Five questions facing the Redskins heading into Week 8

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Photo - Larry French/Getty Images
London Fletcher has played in 231 consecutive games but is questionable for Sunday.
Larry French/Getty Images London Fletcher has played in 231 consecutive games but is questionable for Sunday.
Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

1. Can they fix the secondary? That will be difficult considering there aren't a lot of speedy, Pro Bowl quality safeties still available. They've done fine in spurts the past few weeks, but big plays at key times always seem to occur and every quarterback attacks them. And it's not just one player always in the wrong. Word of warning: Week 8 opponent Pittsburgh can attack downfield as well.

2. Are the defensive coaches to blame? When you surrender big plays every game, everyone is to blame. So anyone who is getting heat deserves their share, including the coaches. There are issues all around. The Redskins were applauded when they signed secondary coach Raheem Morris. Here are the facts: Washington ranked 12th last year vs. the pass and is now 32nd. They allowed 58 pass plays of 20 yards or more in 16 games and already are at 29. They've allowed seven pass plays for 40 or more yards, two shy of 2011. This isn't on one guy, however. At some point, the players must make plays.

3. How much does Chris Cooley have left? Cooley never was fast and after two leg injuries in three seasons, it's natural to think he's lost a step. But keep in mind that Logan Paulsen's best time in the 40-yard dash before the 2010 draft was 4.78 seconds. He's not fast. Yet he was getting consistently free vs. the Giants. Why? Because the offense fools defenses enough to get players open on certain routes.

4. Will London Fletcher play? His status after a slight hamstring pull won't be determined until later in the week. Fletcher isn't having a Pro Bowl season, but he's still an important part of the defense because of his knowledge and leadership. Lorenzo Alexander was solid in his place during the fourth quarter Sunday.

5. What's going on with linebacker Ryan Kerrigan? He's been too quiet as a pass rusher the past two games. With a struggling secondary, one way to help is with more pressure. But Kerrigan has been silent in this area the past two games. He's been stopped on straight one-on-one rushes. His best pressure has come on stunts or when in a four-point stance.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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