"Behind Enemy Lines" is a Thursday post on the Access Vikings blog. In advance of Sunday's Vikings-Redskins game, Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune interviewed Mike Jones, the beat writer for the Washington Post. Here are three things you need to know ...
1 Believe the hype.
Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III is quickly emerging as a big-time difference-maker. Jones points first to Griffin's .691 completion percentage through five games, tops in the NFL. And he has one interception in 139 pass attempts.
"The way he's been able to read defenses and take care of the ball has been impressive," Jones said. "We knew of his great athleticism and knew he'd be able to make plays with his legs. But there was a question on whether he'd be dangerous right away with his arm. He ... hasn't been limited in the passing game at all.
"His teammates have embraced him. They all will tell you that even though this kid has become a star overnight, he doesn't act like it."
Griffin suffered a concussion against Atlanta last week but should start Sunday.
Said Jones: "The thing he's still learning is that in college, you could carry out some of those fakes and still make that option pitch and be OK.
"Well, in the NFL, defenders are so much faster, they're going to get to you sooner. So I think he's learning to not sell those fakes quite as hard."
2 Running back Alfred Morris has been a surprise.
In April, 11 running backs were drafted before Morris was taken in the sixth round with the No. 173 overall pick. Even the reporters in Washington saw an uphill battle for the power back out of Florida Atlantic to make the roster considering the Redskins had Tim Hightower, Roy Helu and Evan Royster in the mix.
"We were thinking Morris was a practice squad guy," Jones said.
Injury issues enabled Morris to win the starting job.
"He runs hard. He's incredibly physical. He doesn't dance around," Jones said. "He just hits the hole and drives his legs. This is a guy who squats 645 pounds. He has a ton of power, and he just doesn't mess around."
3 The defense has been hindered by injuries.
Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo was lost for the season in Week 2 with a torn pectoral muscle. Defensive end Adam Carriker also suffered a season-ending injury in that game. Strong safety Brandon Merriweather (knee) has yet to play. And safety Tanard Jackson is suspended.
The Redskins allow an average of 328.6 passing yards per game and 13 touchdowns. Plus they have only eight sacks.
With Orakpo out, Ryan Kerrigan has drawn added attention on the other side of Washington's 3-4 defense.
"Kerrigan was the Robin to Orakpo's Batman," Jones said. "But now he's having to step up and be the leading pass rusher. And that means he's the one drawing the double-teams now."
Nine-year veteran safety Madieu Williams spent three seasons with the Vikings (2008-10).
"He's a very smart guy," Jones said. "But he's still limited in pass coverage and gets beat on double moves and things like that too often."