Sunday, October 30, 2011

Well, that was ugly

Losing to the Eagles was manageable. They were a talented but under-performing team that matched up well with the Redskins weaknesses. It happens.

Losing to Carolina was a bit tougher as the Redskins played poorly in every phase of the game and were generally manhandled, but much of the damage was done Cam Newton and Steve Smith, and there's no shame in getting beat by those two guys. It was distressing that so many other phases of the team failed as well, but it's the kind of speed bump that mediocre teams like the Redskins experience during the course of a season.

But this shut out loss to Buffalo... well this is pretty hard to take. Buffalo is playing well this year so losing to them isn't a shocker. But I was absolutely not anticipating a total collapse like what we saw today. And as troubled as I am by the poor defensive showing, John Beck looked much worse than even the most Beck-skeptical could have expected.

There's simply no excuse for giving up nine sacks to a defense that Football Outsiders had ranked 20th in DVOA coming into the week. The offensive line did not play well.  However - and I reserve the right to change my mind on this after reviewing the tape - I think most of those sacks go on John Beck. In many of the cases where the protection broke down it did so slowly, and Beck showed absolutely no awareness of when it was necessary to either get the ball out or escape the pocket. Mobility doesn't help you if you lack the pocket presence to know when and how to use it.

It seems that Beck can be a good rhythm passer when his first read is open. When the scheme works just right Beck is coming out of his bootleg right as the receiver makes his break to get open, and Beck hits him. But when he has to move beyond that first read, everything about Beck's game seems to slow to a crawl. And today it's clear none of the receivers were getting open. Whether the blame for that lies with Kyle Shanahan or the receivers themselves is an open question.

I suppose a little perspective is in order. John Beck has now played only nine quarters of regular season football since 2007. He's almost like a rookie, and there's certainly a chance (though not a certainty) he could improve with time. For that reason, I disagree with the people who want to see Rex Grossman back in the starting job already. Beck at least deserves another week or two, if only so we can know for certain that he is not an option moving forward. But his performance today was indefensibly awful.

As for the nonexistent running game, it appeared that linemen were regularly just getting plain old beat at the point of attack and letting plays collapse. There were some times when I felt Torain was having his habitual failures of vision and creating losses, but the true post mortem on the run game will have to wait until I can dive into the Tivo.

Just as a reminder of what is in store, the Redskins face the 49ers - 3rd in DVOA - next week.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Redskins-Panthers 4th quarter game review

1st quarter review
2nd quarter
3rd quarter

Fourth Quarter

1-10-CAR 46 (15:00) C.Newton pass short right to J.Shockey to WAS 46 for 8 yards (L.Landry).

For all his rookie accomplishments we are sometimes reminded that Ryan Kerrigan is raw and still learning to be a linebacker. The bootleg is to his side and he’s way too slow to recognize the significance of the tight end releasing his block on him, and lets the guy get wide open in the flat.

2-2-WAS 46 (14:23) D.Williams right guard to WAS 43 for 3 yards (S.Bowen).           

Golston and Nield each get pushed back buy double teams; Bowen penetrates from the backside but not quickly enough to prevent a first down.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Redskins-Panthers 3rd quarter game review

It's funny to me how some quarters provide so much to talk about and analyze and some are total clunkers. That doesn't mean that what happens in those "bad" quarters isn't significant in terms of the outcome of the game, just that they leave me with little describe, analyze, or otherwise expound upon in these game review. The 2nd quarter was one of those dull reviews where I just couldn't find much interesting to add. Those are just as boring to work on as they are to read. Fortunately these things tend to even out, and the third quarter was much more engaging for me to write, and hopefully makes for more entertaining reading as well.

1st quarter review
2nd quarter

Third Quarter

O.Mare kicks 65 yards from CAR 35 to end zone, Touchback.

Washington Redskins at 15:00

1-10-WAS 20 (15:00) J.Beck pass deep middle to J.Gaffney to CAR 48 for 32 yards (C.Godfrey).           

Perfect play action. The LBs bite which means the Mike doesn’t get downfield to take the underneath coverage on Gaffney’s route into the seam.

1-10-CAR 48 (14:20) T.Hightower right tackle to CAR 42 for 6 yards (D.Connor).

Paulsen fights through play side safety (who is then taken out by Young) then drives the LB to the outside, allowing Hightower to cut upfield.

2-4-CAR 42 (13:43) R.Torain left guard to CAR 40 for 2 yards (D.Connor).

Montgomery gets to the second level but completely whiffs and the Mike backer is free to make the stop.

3-2-CAR 40 (13:00) (Shotgun) J.Beck pass incomplete short right to T.Austin (C.Gamble).

The slot corner pretty clearly pulled on Austin’s jersey to keep him from getting into the slant on time, but no flag.

4-2-CAR 40 (12:56) (Shotgun) J.Beck sacked at CAR 47 for -7 yards (J.Anderson).

Beat by the blitz. There are blitzers coming through both A gaps. Helu picks up one correctly but his cut block in ineffective and only slows the guy slightly. The other comes clean because Cook is frozen by the DT who is head up on him… but drops into coverage.

Carolina Panthers at 12:52

1-10-CAR 47 (12:52) (Shotgun) C.Newton pass deep left to B.LaFell pushed ob at WAS 16 for 37 yards (K.Barnes).           

Doughty and Rocky are blitzing from the defensive left, so on the right Orakpo starts out on the line but just before the snap slides over to the slot receiver.  Wilson is on the X receiver with Barnes deep as a safety. It’s unlikely that he play was designed such that Orakpo would be responsible for the slot receiver deep downfield. So Orakpo tracks him into the flat but then passes him off. But Barnes is momentarily frozen when the X receiver threatens the seam, even though Wilson follows that route.  It’s at least conveicable that Wilson should have stayed outside and passed off the post to Barnes, but it looks more likely that Barnes messed up by not going straight to the sideline.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Redskins-Panthers 2nd quarter review

First quarter review is here.

Second Quarter

2-2-CAR 24 (15:00) T.Hightower right end to CAR 24 for no gain (D.Connor; G.Hardy).

The LDT gets under Cook’s pads (not that hard to do) on the zone run and easily slides down the line to fill the hole.

3-2-CAR 24 (14:27) T.Hightower left tackle to CAR 21 for 3 yards (D.Connor, A.Applewhite).

1-10-CAR 21 (13:48) J.Beck scrambles right end to CAR 14 for 7 yards (S.Martin).

After running a route into the flat Darrel Young turns back and takes out not one but two defenders to allow Beck to turn the corner on his scramble.

2-3-CAR 14  (13:15) T.Hightower left guard to CAR 13 for 1 yard (D.Connor).

A hole opens between Chester and Cook, but no one is available to get a hat on the MLB.

3-2-CAR 13 (12:32) (Shotgun) J.Beck pass incomplete short left to J.Gaffney (T.Williams).

Beck stares down Gaffney so the LB reads his eyes and jumps underneath the slant.

4-2-CAR 13 (12:28) G.Gano 31 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-N.Sundberg, Holder-S.Rocca.

WAS 3 CAR 3, 12 plays, 74 yards, 2 penalties, 6:04 drive, 2:36 elapsed

G.Gano kicks 69 yards from WAS 35 to CAR -4. K.Pilares to CAR 11 for 15 yards (L.Alexander).
PENALTY on CAR-T.Williams, Offensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at CAR 11.

Carolina Panthers at 12:24

1-10-CAR 6 (12:24) J.Stewart up the middle to CAR 13 for 7 yards (L.Fletcher).

Rocky redirects the play inside by blowing up the lead FB, but Nield gets pushed off the line by a double team and the RG is able to get a hat on Fletcher.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Redskins-Panthers 1st quarter game review

Hi kids. Time to re-live and thus internalize a rather dramatic loss. As always the play by play is taken from the NFL Gamebook.

First Quarter

G.Gano kicks 65 yards from WAS 35 to end zone, Touchback.

One – and only one – of the Panthers cover guys, while all his comrades are dropping back into blocking position, sprints straight forward and launches himself at a Redskins who I think is Niles Paul but can’t be sure. It’s not the last time we will see that, and I’m not sure what to make of it.

Carolina Panthers at 15:00

1-10-CAR 20 (15:00) D.Williams left guard to CAR 21 for 1 yard (B.Orakpo).

Bowen is successfully sealed inside, but Rocky stops the pulling guard cold to allow Fletcher to close for the stop, while Orakpo joins him after nicely shedding the FB’s block.

2-9-CAR 21 (14:22) (Shotgun) C.Newton pass incomplete short left to S.Smith.

Cam throws off his back foot with Bowen and Carriker (Maybe Golston? Not a great view but can see the “4”) pinching the pocket and he sails it high.

3-9-CAR 21 (14:18) (Shotgun) C.Newton scrambles right end to CAR 46 for 25 yards (R.Doughty).           

Bowen rushes to the inside through the offensive left B gap, and despite the fact that his rush is meant to be diversionary to open a path for Barnes off the edge (who is picked up by the RB) he is the only one to really penetrate. The scramble that follows leaves little to analyze because it is simply Cam Newton being an amazing athlete.  If you want to nitpick I suppose you could criticize Barnes, DeAngelo Hall, and Fletcher for badly missing open field tackles, but then it was Cam Newton they were trying to tackle so I’m not inclined to be that hard on them. Landry, by the way, got absolutely leveled by a blind side block.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Redskins suffer a bad loss to Carolina

This is a bad one. Not just because it was to a (generally) weaker opponent, but because I would be really surprised to see the Redskins beat either Buffalo or San Francisco, so even though we're only at .500 this feels like being in a hole already.

In the second half Beck at least showed he can move the team down the field a bit. I think he gets a pass on the first half since, other than a drive or two last week, it was his first regular season football since 2007. If you recall what I wrote before the season, this sort of chain-moving but unexciting offense was what I expected from the Redskins this year. That's simply the roster's current state of development, and it's better than last year. But it doesn't let you mount fourth quarter comebacks. When the defense gets blown away, this offense can't be expected to keep up.

And man, did the defense ever  get blown away. I know you're probably expecting one of my anti-Jim Haslett rants here, but at least on the first viewing it just looked like simple failure of execution. None of the front seven could get off blocks, and I hope to have some idea of why once I start the review.

And don't blame the corners for getting lit up by Steve Smith. Smith and Cam Newton were executing some excellent plays, and the rules of the game are such that if the quarterback is not pressured no corner can cover a good receiver for very long. As for why there was such little pressure... I wish I knew. Hopefully the trusty Tivo will provide me with more insight on that.

I'll leave you with this outstanding video, because it always cheers me up in this sort of situation.

A new look for the Redskins running game?

Something interesting is happening with the Redskins running game.

We all know that Mike and Kyle Shanahan are strong devotees of zone blocking and have worked to build the offensive line with the sort of athletic, though not necessarily overpowering, players that can excel in that system.

Pure zone blocking schemes have a pretty unique look, and part of the beauty of the system is that you see mostly the same runs (primarily inside zone and outside zone, well explained here) without all that much variation. That's why it really jumps off the screen when a supposedly pure zone team like the Redskins starts showing you characteristics of traditional power blocking.

But in the opening game, as the Redskins were trying to run out the clock to clinch a win against New York, the Redskins ran five consecutive plays that seemed to come out of a good old-fashioned power blocking playbook. The most conspicuous characteristic were repeated pull blocks from Chris Chester - the pulling guard just isn't really a characteristic of a zone run.

It happened again in St. Louis - some power runs were sprinkled throughout, and the final three plays before the Redskins went to victory formation were all power runs.

What puzzled me about this trend was that if the plays were considered effective, then they should be used more often. And if not, why use them at all?

I think the Eagles game solved that mystery. In the first half we got to see Chester pull a couple times, interspersed with the usual inside zone/outside zone fare. But in the third quarter, the zone runs disappeared for all but one play. The line was doing standard seal blocks, and blockers were trying to move guys off the point of attack and pulling guards were being sent through the holes. These power runs are excerpted below for your reading pleasure (due to time constraints I never got to review the fourth quarter).

The results were mixed, and yet I love this development on principle. The Shanahans have long been committed to the zone run system, so I'm sure it's not a permanent scheme change. But the fact is that teams with an athletic front seven and some good game planning can often blow up zone blocking. And you can usually see early in the game if the zone game will work. If it's struggling in the first quarter, that's not likely to change as the game goes on. So the Shanahans have taken the sensible precaution of having a backup plan in place. If it's clear a team knows how to beat the zone, the Redskins can switch gears and try a different approach. I am always in favor of coaches having enough flexibility to adjust their scheme based on what will work against a given opponent.

The Panthers are a weak run defense. Zone blocking usually dominates a weak front seven. I would expect that against Carolina and other poor defenses we should see mostly the zone runs, as zone blocking often lets even a mediocre line dominate weak competition. Against tougher competition that has been getting penetration and blowing up the zone, the Shanahans will will seal an end and send a guard pulling around the edge and see if they can't create a hole and then let Torain, Hightower, or Helu break some tackles.

I will admit I have a totally selfish reason for welcoming this development. Zone running is often successful football, but it is boring both to watch and to describe for you guys. In the zone you're not really trying to blow a guy off the line, but to control him enough so that the back has multiple cutback lanes. That's fine, but it doesn't give me much to talk about in the game reviews. With good old-fashioned power blocking, however, there are a number of discrete acts designed to create on particular hole. Collisions happen, and either the blocker or the defender wins each. There's a lot for even an amateur like myself to analyze and describe.

As promised, here's some power running highlights from the 3rd quarter:

1-10-PHI 15 (14:09) R.Torain left tackle to PHI 9 for 6 yards (B.Rolle).

Well, the run game is certainly evolving. Darrel Young is offset to the left, he rushes up and takes on the RDE, which allows Paulsen and Locklear to get straight to the second level and take out the MLB and WLB. Chris Chester then pulls again and puts a hat on the SLB.

2-4-PHI 9 (13:28) R.Torain left tackle to PHI 8 for 1 yard (M.Patterson).

Still more traditional blocking concepts. This is getting really interesting.  Locklear kicks out the RDE while Montgomery and Cook get push the RDT off the line and set up second level blocks, but Jammal Brown is unable to prevent the backside penetration from the LDT. 
2-10-WAS 32 (10:32) (Shotgun) R.Torain right tackle to WAS 35 for 3 yards (B.Rolle, D.Landri).

OK, are the Redskins even a zone running team any more? Very curious what is going on here. Brown seals the RDT inside, Davis kicks out the LDE, and Montgomery pulls through the hole. But the hole collapses after only a modest gain because neither Mongtomery nor Davis hold there blocks any more.
1-10-PHI 18 (7:15) R.Torain up the middle to PHI 20 for -2 yards (D.Tapp).

Even when it doesn’t work, the new approach to the running game is at least interesting to watch.  Paulsen and Mongtomery turn the RDE and RDT to the outside, while Chester jumps outside and tries to seal out the LDE. Meanwhile Young, offset to the left, crosses the backfield to take out the LDT who is initially unblocked because he is initially unblocked to let Cook and Brown, along with Locklear, go straight to the second level. Unfortunately Locklear never locks onto his LB and Montgomery can’t keep his man to the outside, so the hole collapses on Torain.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Redskins-Eagles 3rd quarter game review

And we're back. I'm wishing I hadn't gotten to the 3rd quarter so late in the week, as there's a lot here that's interesting - specifically a startlingly new look to the Redskins running game and some examples of aggressive blitzes from Jim Haslett that actually make some sense.

Here are links to the 1st quarter and 2nd quarter reviews.

Third Quarter

A.Henery kicks 72 yards from PHI 35 to WAS -7. B.Banks pushed ob at WAS 40 for 47 yards (A.Henery).

And here we get back to the good Brandon Banks. There’s no wasted motion, he presses the ball downfield while letting his blocks set up, then turns on the jets at just the right instant to evade a defender who had an angle on him. It was a key block from Kedric Golston that turned this from a good return into a great one.

Washington Redskins at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:55)

1-10-WAS 40 (14:55) R.Grossman pass deep middle to J.Gaffney to PHI 15 for 45 yards (A.Samuel). FLea flicker from #29 Helu           

I’m not a big fan of the flea flicker in general, though of course it worked here. The corner is playing outside leverage against Gaffney’s post and has no inside help since the safety is frozen by the initial fake. But when you see how close the DT was to Helu as he pitched it back to Rex you are reminded how dangerous this play can be. It relies on a bunch of guys holding their blocks for a long, long time.

1-10-PHI 15 (14:09) R.Torain left tackle to PHI 9 for 6 yards (B.Rolle).

Well, the run game is certainly evolving. Darrel Young is offset to the left, he rushes up and takes on the RDE, which allows Paulsen and Locklear to get straight to the second level and take out the MLB and WLB. Chris Chester then pulls again and puts a hat on the SLB.

2-4-PHI 9 (13:28) R.Torain left tackle to PHI 8 for 1 yard (M.Patterson).

Still more traditional blocking concepts. This is getting really interesting.  Locklear kicks out the RDE while Montgomery and Cook get push the RDT off the line and set up second level blocks, but Jammal Brown is unable to prevent the backside penetration from the LDT.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Redskins-Eagles 2nd quarter game review

First quarter review is here.

Second Quarter

2-1-WAS 1 (15:00) M.Vick up the middle to WAS 1 for no gain (L.Fletcher; C.Neild). QB sneak

As enjoyable as Fletcher’s leap over the line was, it’s the interior defensive linemen dominating the middle that really win this play. Unfortunately we don’t get a good camera angle to pick out individual efforts.

3-1-WAS 1 (14:19) T.Herremans reported in as eligible. L.McCoy left end for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.           

Carriker drives the LG into the backfield, but with Atogwe losing a backfield collision with the fullback and  Landry getting driven off the corner by the TE McCoy never needs to cut back.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Redskins-Eagles 1st quarter game review

[Ed. - sorry for the slow pace this week. I have the 2nd quarter mostly done but will have to finish it up tomorrow.]

First Quarter

G.Gano kicks 73 yards from WAS 35 to PHI -8. D.Lewis, Touchback.

Philadelphia Eagles at 15:00

1-10-PHI 20 (15:00) M.Vick pass incomplete deep left to D.Jackson.

The Eagles try to start a second consecutive game with a deep touchdown to Jackson, but Atogwe is kept very, very deep – probably in anticipation of this. Wilson is manned up on Jackson and blankets him, but its unnecessary because there is clearly a route miscommunication and Vick sails the ball straight downfield while Jackson runs a corner route.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reacting to the loss to the Eagles

[Update: Just FYI looks like it will be tomorrow night before I can finish the 1st quarter review.]

Losses hurt, and divisional losses hurt more. But given that most of us expected the Redskins to lose between eight and ten games this year, I am befuddled why many among the fanbase are reacting as if this one loss to a tough opponent is particularly disastrous or disappointing.
We already knew Rex tends to throw dumb interceptions. This is the sort of game we were all expecting when he was named as the starter. It was an absolute train wreck of a game, but when you have a QB who throws dumb interceptions you’ll have the occasional week where he throws four of them.  And I think most of us assumed that we would be seeing John Beck at some point. This is what we signed on for.
We already knew that the Eagles have very good cornerbacks who can neutralize most wide receivers.
We already knew that the Eagles’ receivers are capable of beating the Redskins cornerbacks in man coverage. This is because the Eagles’ receivers are really good and can beat pretty much any corners one on one.
We already knew that the Redskins line is improved enough that it can create cutback lanes against bad defenses, but still sufficiently mediocre that it can be shut down by talented opponents with a good game plan. Hopefully the game review (which I will begin right after I post this) will provide more insight on the run game’s failure.
Nothing about this loss should be remotely surprising. Everyone agrees the Redskins are a flawed team, and they played an opponent who had struggled to this point but is stocked with talent that matches up well against the Redskins.
Here are the valid real reasons to be concerned about this loss.
- I am legitimately distraught over having to rebuild the left side of the offensive line.
-   As I wrote yesterday the Redskins next three games will be challenging, and we should expect a couple of losses. I badly wanted a win against Philadelphia to build some cushion in the standings.
-          Jim Haslett, once again, called a terrible game that set up his secondary for failure against very talented wide receivers. But at least he got to further add to his Aggressive All-Out Blitzer persona which is evidently more important than crafting a sensible approach to beating the opposition.
End result – the Redskins are 3-2 and both losses came against opponents that match up well against the Redskins’ weaknesses. Sorry, but I can’t get too worked up over this one. It’s football and sometimes the other team just beats you. It's just another loss, and there will be more this year.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Redskins enter a dangerous stretch

This upcoming game worries me. The Eagles' season has been a disaster to date and it may continue to be one, but the matchups are worrisome.

 The much-maligned wide-9 obviously gives you opportunities to run up the middle, all the more so when it is played poorly. If the Redskins can get to the second level the Eagles’ mediocre blockers should be neutralized. What worries me is that the Eagles have been struggling primarily due to failures in scheme. The talent is still there (although Trent Cole not playing is a huge bonus for the Redskins). The beauty of football is that talent doesn't trump game planning and team work. But talent still gets the benefit of the doubt. The Eagles know they are in desperate circumstances and are probably inclined to start tinkering with play calling and game planning. Let's hope they don't get it right this week and suddenly all those good players start producing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Redskins-Rams 4th quarter game review

And here is your very late 4th quarter game review. Thanks, bye week, for bailing me out.

Here's the previous quarters:

Fourth Quarter        

3-8-SL 33 (15:00) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass short left to J.Gaffney to SL 25 for 8 yards (A.Harris; Q.Mikell).           

Gaffney sells the go route hard so that when it turns into a hitch just short of sticks the CB on him hits the ground trying to adjust and Gaff gets an easy first down.

1-10-SL 25 (14:18) R.Torain right tackle to SL 25 for no gain (R.Quinn). FUMBLES (R.Quinn), and recovers at SL 23. R.Torain to SL 23 for no gain (J.Bannan).

Torain is late and slow on his cut, which allows the DT on Lichtensteiger to play him in the gap and knock the ball out.

2-8-SL 23 (13:35) R.Torain up the middle to SL 26 for -3 yards (Q.Mikell).

The LDE gets under Jammal Brown’s pads and drives into the backfield like he isn’t there.

3-11-SL 26 (12:45) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass short left INTERCEPTED by J.King at SL 18. J.King pushed ob at WAS 31 for 51 yards (T.Hightower).

The protection works. Two DBs come through the right B gap. Hightower does what he’s supposed to do and blockes the inside guy, leaving Rex responsible for adjusting to the fact that the outside blitzer cannot be blocked. He does so. He knows he has to get out immediately, so he looks straight to Santana. The route combo works. The slot corner is playing 9 yards off the line and Davis runs the LB out of the short zone, so Santana comes wide open on the short crossing route. He seems to slip a bit coming out of the break, but regardless the pass hits him right in the hands and bounces to aDB. Rex recognized the blitz, made the appropriate adjustment, and threw an accurate ball to the right receiver – none of this is remotely his fault. Serious hustle from Hightower to save a touchdown.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Redskins-Rams 3rd quarter game review

Click here for the 1st quarter review, and here for the 2nd quarter.

Third Quarter

Josh.Brown kicks 67 yards from SL 35 to WAS -2. B.Banks to WAS 18 for 20 yards (E.Sims).

Washington Redskins at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:56)

1-10-WAS 18 (14:56) R.Torain left tackle pushed ob at WAS 20 for 2 yards (J.Hall).

Lichtensteiger is pushed into the backfield and knocks into Torain.

2-8-WAS 20 (14:23) R.Torain right tackle to WAS 27 for 7 yards (D.Stewart).

I have no idea what happened on this play because Fox is simply terrible at telecasting football games.

3-1-WAS 27 (13:48) R.Helu left end to WAS 34 for 7 yards (J.Hall).           

The line blocks hard to the right and takes the front seven with them, Helu then takes a pitch to the left and easily gains the first down due to Niles Paul’s excellent block from the slot position.

1-10-WAS 34 (13:12) R.Torain right tackle to SL 27 for 39 yards (Q.Mikell).

Not to take anything way from Torain, who did a fine job running here, but this is textbook zone blocking.  Davis and Brown attack the LDE and Chester and Montgomery the LDT. Then Montgomery and Brown each shed off the combo blocks and go straight to linebackers, while Davis and Chester control the defenders enough that they can’t fill the gaps. Torain times his cut just right and bursts through the hole fast enough that the closing safety takes a terrible angle and misses the tackle, releasing Torain deep into the secondary. Beautiful all around.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Redskins-Rams 2nd quarter review

First quarter review is here.

Second Quarter        

3-7-WAS 40 (15:00) (Shotgun) S.Bradford pass incomplete deep left to M.Sims-Walker.

Redskins get a little lucky here. Barnes assumes responsibility for the deep coverage on the go route but is slightly late getting over and Bradford places the ball well.
4-7-WAS 40 (14:55) D.Jones punts 30 yards to WAS 10, Center-J.McQuaide, downed by SL.

Washington Redskins at 14:46

1-10-WAS 10 (14:46) R.Grossman pass incomplete short middle to F.Davis (J.Bannan).

This is one of those terrifying Rex throws. Lichtensteiger goes to the ground but leaves his DT standing. For reason unknown Rex, while sliding to the right with the moving pocket, tries to force it over the middle to Davis on the slant, and the DT is in the passing lane and easily knocks it in the air.

2-10-WAS 10 (14:42) R.Helu right tackle to WAS 15 for 5 yards (D.Stewart).

This run really showcases Roy Helu’s outstanding vision. This being an inside zone to the right, Helu initially aims at Chris Chester’s right hip. Williams and Montgomery both go straight to the second level, but both block the LB. That leaves an unblocked safety in the right B gap. Helu cuts hard and slips through the gap to Chester’s left.

3-5-WAS 15 (14:00) (Shotgun) R.Grossman pass incomplete short left to F.Davis (D.Stewart).

Helu picks up the (obviously) blitzing MLB, but Jammal Brown is easily beaten around the edge by the LDE. But Rex is staring down Davis from the beginning because his route is aimed at the sticks, so he has time to get it out but is denied by blanket coverage.

4-5-WAS 15 (13:55) S.Rocca punts 56 yards to SL 29, Center-N.Sundberg, downed by WAS.

One of the few weak punts we’ve seen from Rocca this year, and it still worked out. It carries for 3.9 seconds and 37 yards, but the returner is playing very, very deep and lets it drop, whereup on rolls for an additional 19 yards. That’s a benefit of a strong punter I hadn’t thought of – because returners have to respect his leg they are not in a position to take advantage of the few short punts that do occur.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Redskins-Rams 1st quarter game review

Here we go getting started on win number 3. As I mentioned yesterday I only got to catch the last quarter of this game on Sunday, so I really am seeing most of this fresh. As usual they play by play is taken from the NFL Gamebook.

First Quarter

G.Gano kicks 72 yards from WAS 35 to SL -7. Q.Porter, Touchback.

St. Louis Rams at 15:00

1-10-SL 20 (15:00) S.Jackson left guard to SL 20 for no gain (R.Kerrigan).

Kerrigan engages the TE, then gets his left arm to the inside and powers through the line to stuff the runner.

2-10-SL 20  (14:31) (Shotgun) S.Jackson left tackle to SL 33 for 13 yards (L.Landry).           

Well blocked by the Rams against the Redskins four man nickel front. Orakpo is initially unblocked, but a TE crosses the backfield and takes him out. Bowen reacts to Jackson’s initial step to the offensive right and pursues, allowing the LT to keep him inside. The LT gets a free release on Rocky and Landry is line up in the box on the backside, so he can’t make it across the field on time and instead has to chase the guy down from behind.

1-10-SL 33 (13:53) S.Jackson left tackle to SL 33 for no gain (B.Orakpo).

The LT and LG take Bowen way, way off the line. Fortunately Orakpo eneages the TE, wins the fight, and plays the inside gap to stuff the run.

2-10-SL 33 (13:18) S.Jackson left guard to SL 36 for 3 yards (D.Hall).

The center engages Cofield, then the TE joins in and blows him off the line. DeAngelo Hall appears to have been lined up in the slot (the telecast cuts off the formations and the start of the play) and he reads run quickly and reacts, which means that when the RG gets to the second level he is faced with two defenders. He chooses Fletcher, but blocks him ineffectually, so Fletcher and Hall first deny the RB his cutback and then pull him down.

Monday, October 3, 2011

An update

Don't worry, I'm still here. Due to special circumstances the free time simply did not exist last week to review any more than two quarters of the Dallas game.  The Rams game will be fully broken down, but I just got back from a trip and am pretty wiped out so I will probably finish up the first quarter tomorrow and then we will be back on a regular schedule.

I was unable to watch the first three quarters of Sunday's game (long story) so I really will be seeing this for the first time, but I gather it was a pretty ugly win. I'm looking forward to seeing what exactly went on as the mood seems to be decidedly sour about this 3-1, first place team.