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Old 09-16-2008, 11:54 PM   #1
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Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

I do both the offensive and game reviews because it helps me paint the whole picture of why the Redskins win or lose. And I enjoy it. But my background in the game of football is on offense. When I watch a football game, I know exactly what and why things are happening on offense. I don’t learn all that much from breaking down the tape because I already saw the game live.

But it’s just the opposite on defense. I learn so much from doing these game breakdowns that I wouldn’t otherwise know. It makes the 5 hours a week I spend reviewing the tape totally worth it. And now, allow me to share what I’ve found with you.


57 Total Defensive Plays

Formation Selection:
4-3 - 26 (46%)
Nickel - 21 (37%)
Dime - 7 (12%)
Goal line - 3 (5%)

Some obvious stuff here: Greg Blache likes to keep it simple. Yes, he’s learned some exotic blitz schemes and fronts from his days with Gregg Williams, but his personnel packages are simple: 1) Rotate in EVERYONE on the defensive line, 2) Play 4-3 defense when the opposition has 2 WRs, 3) Play Nickel when the opposition has 3+ receivers, 4) Play Dime if time is on your side. Sometimes he plays dime on third down, but that’s really asking him to go off a whim.

We are seeing a lot more DL rotation than we were with Williams. The reason the Redskins have 5 active defensive ends is because the team plays with 4 DEs on the line in clear passing situations. Lorenzo Alexander, Chris Wilson, and Erasmus James all play inside on third down. For the first time in his Redskins career, Cornelius Griffin is a two down player.

Blitz Packages:

The Redskins did not want to blitz Drew Brees often. They actually blitzed Brees ONCE in the entire first half. Out of 38 total passes:

5+ rushers: 6 (16%)
6+ rushers: 3 (8%)

The interesting thing was, the first three blitzes the Redskins used were 6 man blitzes. They showed a favoritism for sometimes lining up in the dime on a clear passing down, and then blitzing the dime back (Torrence), and one safety (Landry or Horton). The first time, it worked. The second time, Brees found a wide open Pierre Thomas. The third 6 man blitz was the first time the Redskins sent a linebacker (McIntosh) along with Horton. Brees got rid of the ball quickly for an easy first against Smoot.

At that point, Blache scrapped the 6 man blitz, opting to sparingly bring an extra rusher. The results were much better. McIntosh was sent on two more blitzes, and Griffin sacked Brees on the first one, while the other time, Andre Carter got heavy pressure on Brees. Springs came on a nickel back fire on a third down in which Landry defensed a pass.

Mostly though, the Redskins attacked with a 4 man rush.

Pass Defense

Success Rate (of New Orleans offense): 17/38 = 45%

Success Rate is a bit misleading here, because the Saints only generated three passing plays of more than 15 yards on the day. Success Rate obviously treats all successful plays as equal to measure consistency, so whether a first down play goes for 5 yards or 65 yards, it’s charted as “a successful play”. The Redskins passing offense looks much better than that as well.

Fun Fact of the day: I mentioned that the Redskins gave up only three passing plays over 15 yards on the day. One of those plays was the 19 yard Touchdown throw to Robert Meachem. That play just happened (not so coincidentally) to be the only play that Carlos Rogers was not on the field for all game. The Redskins were in a cover three there. The announcers improperly attributed the fault for the play to Shawn Springs not getting depth, but that’s because Brian Baldinger is what’s known as a “moron.” The line of scrimmage was the 19. Springs has the responsibility of the left defensive flat. He should NOT BY ANY MEANS be expected to cover someone in the back of the end zone. Rather, Leigh Torrance was responsible for the outside third of the field, and LaRon Landry was responsible for the middle third. Torrence was slow to react to the inside man (Meachem) going up the field, but Torrence was at least there when the ball was thrown. LaRon Landry took Jeremy Shockey on a drag route in which he had underneath help. The Skins were probably damned either way, but Landry showed his hand too early, allowing Brees to hit Meachem before Torrence got over.

This all happened because Rogers was not in the game. Offenses are not throwing to Rogers’ side at all. Here’s the YPA breakdown per targeted player in the passing game during the Redskins-Saints game.

Carlos Rogers targeted 2 times, 2.5 yards/attempt.
Fred Smoot targeted 5 times, 9.8 yards/attempt
Shawn Springs targeted 2 times, 2 yards/attempt.
Leigh Torrence targeted 2 times, 9.5 yards/attempt with the TD.
LaRon Landry targeted 2 times, no completions allowed, both passes defensed.
Chris Horton targeted 1 time, no completions allowed, also the two INTs off deflected passes.
H.B. Blades targeted 2 times, 2 yards/attempt.
London Fletcher targeted 5 times for 8.8 yards/attempt.
Rocky McIntosh targeted 6 times for 4.2 yards/attempt.

(Brees was 4/5 throwing at Smoot, but the one non-completion was a pass defensed by Smoot and intercepted on the deflection by Horton).

Know that in the “nickel” formation, Springs was substituted for H.B. Blades. They were on the field together for one play all game.

Defensive Line:

Sacks: 2
Jason Taylor
Cornelius Griffin

Hits: 1
Cornelius Griffin

Pressures: 5
Corneilus Griffin x 3
Andre Carter
London Fletcher

Tipped Passes: 2
Demetric Evans
Jason Taylor

Any question who the MVP of the D-Line was? Well, don’t forget about Kedric Golston. He was great vs. the run and his heady recognition of a middle screen to Pierre Thomas might have saved a touchdown. (Though the Saints would score anyway).

Run Defense

Run defense has been the bane of the Redskins over two games. And that’s saying something about the Giants game since the Saints have absolutely no semblance of a running game whatsoever. Want proof?

Saints’ running game success rate: 8/19 = 42%
Longest run: 9 yards

It would have been 6/17 (35%) if not for two Reggie Bush draws against a dime defense at the end of the first half.

I said last week the linebackers were the reason the run D was poor. They were MUCH improved this week. Here are the YPA stats for the Redskins defenders against the run:

London Fletcher: 2 tackles, 5.5 yards per
Rocky McIntosh: 1 tackle, 5 yards
HB Blades: 3 tackles, 0.7 yards per!
Kedric Golston: 2 tackles, 0.5 yards per!!
Jason Taylor: 1 tackle, 2 yards
Fred Smoot: 1 tackle, -3 yards
Lorenzo Alexander: 1 tackle, 1 yard
Corneilius Griffin: 1 tackle, 2 yards
Andre Carter: 2 tackles, 6 yards per (Brees’ bootleg)
LaRon Landry: 1 tackle, 2 yards
Chris Horton: 2 tackles, 4 yards per

So you can take all that with a grain of salt because it’s a very small sample. New Orleans doesn’t run much, and for good reason.

H.B. Blades deserves special mention for his play. This kid can already start on my team at OLB. Might the Skins be looking to have him succeed London Fletcher at MLB instead?

Overall Defense

The Redskins did not allow a successful play until midway through the 2nd quarter. The Saints found a few plays they could rely on, and created a few mismatches (the most critical one being Demetric Evans on Reggie Bush). But the defense won this game for us.

245 total yards allowed
Success Rate (for Saints): 25/57 = 44%

We matched the Saints evenly in success rate. Hmm, imagine that? The Redskins won because they won the turnover battle (+2), and created more big plays on offense.

A Final Word

I don’t do special teams breakdowns, but Shaun Suisham was absolutely outstanding on kickoffs. Three touchbacks! Rock Cartwright was outstanding on kick returns — as usual. Without these contributions, the Skins would be sitting at 0-2.
according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
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Old 09-17-2008, 01:18 AM   #2
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Re: Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

Originally Posted by GTripp0012 View Post
The announcers improperly attributed the fault for the play to Shawn Springs not getting depth, but that’s because Brian Baldinger is what’s known as a “moron.”
Thanks GTripp. Great line BTW.
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Old 09-17-2008, 07:24 AM   #3
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Re: Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

Nice post Tripp. On that Meacham TD, I can't remember where I heard it, but Blache took the blame for that one I believe. Said he simply called out the wrong defense
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Old 09-17-2008, 09:04 AM   #4
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Re: Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

Thanks GTripp. Appreciate the info, good job. I find it very interesting that no one is throwing to Rogers side with all the crap he catches here. Apparently there is some respect for his play.
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Old 09-17-2008, 09:33 AM   #5
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Re: Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

Originally Posted by 53Fan View Post
Thanks GTripp. Appreciate the info, good job. I find it very interesting that no one is throwing to Rogers side with all the crap he catches here. Apparently there is some respect for his play.
Agreed. I find it funny that Rogers catches hell around here all the time, and for whatever reason, Smoot is beloved by this fanbase. Yet, the average pass completed to Smoot's side was almost 10 yards, and I'm sure that number won't change much throughout the season.
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:38 AM   #6
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Re: Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

Great breakdown on both offense and defense. A pleasure to read...
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:51 AM   #7
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Re: Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

Nice information. I will keep up with this since you do a fine job and I don't have the time to do it myself.
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Old 09-17-2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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Re: Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

I don't remember seeing or hearing about Rogers all game, which is definitely a good thing for a cornerback.

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Old 09-17-2008, 06:42 PM   #9
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Re: Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

Great stuff, Tripp. Nice call on Carlos. He's coming on. Smooty better step up or he going to be picked on all year long!

Calling Baldinger a moron is a compliment. He's not nearly smart enough to qualify as a moron. It insults morons everywhere!
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Old 09-17-2008, 07:22 PM   #10
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Re: Redskins-Saints Defensive Review

I learn more from these O and D analysis in 10 mintues than I learn from all the other sources combined.

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