Equipped with a quick release, the Redskins want to make sure they finish any pressure they send on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr in this Sunday's game.
For the Oakland Raiders, 2014 may have well been a century ago.
That season, then-rookie quarterback Derek Carr started his season 0-10 before finishing 3-13. The Raiders seemed doomed for many years of mediocrity with little hope in sight. That's when Carr turned things around.
Oakland's wins more than doubled in 2015, then in 2016 the team shot out the gate, posting a 12-4 record. The Raiders seemed like favorites to reach the AFC Championship Game before Carr went down with an injury and Oakland's dreams of a Super Bowl came crashing down.
In 2017, Carr has showed no signs of regression and looks even more dangerous than last season, where he threw for 3,937 yards and 28 touchdowns compared to six interceptions. He has only been helped by the team's addition of offensive weapons. The Raiders drafted Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper in 2015 and added veteran receiver Michael Crabtree that same year.
With the 2017 season still very young, Carr and Co. looks just as good as a year before, starting 2-0 with a meeting with the Washington Redskins looming on the horizon. Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said there were not many weaknesses on the Raiders' offense that his team could pinpoint.
"There's nothing they're not doing well. They can throw it, they can run it, so there you have it," Gruden said. "They have a big, powerful offensive line. They have a couple tight ends that can come in and maul you. They have great play actions and their receivers can get down the field. And Derek [Carr] does an unbelievable job at giving them opportunity balls and they come down with the majority of them, so our defensive backs will be challenged."
Carr has yet to throw an interception this season and already has five touchdowns under his belt. He also has the league's fastest release time after the snap, usually finding an open receiver in 1.97 seconds. Gruden said that can be frustrating for pass rushers and that the front seven needs hit Carr if they want to get in his head.
Despite the impressive passing stats, Oakland's offense is far from one-dimensional. The Raiders signed Oakland native Marshawn Lynch to be one of their two featured running backs. With "Beast Mode" in the backfield, defenses have had trouble stopping this dynamic offense.
Redskins linebacker Mason Foster said it all comes to down the game plan.
"We've got great coaches, so I know they're going to have certain little things that you can do to alleviate the pressure off certain people in certain situations and let them go play," Foster said. "Really, we've got to execute and trust the process. We're going to have a great plan coming in, so you've just got to work on it throughout the week and get ready for Sunday."
Foster, who suffered an injury in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams, has been slow to recover and may not see the field on Sunday. This would come as a great loss to the Redskins' defense; Foster sealed the victory for Washington against Los Angeles with a fourth quarter interception and has 14 tackles on the season.
Despite the setback, Foster said he was hopeful for his chance to play one of the league's best teams and said the defense needs to be on point if it hopes to bring Carr down.
"We've just got to execute. We've got great coaches, guys have been flying around, making plays," Foster said. "We've got to go out there, have fun and make plays. That's really what it comes down to. I feel like guys have been doing a good job. Just go have fun and let it loose."