Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Redskins opening snap sack against Detroit

I have often been critical of Jim Haslett's blitzes in the past, but the blitz that got the Redskins a sack on the opening snap last Sunday was nicely designed to draw the Lions into a protection adjustment and then exploit it so I wanted to walk through it.

The Lions come out three wide with an empty backfield (the RB is flexed to the left), and Ryan Kerrigan starts out lined up over the slot receiver. He then creeps in to threaten the right side of the offensive line while Josh Wilson takes over responsibility for the receiver:

The Lions adjust their protection such that the RT is responsible for Kerrigan, so that the TE can still release into a route. Fletcher crouches low behind Cofield, initially shaded slightly to the Redskins' left side of him. He is hoping the left side of the Lions' line doesn't realize he is still a rush threat. Before the snap you can see him tap Cofield's left hip - it appears that he is telling Cofield to attack the gap to his left to open up Fletcher's blitz lane. It works:

Note that even if the Lions hadn't gone with the empty backfield the Redskins likely still would have broken down the protection. Perry Riley was responsible for Joique Bell on this play (both on the far left of the picture) and presumably if Bell has stayed in to block Riley's assignment would have been to blitz, so either he or Fletcher would still get a free shot at the quarterback. As it happens he released into a route anyway (after a brief chip on Orakpo) so both he and Riley were removed from the play entirely.

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