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Redskins-Cardinals Offensive Review: The OL is fun to watch!

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Old 09-26-2008, 12:36 PM   #1
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Redskins-Cardinals Offensive Review: The OL is fun to watch!

Last week, I argued that the defense carried the team to victory. This week, even after looking at the tape, I really don’t know which unit was most responsible for this victory. The defense gave up their first 30+ yard play all season, which made the score look closer than it really was. The offense almost generated a big play of it’s own, but it was off of a completely blown coverage, and the play was called back anyway for a totally unrelated penalty.

Normally, when I want to see who dominated what phases of the game, I look at statistics like Yards per Play, and Success Rate. We’ll be looking at those today as well, but I promise you that nothing conclusive can be drawn from these results.

If you want to know why the Skins won, I can tell you that they won this game because the Cardinals turned the ball over twice, and played poorly in the fourth quarter, while the Redskins never turned the ball over, and played solid defense in the fourth quarter. Outside of that, this game was very, very even in almost every way.

But you aren’t reading this to learn that turnovers are bad, so let’s get right to the results.

Jim Zorn


Personnel groupings:

65 offensive plays
Shotgun: 6 (9%)
2 TEs: 12 (18%)
3+ WR: 30 (46%) - Devin Thomas played on about half of the snaps Sunday.
4+ WR: 5 (8%)
Betts and Portis: 2 (3%)

Lots of playing time for Thomas, more on that later. I did not see Malcolm Kelly out there, so he was likely inactive. Fred Davis, I believe, was also inactive, but Todd Yoder got a lot of playing time. James Thrash and Lorenzo Alexander also made cameo appearances on offense.

The Cardinals have a versatile defense, including three different types of nickels, but their base formation was a 3-4. Here are the success rates for the Redskins against the different Cardinal looks:

Base 3-4: 13/29 (45%)
4-3: 2/5 (40%)
Nickel 2-4 (yes, two lineman): 2/3 (67%)
Nickel 3-3: 8/16 (50%)
Nickel 4-3: 1/1 (100%)
Dime 3-2: 1/6 (17%)
Dime 4-1: 1/2 (50%)

For whatever reason, the Skins were wildly successful against nickel defense. Then, when the Cards threw a sixth DB back there, the Skins accomplished nothing.

Playcalling

Run: 27 (42%)
Pass: 38 (58%)

In back to back winning efforts, Jim Zorn has dialed up plays at about a 60-40 ratio. This is significant because a lot of those runs have come at the end of games when he’s trying to kill the clock.

Pass Offense


Vital Statistics:
Success Rate — 18/38 (47%)
Total Net Adjusted Yardage Gained — 190
Yards Per Attempt — 5.0

The Redskins had a lot of negative plays in the passing game. No interceptions or fumbles, but two offensive pass interferences on Devin Thomas, 2 sacks, and a critical roughness penalty on Heyer. Given all that, Campbell deserves a lot of credit for overcoming all that against a tough defense. Santana Moss was very good again, although two passes for him did fall incomplete. Randle El was perfect on the day, as was Cooley. As long as those three are functioning at a high level, the Redskins should be alright.

Redskins Receivers:

Targeted, Receptions, Catch Rate**, Yards per Attempt
**-A good catch rate for a WR is right around a good completion percentage for a QB, 60-65%-ish.


Santana Moss — 10, 7, 70%, 7.0
Chris Cooley — 8, 7, 88%, 8.8
Antwaan Randle El — 4, 3, 75%, 5.75
Devin Thomas — 4, 1, 25%, 1.75
Clinton Portis — 2, 2, 100%, 9.0
Todd Yoder — 2, 2, 100%, 2.5
Mike Sellers — 2, 1, 50%, 2.0

Understand here that while the fact that Devin Thomas has earned his way onto the field is certainly a good thing this early in his career, he’s still a very raw receiver who is not yet ready to succeed at the NFL level. Kudos to the officiating crew for calling him twice for push-offs, because the only way he’s going to correct that behavior to to get penalized for it. I feel for the kid that his first NFL TD got called back by a penalty that had nothing to do with the play, but it was a blown coverage after all.

Right now, the Redskins are a better pass offense with Fred Davis or James Thrash in instead of Devin Thomas.

Offensive Line
— 2 sacks against
The Cardinals were bringing between 4 and 5 rushers on pretty much every play, and for the most part the protection was flawless. Even when Jon Jansen had to play a quarter, he played very well. He might have earned his job back, if not for the fact that no Redskin has improved more since the beginning of the year than Stephon Heyer has. He really looks like an NFL quality tackle.

On one play where the Cards brought six guys, Kendall and Sellers simultaneously whiffed on their blocks, and Campbell was sacked. They both got to him at the same time, and there was no place to hide. The other sack happened because Casey Rabach stepped on Campbell’s foot as he took the snap. Campbell thought the Cards’ jumped, but there was no call, so the sack stands, even if it was not earned.

Speaking of Rabach, he still looks like the weak link of the offensive line, but at least he played better than last week. He got off the ball hard inside the opponents’ 5, and really paved the way for that first TD. He, along with the rookie Devin Thomas, remains one of two guys I would advocate a replacement for in the short term if a solution comes available.

Samuels, Jansen, and Heyer did a near perfect job handling the edge rush, as I think Campbell was pressured once or twice the whole game. Pete Kendall has improved his play over last year, and Randy Thomas is back in full force. This group is a pleasure to watch right now.

Rush Offense


Vital Statistics:
Success Rate — 13/27 (48%)
Total Ground Yards (excluding scrambles) — 110
Yards per Attempt — 4.07

Clinton Portis:
21 rushes for 68 yards, 1 TD
3.2 yards per attempt
9/21 (43%) Success Rate

Portis did not have his best day running the ball. He failed to break open field tackles that could have led to big plays, and a lot of times, he looked to have the corner only to be run out of bounds. His plays took a little too long to develop all day.

Ladell Betts:
4 rushes for 23 yards
5.75 yards per attempt
3/4 (75%) Success Rate

Betts looked to be a lot quicker in the hole than Portis. If you are into crazy conspiracy theories, you’ll like the fact that Betts’ unsuccessful run was only unsuccessful because Portis whiffed on a cut block.

Devin Thomas
1 rush for 16 yards

This play was wonderfully designed, and it’s the second week in a row that Jim Zorn has successfully pulled a misdirection run with a receiver, and catching the defense cheating. Take notes, Al Saunders: he didn’t even spend the whole game running receivers on fake end arounds to make the defense think you are really up to something!

Jason Campbell
2 rushes for 29 yards

Campbell had good protection on both of these scrambles, but rather attempt to force the ball in there, he took off running once the Cards lost contain. This guy is quickly becoming a complete player.

Overall Offense


Vital Statistics:
Total Yards — 305 (includes some penalty deductions)
Yards Per Play — 4.69
Success Rate — 31/65 (48%)

This team is exactly where we want it to be offensively. The Quarterback is developing quickly, the consistency is present, they have offensive balance, and most importantly, they aren’t turning it over. Are they playing well enough to beat Dallas? I have no idea. I know they won’t be able to go turnoverless for the whole year, so it will be interesting to see how much offense they can generate against a top team without making a critical mistake.

Defensive Review to follow tonight.
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Old 09-26-2008, 12:50 PM   #2
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Re: Redskins-Cardinals Offensive Review: The OL is fun to watch!

Nice breakdown. Regarding Thomas.... I know he messed up a few times, and we're all going to have to be patient with this guy. He only had one real year of div. 1 football. But he has some serious physical skills. I was at the game and I was watching this guy pretty close. Thomas was getting open and I see him being a difference maker later on this year. JC flat out missed him for a TD and checked the ball down for an incompletion to Moss or ARE. And Heyer flat out cost him a TD. This is the explosive type of player with some size that this offense has needed.
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Old 09-27-2008, 11:22 AM   #3
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Re: Redskins-Cardinals Offensive Review: The OL is fun to watch!

As he matures, he's also going to be competing with Davis and Kelly, so he's going to have to stand out.

At the very least, Thomas has worked his way onto the field early in his rookie season. That's a very positive indicator.
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Old 09-27-2008, 12:06 PM   #4
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Re: Redskins-Cardinals Offensive Review: The OL is fun to watch!

he wont be competing against davis.... remember davis is a tight end not a receiver.. and i definately dont see him having the skill set of say an antonio gates so you wouldnt be able to line him up wide over a db. like you would with thomas. BUT, the real competition begins once kelly gets healthy
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Old 09-27-2008, 01:30 PM   #5
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Re: Redskins-Cardinals Offensive Review: The OL is fun to watch!

Well, Davis isn't competing with Cooley, correct? Where he lines up on the field -- tight or wide -- doesn't make a difference. He's fighting for one of 11 positions on the field, and he's not going to replace the runner, or the linemen, or the QB, or Cooley. So that leaves three spots on the field for Kelly/Thomas/Davis, but they are also competing against Moss, Sellers, and Randle El. So it's not like all those veteran guys are going to be replaced at once, so yes I would say that Davis is competing directly against Kelly and Thomas for playing time.
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Old 09-27-2008, 02:07 PM   #6
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Re: Redskins-Cardinals Offensive Review: The OL is fun to watch!

You've come through with a great breakdown once again Tripp. I think Thomas is going to be a real threat sooner rather than later, but as DonkeyPunch said, the real competition starts when Kelly gets healthy. Kelly is the one who I thought would really have an impact on this offense, now I'm a little concerned about his toughness. I would love to see him put that concern to rest. I'm always concerned about the o-line but right now they seem to be playing awfully well. We need them to keep this level of play up this Sunday. This will probably be their toughest test yet. I understand what you're saying about only so many spots on the offense. It's good to have this problem for once. Before we barely had enough good receivers to fill the spots. Good job GTripp.
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:37 PM   #7
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Re: Redskins-Cardinals Offensive Review: The OL is fun to watch!

Good to see them hold up against the different defenses the Cards put on the field. Gave us a little taste the scheme we may see tomorrow. Kinda a Dallas light....
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