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GTripp0012 10-11-2008 09:34 PM

Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
Check out the game reviews if you haven't had a chance yet:

[B][url]http://www.thewarpath.net/redskins-locker-room/25866-defensive-gt-review-gtripps-6-001st.html[/url]

[url]http://www.thewarpath.net/redskins-locker-room/25867-offensive-gt-review-phillys-run-d.html[/url][/B]

I was looking at the adjusted sack rate for defensive teams, that is posted right here: [url=http://footballoutsiders.com/stats/dl]FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Football analysis and NFL stats for the Moneyball era - Authors of Pro Football Prospectus 2008[/url]

I was not surprised that the teams with the two best pass rushes in the NFL by a large margin are the Eagles and the Giants. Now, we've played both of these teams. We allowed only one sack against each of the teams. But in one game, our offense struggled to move the ball through the air. In the other, we weren't great through the air, but at least we were good on third downs.

So if the difference in the two games was the percentage at which we converted third downs through the air, was there an improvement somewhere in the offense over the four weeks that separated the game? I took a look back at my game notes from the Giants game.

[B]3rd down pass attemtps
[/B]vs Giants 12
vs Eagles 13

[B]3rd down pass conversions
[/B]vs Giants 2 (17%)
vs Eagles 8 (62%)

This was the only real difference in our passing efficiency between the Giants and the Eagles. Every other down we did essentially the same. Of course, teams respect our passing offense a lot more now, which gives Portis bigger running lanes, but we'll have to ignore that for now. Why the conversions? Better protection? Better playcalling? Receivers more open? QB playing better? Let's look at the causes of failure according to my game notes:

[B]Against Giants[/B] -- 10 failed plays

1) 3rd and 12: Quick Slant well covered [coverage, d&d]
2) 3rd and 6: Pass pro mixup, pressure on Campbell causes errant throw for Thrash [pressure]
3) 3rd and 8: Campbell is pressured as Samuels was beaten. The pass to Moss was bobbled and caught short of the first. [pressure, wr route]
4) 3rd and 6: Devin Thomas made the catch, but wasn't aware of the sticks [wr route]
5) 3rd and 5: Despite Portis knocking Kiwanuka into Wednesday, Tuck beat Heyer and Campbell got rid of it short of the sticks [pressure]
6) 3rd and 15: Pass to Randle El short of the sticks, Heyer was beat again, but Campbell had learned his lesson. Ball was out very early. [d&d]
7) 3rd and 17: Drag to Santana for 3. The playcall was designed to take advantage of the Giants' coverage, but they had Ross following Moss on this play. [coverage, d&d]
8) 4th and 14: Tuck flushes Campbell, who leaves the pocket and can't find anyone but Betts. [pressure, coverage]
9) 3rd and 2: Campbell throws errantly to Thrash. [bad throw]
10) 3rd and 10: Holding on Samuels. [pressure]

d&d=down and distance unreasonable

[B]Against Eagles[/B] -- 6 failed plays

1) 3rd and 10: Hard roll, Jansen is beat inside by Juqua Parker and Campbell is pressured and hit. [pressure]
2) 3rd and 8: Randy Thomas picks up a stunt, but Campbell feels pressure (the pocket was well protected) and darts up the middle for two. [QB decision]
3) 3rd and 6: Pass knocked down at line. [good defense]
4) 3rd and 4: Devin Thomas OPI [WR decision]
5) 3rd and 1: Campbell off PA rolls and throws ball away [coverage]

The only thing that stands out is that the Redskins stayed out of third and unreasonable, but to find out what made them more successful against a similar defense, we will have to look at the 8 successful attempts vs. Philly. Specifically, things that COULD have gone wrong, but didn't.

[B]Against Eagles [/B]-- 8 successful conversions

1) 3rd and 3: The Redskins had a poor pass pro scheme on, Trent Cole vs. Portis. Cole beat Portis, but despite that Campbell hits Cooley vs. Dawkins, a mismatch in the Skins favor. [pressure]
2) 3rd and 11: Juqua Parker chips Cooley before coming on an inside stunt, and Rabach doesn't pick him up. He runs right throw and hits Campbell, but Campbell hung in and hit Devin Thomas. [pressure]
3) 3rd and 6: Blitz comes, and Campbell quick releases to Portis at the sticks. [blitz beaten]
4) 3rd and 3: Cooley runs a crossing pattern against Omar Gaither. Easy completion. Time was a factor, so the Eagles were in prevent. [poor coverage]
5) 3rd and 9: Campbell beats an overload blitz and finds an open ARE. [blitz beaten]
6) 3rd and 9: Illegal contact on Samuel. [penalty]
7) 3rd and 3: Campbell is flushed from the pocket, but puts the defense in a run/pass bind, hitting Randle El. Was he touched? [pressure]
8) 3rd and 9: Eagles get out of rush lanes, and Campbell takes off for a first down run. [crazy legs, defensive over pursuit]

I count an identical amount of 3rd down pressure, proportional to the number of third downs. So the OL wasn't any [I]better[/I] against Philly than it was vs. New York. We saw a pressure on about 40% of third down passes with both teams, and that number favors the defense strongly. It also supports the assertion by Football Outsiders that Philly and NYG are the best defenses at pressuring and sacking QBs.

The big difference is what happened on those plays where Campbell was pressured. Against the Giants, he got the ball out of his hands, but to a receiver short of the marker. Against the Eagles, Campbell (with the exception of one play) either beat the pressure mismatch by taking advantage of his own mismatch in coverage, or he stepped up and kept the play alive and made the conversion himself.

We are also seeing the maturation of the Redskin WRs over the last few games. They now know where they have to get to and keep working downfield to get open assuming that Campbell will keep the play alive.

Jason Campbell has always been good at getting the ball out of his hands and avoiding sacks, but his maturation over this season has led to an improved conversion rate on third downs. That, combined with the offenses ability to stay out of the third and longs they were in against the Giants has led to the Redskins offense becoming one of the very best offenses in the entire NFL.

GTripp0012 10-11-2008 09:38 PM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
The Giants are also a significantly better team in the back seven coverage wise than the Eagles are. I'm sure that played a part in this analysis, but it's tough to account for that.

So the Eagles' signing of Asante Samuel makes a lot of sense and tells me that they correctly identified their defensive weakness, but the results of having Samuel haven't helped the Eagles very much thus far.

53Fan 10-11-2008 09:56 PM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
Good stuff GTripp. It looks to me like Campbell is understanding the offense better and is making better decisions. I agree that the receivers are also playing better which of course helps Campbell. The scary thing for the opposition is we're only 5 weeks into the season and I would expect us to get even better. Plus, we have'nt really even used our "new" talent yet. As Thomas, Davis, and Kelly get up to speed, the contribution from them should make us an even more formidable offense.

GTripp0012 10-11-2008 10:07 PM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
[quote=53Fan;488293]Good stuff GTripp. It looks to me like Campbell is understanding the offense better and is making better decisions. I agree that the receivers are also playing better which of course helps Campbell. The scary thing for the opposition is we're only 5 weeks into the season and I would expect us to get even better. Plus, we have'nt really even used our "new" talent yet. As Thomas, Davis, and Kelly get up to speed, the contribution from them should make us an even more formidable offense.[/quote]I don't think there's a whole lot more room for growth. It looks like we've already reached whereever we were aspiring to get! However, the hidden goal (and I agree with you on this) is that Kelly, Thomas, Davis, and Rinehart all continue to progress in practice. If these guys are forced into action late in the season, we need them to pick up the slack, and not be a weakness for defensive coordinators to exploit.

We've got a top five (arguably top three) offense in the NFL, and once again have a top ten offensive line. Campbell should get even better, but I'm not sure that things will ever be better overall than they are right now. You can't exactly turn the ball over less than we have been ;)

But having the extra weapons at WR will help. I would argue though that we haven't yet been limited in any sort of way by a lack of weapons, mostly because Cooley's versatility means we never have to put a 4th WR in if we don't want to.

I could see injuries derailing the offense, and it's important to remember that we've been very fortunate on the offensive side of the ball to avoid injuries. Only Heyer has missed any time. Our elite status on offense is very dependent on the health of the guys that are making us elite.

Right now, no one in the NFL should beat us on a neutral field. It's a little disturbing that the next time we play a must-win game will be in Week 11, and we'd have to be very lucky with injuries to be playing at this level when that day rolls around.

And I'm very proud to say that as long as these 11 guys (plus Heyer) are on the field and producing, there is no one in the NFL that can shut us down on offense. The mantra that "you are only as good as your weakest link" applies to this team right now, and (outside of maybe Rabach), the Redskins aren't playing with ANY weak link right now.

CRedskinsRule 10-11-2008 10:11 PM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
As always, Great Analysis.

GTripp0012 10-11-2008 10:18 PM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
[quote=GTripp0012;488294]However, the hidden goal (and I agree with you on this) is that Kelly, Thomas, Davis, and Rinehart all continue to progress in practice. If these guys are forced into action late in the season, we need them to pick up the slack, and not be a weakness for defensive coordinators to exploit.[/quote]I should point out that this is what killed the Cowboys the last two seasons. They needed to rely on their youth at the end of a long season, and those guys weren't ready to help.

It's also what turned the Giants into Super Bowl Champs.

We're doing well right now, but what's working great for us now might not work in January, so it's critical that our draft choices from the last two seasons (Blades and Landry included) continue to develop.

If you told me that Kelly, Davis, Rinehart, Tryon, and Thomas would be big for us down the stretch, I'd tell you that the Redskins would be the favorite to win the Super Bowl.

CRedskinsRule 10-11-2008 10:27 PM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
[quote=GTripp0012;488296]I should point out that this is what killed the Cowboys the last two seasons. They needed to rely on their youth at the end of a long season, and those guys weren't ready to help.

It's also what turned the Giants into Super Bowl Champs.

We're doing well right now, but what's working great for us now might not work in January, so it's critical that our draft choices from the last two seasons (Blades and Landry included) continue to develop.

[B]If you told me that Kelly, Davis, Rinehart, Tryon, and Thomas would be big for us down the stretch, I'd tell you that the Redskins would be the favorite to win the Super Bowl.[/B][/quote]

So where do you think these guys stand so far?

I think if we can get good leads in these next few games a side benefit might be giving these guys some in game action. What do you think?

53Fan 10-11-2008 10:36 PM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
No doubt we're playing well, but I have a feeling Zorn would like to see us average about 40 a game. I would like to see, and I think we will, improvement in the red zone. I agree that stat wise it would be hard to see improvement from Campbell, but I think we can score more points. Not trying to be greedy, I just think even more will be seen from this offense than we've seen so far. Not to get to far ahead but you know what GTripp? By the end of the season, we may just BE the favorite to win the Super Bowl! :headbange I always enjoy your reviews. Look forward to them every week.

DirtyLandry 10-12-2008 12:13 AM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
[quote=53Fan;488299]No doubt we're playing well, but I have a feeling Zorn would like to see us average about 40 a game. I would like to see, and I think we will, improvement in the red zone. I agree that stat wise it would be hard to see improvement from Campbell, but I think we can score more points. Not trying to be greedy, I just think even more will be seen from this offense than we've seen so far. Not to get to far ahead but you know what GTripp? By the end of the season, we may just BE the favorite to win the Super Bowl! :headbange I always enjoy your reviews. Look forward to them every week.[/quote]

I agree. I think the more Jason progresses in this offense, the more explosion plays will be seen on a consistent basis. Red zone efficiency will improve and guys like Kelly will give him bigger targets to go to.

GTripp0012 10-12-2008 01:38 AM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
[quote=53Fan;488299]No doubt we're playing well, but I have a feeling Zorn would like to see us average about 40 a game. I would like to see, and I think we will, improvement in the red zone. I agree that stat wise it would be hard to see improvement from Campbell, but I think we can score more points. Not trying to be greedy, I just think even more will be seen from this offense than we've seen so far. Not to get to far ahead but you know what GTripp? By the end of the season, we may just BE the favorite to win the Super Bowl! :headbange I always enjoy your reviews. Look forward to them every week.[/quote]The way we've been playing, I think we [I]would[/I] be averaging 40 pts per game if we hadn't played the toughest schedule in the NFL. Outside of RedZone futility, theres no other reason that we aren't already scoring that many.

GTripp0012 10-12-2008 01:45 AM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
[quote=CRedskinsRule;488298]So where do you think these guys stand so far?

I think if we can get good leads in these next few games a side benefit might be giving these guys some in game action. What do you think?[/quote]Zorn is legitimately disappointed with Thomas, saying that he's being "spoon fed" the offense at this point. Kelly hasn't been able to get on the field because of his health and the legitimate opportunity that they wanted to get Thomas. I think if he's healthy, he's going to get a lot of work at third WR these next three games, and I really think he could be a big part of the second half of our season.

Fred Davis has been battling with Todd Yoder for playing time, but I believe he's outplayed him, and will pass him as the No. 2 TE shortly.

Tryon seems to be progressing as expected in practice, though he's only been active in the two games when Springs was inactive. Tryon is the real wildcard of the bunch. The way Smoot is playing, he's working towards inactivity, and of course, he's been in and out of Blache's doghouse the whole season.

I think if Blache wants to discipline Smoot for his play, Torrence is capable of handling the nickelback role right now. That would leave Tryon with special teams work, and he'd split dimeback duty with Kareem Moore and Reed Doughty.

dmek25 10-12-2008 09:29 AM

Re: Differences between the Giants and Eagles game -- Pass Protection
 
thanks gtripp. i love all the breakdown stuff. and i agree about the oline. you can tell they are getting better each week. i think Pete Kendall was a great pick up. next to Samuels has to be one of the better tandems in the league


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