COMMENTARY | The Washington Redskins will attempt to earn their first victory of the season as they face off against the Oakland Raiders in their upcoming inter-conference matchup.
Here are five things to keep an eye on during the Redskins' Week 4 battle with the Raiders.
Robert Griffin III's progress
There's no question that the majority of the focus in Week 4 will be placed upon RGIII in his continued quest to silence the naysayers.
Due to RGIII's less-than-stellar play, some have even started to hint that it's time for Kirk Cousins to replace him as the team's starting quarterback.
With the Redskins facing the unnerving possibility of sliding to 0-4, it's time for Griffin to do whatever it takes to help the team avoid this dreadful hypothetical from becoming a reality. Silencing the doubters and saving the season can be accomplished simultaneously if RGIII re-emerges as the dual threat that instilled so much fear into the hearts of opposing defenders during his spectacular rookie campaign.
Hopefully, Griffin's repaired right ACL will cooperate and allow him to recapture his brilliance, starting in Week 4 against the Raiders.
Converting third downs
Through the season's first three games, the Redskins have struggled to consistently produce positive results during third down situations. Currently, they're ranked 25th in the league on third down conversion attempts, moving the chains at a lowly 32 percent rate.
The Week 4 clash with the Raiders will provide the Redskins with a golden opportunity to improve their third down efficiency. The Raiders are atrocious at defending third downs, allowing the opponents to successfully convert 50 percent of their third down chances.
Continuing the trend of the opposition eviscerating the Raiders on third downs will go a long way towards the Redskins attaining their first win of the season.
The Terrell Pryor Injury Watch
Terrelle Pryor has been a pleasant surprise for the Oakland Raiders in 2013. Possessing a combination of athleticism and solid passing skills, he's asserted himself as the team's starting quarterback for this year and perhaps beyond.
The Redskins may not get the chance to clash with the talented young signal caller in Week 4, thanks to the concussion that Pryor suffered against the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
If he's able to play, Pryor's multidimensional skills will present a challenge to the struggling Redskins' defense. If Pryor sits, Raiders' backup quarterback Matt Flynn's lack of arm strength will be a welcomed sight to a Redskin defensive unit looking to turn things around.
Stopping the Raiders' vaunted rushing attack
Speaking of the Redskins' defense, they'll have their hands full in Week 4 as they face a formidable Raider ground attack. The Raiders currently have the league's third-best rushing attack, averaging 148.7 yards per game.
The Redskins could catch a break if Terrelle Pryor is unable to go. The quarterback is currently the team's leading rusher, carrying the ball 26 times for 198 yards while averaging an impressive 7.6 yards per scamper.
Running back Darren McFadden is one of the league's best backs when healthy, so stopping him won't be the simplest of tasks. However, if Pryor doesn't suit up, controlling the Raiders' running game won't be as intimidating due to not having to account for Pryor's dual threat abilities.
Give Alfred Morris the football
The Redskins' offense is at its best when Alfred Morris consistently carries the football. Since he's entered the league, the Redskins are a sparkling 8-1 in games when Morris is the recipient of at least twenty rushing attempts.
Through the first three games of the 2013 season, Morris has yet to reach or surpass the magical 20 carry mark. Of course, playing from behind during their first two losses to the Eagles and Packers prevented Morris from becoming a bigger factor in those contests.
However, there's no excuse for Morris only getting 15 carries in the team's competitive effort against the Lions in Week 3.
If Morris is given the football early and often against the Raiders, don't be surprised to see the Redskins emerge victorious for the first time in 2013.
Drexel Perry recently moved back to the Washington D.C. area. He's been a Redskins fan for over 30 years. For additional football talk, follow him on Twitter @DrexelPerry.
Statistics via NFL.COM
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