, and site expert Ian Cummings.
Let’s see what our friend over at Riggo’s Rag had to say about the situation in Washington and what’s on tap for Week 7.
NN: The Redskins have undergone a lot of turmoil this season, culminating in the firing of head coach Jay Gruden. Rather than agreeing or disagreeing with the move, what do you think needs to change in Washington to establish some sort of stability with the franchise?
"RR: We can go all over the place with different head coach candidates and different scenarios past this season, but if Washington is going to change for good, and establish any sort of stability, the front office has to be re-imagined in a major way. Owner Dan Snyder, the root of much of the team’s recent drama, isn’t selling the team any time soon, but he can take a step in the right direction by relieving, or reassigning team president Bruce Allen.A structure is currently in place that is severely detrimental to team building and culture development, and until that structure changes, nothing else will."
NN: Quarterback Dwayne Haskins’ introduction to the pro level didn’t go too well. But considering Washington’s issues under center, do you think it wise to keep Haskins on the bench until 2020 when the Redskins get their coaching staff figured out for next year?
"RR: I do and I don’t. I don’t think Haskins will lead the team to any success until the future staff is figured out. But I think there are things Haskins can gain from getting the experience now. He responded positively to reps in preseason, and I think with more preparation and confidence imbued in him by the coaching staff, he could gain a lot from playing and immersing himself in the pace of the NFL.If I’m making the decision, I would have started him last week against the Dolphins, and stuck with him through the lumps. After all, the season is lost anyway. The Redskins need to shift their focus to long-term development either way."
NN: A lot of outsiders feel the 49ers aren’t for real this season despite the 5-0 start. Do you feel the thought “they haven’t played anyone yet” matters, or are you convinced San Francisco is good enough a team to contend for a deep run in the playoffs?
"RR: I’m convinced, personally. They’ve beat every team besides the Steelers by at least two scores. I was one of the ones before the season who was tempted to give them a legitimate shot in the NFC West, when so many people crowned the Rams from the get go. I ended up succumbing to the noise, but this 49ers team has always had the talent, and Shanahan’s scheme is a work of art. They’ve dealt with a lot of injuries and roster instability in recent years, so I had a feeling that once they got a decent stroke of luck, this 49ers team would take off. I didn’t expect them to be this good, though."
NN: What Redskins players do you feel Niners fans should pay attention to this game and for the rest of the season? Who are the names impressing enough in what otherwise has been a frustrating season?
"RR: A lot of guys get lost in the losing, but there have been some genuine breakout players on the Redskins 1-5 squad. Josh Norman gets all the publicity at cornerback, but Quinton Dunbar has very quietly been playing at an elite level opposite from Norman. He has three interceptions in four games, and he’s allowing a passer rating of just 37.5. He’s the team’s best cornerback, and it isn’t close.Also, ever heard of Ereck Flowers, the Giants’ former first-round bust at tackle? He’s reinvented himself at left guard in Washington, and he’s actually played fairly well. The 49ers interior will be a big test for him, but his first six weeks in D.C. have reassured onlookers that he’ll put up a fight."
NN: Give one or two specific matchups for this Sunday’s contest you think will be vital for each team’s chances of winning.
"RR: Terry McLaurin versus Richard Sherman is one of the most pivotal matchups out there. McLaurin is the Redskins offense’s only dynamic weapon, and whenever they’ve produced this season, he’s been the key factor. Sherman’s playing close to his peak level right now, but could he get caught off guard by McLaurin’s speed and uncharacteristic route-running nuance? That’ll be interesting to see.On the other side of the ball, how Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat will fare against San Francisco’s backup tackle duo is a spectacle worth watching. Kerrigan and Sweat haven’t been as consistently disruptive as some expected. But if they can get pressure against the 49ers, they could help make the game a little closer than it’s supposed to be."
Shanahan hasn’t had much success as a head coach on the East Coast during his tenure, although his two wins in the Eastern Time Zone (Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals) have both come this season.
Could Week 7 be the next installment?
The 49ers and Redskins kick off on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. ET from FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.