Notebook: Will 'Skins Overlook Lions?

Where have we seen this before? The Redskins struggle with the Rams, then come to Ford Field. Lions fans see hope that their team finally can snap its losing streak.

Where have we seen this before? The Redskins struggle with the Rams, then come to Ford Field. Lions fans see hope that their team finally can snap its losing streak.

It happened last year. But the result was a 25-17 loss, the Lions' eighth straight. So what's going to happen this year? Now that the Lions have lost 19 straight games, second-worst in NFL history, can they consider the Redskins vulnerable?

"I wouldn't say they're vulnerable," said offensive tackle Jon Jansen, who spent 10 years with the Redskins before they let him go in the offseason. "They did get a win. They're 1-1. And it doesn't say they squeaked by.

"They're coming in here fired-up. They want to get above .500. And we've got to go out and prove we can beat anybody."

This was the scene last year: The Redskins lost to the previously winless Rams. They took heat at home.

"That's kind of the rumor about the Redskins, that we will play down to teams," Washington tight end Chris Cooley said in a conference call with Detroit reporters. "We're not going to underestimate Detroit."

The Redskins won at Ford Field, 25-17. They made a lot of mistakes, but the Lions made even more and blew a 10-6 halftime lead.

This is the scene now: The Redskins beat the Rams, 9-7. They're taking heat at home.

"I'm not overlooking the Lions," Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth said in a conference call with Detroit reporters. "You seen what we're doing. We scored nine points against the Rams last week. You think we're going to overlook the Lions? I think the Lions are a lot better than the Rams."

The Redskins are desperate themselves.

Coach Jim Zorn's job security has been debated on a radio station owned by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. Right guard Randy Thomas has been lost for the season with a torn triceps. Linebacker Robert Henson has created a firestorm with his use of Twitter, calling booing fans "dim wits" and questioning their right to criticize when they "work 9 to 5 at Mcdonalds (sic)."

Though the Redskins' offense has generated yards, it has struggled badly in the red zone and failed to generate points. The Redskins have scored only two touchdowns, and one was on a fake field goal.

"They've got some challenges," Jansen said. "Whether it's what's going on in the media or it's replacing a good player, I know they'll come up with some answers. And so will we."

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham is wary of the Redskins' weapons: running back Clinton Portis and receivers Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El and Malcolm Kelly.

"I know who they have," Cunningham said. "Clinton Portis, six out of seven years he gained 1,000 or more yards. The one year he didn't, he was hurt. And then with Moss and Randle El, they keep wanting to put Randle on the second team and have Kelly play, but it's hard to get a good player off the field. So they've got three or four real good receivers, a good offensive line, a veteran line that knows what they're doing.

"For whatever reason, they've kind of screwed up near the red zone, but out on the field they can move the ball as well as anybody."

Coach Jim Schwartz claims he doesn't know any secrets about how to defeat defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, the new anchor of the Redskins' defense. Schwartz and Haynesworth were together for seven years in Tennessee, before Schwartz left for Detroit and Haynesworth signed a huge deal with Washington.

"I think the reason that he got paid such a big contract is that he's a player that can do a lot of things," Schwartz said. "He can rush the passer. He can rush the passer with power. He can also rush with finesse as a 350-pound player. He's good against the run. He's good against the pass. He's been relatively healthy the last couple years. There's a reason he got the contract he did. It's because he doesn't have very many holes in his game."

SERIES HISTORY: 38th regular-season meeting. Redskins lead, 27-10. Lions have lost to the Redskins each of the past two years. At least the game isn't in Washington, where the Lions have never beaten the Redskins, 0-21 all-time.

Notebook:

  • The Lions could have five rookies starting against the Redskins: LB DeAndre Levy, quarterback Matthew Stafford, tight end Brandon Pettigrew, safety Louis Delmas and defensive tackle Sammie Hill. Aaron Brown also could play a significant role as a running back and kickoff returner. "I thought we drafted well," coach Jim Schwartz said. "We were very happy with the guys we got. We saw specific roles for them. They fit in the systems that we wanted to run. They fit the profile of what we wanted."
  • Offensive line coach George Yarno said the competition continues at left guard. Daniel Loper and Manny Ramirez split reps in practice during the week. Then the coaches decide Saturday night who will start Sunday. Yarno said the coaches consider several factors, including health, matchups and practice performance. Loper started the opener at New Orleans; Ramirez was inactive. Ramirez started Sunday against Minnesota; Loper was inactive. "It keeps everything competitive," Ramirez said. "You never know what's going to happen, so you've got to stay on your toes and make sure you do everything right."
  • Coach Jim Schwartz has a big fan in Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. They spent the previous seven years together in Tennessee, where Schwartz was defensive coordinator. "I just like him as a person, really. He's a good dude. You can joke with him. You can have fun with him. But he's serious. He knows the game. If this head coaching job is going to be anything like when he was a D coordinator, I mean, you should expect good things out of Detroit."
  • Haynesworth teased Schwartz about the Lions' head coaching job last year. "I said, 'Detroit's looking mighty attractive for you,' " Haynesworth said. "I said, 'I'm going to bet you that you're going to be the head coach there.' He's like, 'Aw, nah, nah.' " Did Schwartz ever ask Haynesworth to come with him? "I was like, 'Hell, no. There ain't nothing up there for me,' " Haynesworth said. Nothing, huh? "I told him I was joking," Haynesworth said. "I don't know if he took me seriously or not, because they didn't even call me. That defense is what I grew up on in the NFL. Maybe he took it seriously, but hell, he shouldn't have. He knows I always joke around with him."
  • Left tackle Jeff Backus took a lot of heat in Detroit after Vikings defensive end Jared Allen streaked in untouched and sacked quarterback Matthew Stafford, but Backus was not to blame. Fullback Jerome Felton was supposed to take Allen. Felton said the Lions had keyed on something all week in practice, but they went back to a previous play at that moment. He missed one word of the call in the huddle, but that made all the difference. "I was supposed to go off the back side and kind of help on that defensive end, and I fit up inside on the linebacker, because we had switched it up a little bit how we had been running it," Felton said. "I take the blame for that one."
  • Offensive tackle Jon Jansen spent 10 years with the Redskins before they let him go in the off-season. He immediately signed with the Lions, his hometown team. "I'll start off by saying, I'm extremely happy to be in Detroit," Jansen said. "Yeah, I was upset when it happened because anybody would be upset to get fired. But by the time I landed back in Michigan, I was a Detroit Lion. So the end and the way it ended up greatly outweighed how it began. I would have been a lot more bitter had I not been able to one, come home or been able to find another job at that time. But I moved on. They've moved on. It will be sweet to play against them because I played there for 10 years. I'd love to ... I'd be lying if I didn't say I would love to win."
  • BY THE NUMBERS: 19 -- Consecutive losses for the Lions, tying two teams for the second-worst losing streak in NFL history: the 1961-62 Oakland Raiders and 1942-43 and '45 Chicago Cardinals. The 1976-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 26 straight.
  • QUOTE TO NOTE: "Wow. I did." -- Coach Jim Schwartz, when a reporter laughed after he said he thought the Lions drafted well.

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