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Imposing Their Will And Controlling The Clock: How The Redskins' Offense Can Slow Down Aaron Rodgers


The Redskins will continue to make the running game an integral part of their offense despite playing at Lambeau Field with hostile conditions.

This week brings a new challenge: facing off against a talented defense and Aaron Rodgers, one of the league's best signal callers. Coming off a season-high 248 rushing yards against the Carolina Panthers, the Redskins will look to duplicate that success Sunday.

"When you're playing against a quarterback like this and really a defense like this -- I mean, that secondary and their pass rush and what they want to do defensively -- we've got to make sure we try to impose our will a little early on in the game with whatever the conditions may be," said offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell.

Second-year running back Derrius Guice headlined the burgundy and gold rushing attack against Carolina with a career-high 129 yards and two touchdowns. He demonstrated both exquisite patience and power, setting up his blocks and bulldozing over Panthers defenders. Thirteen-year veteran Adrian Peterson also was impressive with 13 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown. Chris Thompson also helped add versatility to the Redskins' backfield.

Controlling the clock will be paramount when they face off against Rodgers and the Packers offense. One of the best ways to slow down Rodgers will be dictating the pace and limiting his time on the field. Although he has confidence in the defense and its ability to slow down Rodgers, Peterson knows how important limiting his time on the field will be.

"Yeah, definitely [put] emphasis on that, limiting [Rodgers'] opportunities is going to be big for us," Peterson said.

The Packers are eighth in time of possession (31 minutes, 14 seconds) and have won the possession battle in nine of their 12 games this season. Dictating the pace and tempo has served as a winning formula for the Packers. Rodgers spearheads a balanced Packers' offense that has showcased the ability to beat opposing defenses both through the air and on the ground.

Since taking over in Week 6, interim head coach Bill Callahan has emphasized the run heavily, and it has become a focal point of O'Connell's game plan. The Redskins are averaging 21.7 rushing attempts per game, which is 29th in the NFL. But with Callahan leading the team, that number has increased to 24.6.

"We make no bones about it," Callahan explained. "We want to run the ball just like anybody else does."

The Packers defense has struggled all year long defending the run. Green Bay is allowing an average of 123 yards per game on the ground (25th), and has given up three 100-yard rushers this season.

Coming off their best performance of the season, the Redskins' offensive line will look to build on that success against one of the NFL's weaker run defenses.

"We just focused on it. That's what we did all practice was focus on the backside of our run game and the frontside of our gap scheme and it paid off," guard Brandon Scherff said.

Take a look at practice photos from Thursday's practice for the upcoming game.

Converting on third down will also be extremely important to keep Rodgers off the field. Struggling in those scenarios will only inspire the crowd at Lambeau Field to get louder and try to provide Rodgers with another opportunity to strike. He doesn't need much time to make big plays, and he's showed that throughout his career.

"Third down is gonna be really huge for us, being able to keep the chains moving and drain the clock," Peterson said.

Last week against the Panthers, the Redskins got into an early 14-0 deficit but still stuck to the running game. While the burgundy and gold will be looking to avoid an early deficit, running the ball and setting the tone will still be a focal point.

"We've had some success in more games than others, but we stick to the run," O'Connell said. "That's what we want to do, and it's my job to make sure that I'm building things around the run game."

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