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Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

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Old 09-26-2008, 04:02 PM   #1
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Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

There was a lot of things wrong with the defensive effort. The Redskins were powerless to stop the run all day long. The Cardinals arenít even a good running team. The Redskins gave up a 62 yard TD pass, the longest play against them this season. We will examine what went wrong with that play. However, as un-Redskin-like as that effort was, the defense STILL only gave up 17 points.

Greg Blache


This was by far the game in which Greg Blache had the biggest effect in. Consider the following:
  • Fred Smoot was essentially demoted to begin the week. He was a starter in the first two games, this week Smoot was so far in Blacheís doghouse that he wasnít even in the nickel formation to begin the game.
  • The first six nickel packages called in that game featured Rogers-Springs-Landry-Horton-Doughty in the secondary. Yep, three safeties.
  • Because of his distrust in Smoot, Blache started the game trying to defend the Cards 3 WR sets with his base defense. A few times he tried to defend the 4 WR sets with his 4-3.
  • The Cardinals adjusted to this by running almost the entire first half out of 3+ WR sets, and later ran most plays out of the gun.
  • This is all incredibly bizarre because the Redskins 4-3 was struggling against the run, not the pass. The Cards then got away from the run before the Redskins showed they could stop it.
  • Blache adjusted to all this by throwing in some dime coverages, getting Smoot into the game along with Horton and Doughty. This is significant because Blache has been very adverse to using that many defensive backs for one reason or another.
  • After the end of the first half, the Redskins benched Smoot again, instead replacing him with Leigh Torrence in the nickel packages.
  • The Redskins pulled London Fletcher out of the game on a 1st and 20, replacing him with Rocky McIntosh in the dime. Larry Fitzgerald ran an in route which Warner through just inside the fingertips of a diving McIntosh, and Fletch would not sit again.
  • Andre Carter missed a few series in the second half, but would return.
Right. So Blache was mixing and matching his personnel all day, clearly not confident with his own gameplan, but also, not really doing anything to solve the real issue: run defense.

Package Breakdown:

59 Defensive Plays
Base 4-3: 23 (39%)
Nickel : 9 (15%)
Nickel (3 safeties): 9 (15%)
Dime: 17 (29%)
Dime 3-2: 1 (2%)

Lots of defensive players played a serious role in this game.

Blitzes: 7

36 Total Passes
5+ rush: 7 (18%)
6+ rush: 0
Safety fires: 1

There you have it. Blache is a big fan of the safety blitz, but given the Cards WRs, they opted against dialing up much. I had one blitz from Doughty. They sent Smoot on a corner blitz, only to watch him rough the passer.

Pass Rush

The Redskins pressured, hit, battered, and yes, sacked Kurt Warner throughout the game. They rushed 4 guys more than 80% of the time. Hereís who to credit for a job well done:

Sacks:
Kedric Golston 1
Andre Carter 0.5
Rocky McIntosh 0.5

Pressures:
Andre Carter 2
Corneilius Griffin 2
Jason Taylor 2
Rocky McIntosh 1
Demetric Evans 1
Fred Smoot 1

QB Hits:
Fred Smoot 1
Kedric Golston 1

Passes Deflected:
Jason Taylor 3 (!) (3!)
Lorenzo Alexander 1

Warner looked rather rattled in the fourth quarter. That didnít take away from how Kurt carved up the Redskins most of the day, but it probably prevented the Cardinals from winning the game.

I donít think anything is Ďwrongí with Anthony Montgomery, heís just getting his playing time cut because Golston is playing very well right now. Lorenzo Alexander is also pushing for playing time, and thereís only two downs to go around, so itís tough to get Monty on the field right now. I expect to see him more down the stretch in run stopping situations.

Pass Coverage


This is the bread and butter of the Redskins defense, and no player in the Redskins secondary really played their best game as a Redskin. Yes, the Cards WRs are good. And the Redskins secondary made a bunch of great individual plays at times.

Iíd like to discuss the long TD pass for a minute. Gregg Williams decided after the 2006 debacle that the M.O. he would choose for the Redskins defense is that they would not give up ANY plays down the field. Last year, that plan worked perfectly while Sean Taylor was roaming the FS position, and then also worked well for 4 games when LaRon Landry moved to FS. This is the first time since 2006 the Redskins gave up a long TD with Landry or Taylor back there. On the play, both teams were in their base defenses. The Cardinals went with max protect, and the Redskins did not blitz Warner, who had all day to throw. The Redskins were in zone, and Rogers turned Fitzgerald loose when he went vertical. Doughty picked up the assignment, but Reed Doughty is obviously no match at all for Larry Fitzgerald, but LaRon Landry had the deep zone, and by all means the play should have been defended. When Fitzgerald broke to the inside, Landry must have seen a key on the route, because he had Doughty over the top, and figured he could jump the route and pick off Warner. Except for one little thing. He jumped a dig route and Fitzgerald took it to the post. Oops. Warner put the ball well out of Doughtyís reach. It was a great throw. Would Sean Taylor have defended the pass if he were back there instead of Doughty? Probably. But if Landry is going to gamble, he canít be quite as wrong as he was on that play. The Skins donít play Cover-2 all that often, and thats why.

The Redskins matched up in a lot of man coverage situations against the Cards receivers, and generally, they allowed Rogers to take Fitzgerald, and Springs to matchup on Boldin. Keep that in mind as we review the following:

The coverage numbers for the Redskins against the Cardinals

*Carlos Rogers - 5/6 44 yards, 7.3 yards/attempt, 67% SR against
Rocky McIntosh - 3/3 27 yards, 9.0 yards/attempt, 33% SR against
London Fletcher - 3/4 35 yards, 8.75 yards/attempt, 75% SR against
Shawn Springs - 1/2 7 yards, 3.5 yards/attempt, 50% SR against
Leigh Torrence - 0/2 0 yards, 0 yards/attempt, 0% SR against
Fred Smoot - 2/2 10 yards, 5 yards/attempt, 100% SR against
Reed Doughty - 1/3 62 yards, 20.7 yards/attempt, 33% SR against
LaRon Landry - 1/2 9 yards, 4.5 yards/attempt, 50% SR against
Marcus Washington - 1/1 10 yards, 10 yards/attempt, 100% SR against
*Iím counting the ticky-tack pass interference on Rogers as a completed pass.

15/36. (42%)

That was the success rate of the Cardsí passing offense. Looking at the numbers just above, you may be wondering why and how they failed. Pressure. Pressure, pressure pressure. Warner was unable to consistently get the ball to his receivers. In this aspect, the Redskins will really miss Jason Taylor, but in another aspect, the Redskins might have a better chance to beat Dallas without him.

Run Defense


Cards Rushing game SR: 12/23 (52%)

When the Redskins did things right against the run, all 11 of those times, itís because they were making great individual plays. Andre Carter made a full extension tackle. Rocky McIntosh blew up a few plays from his LB position. Griffin got some nice penetration and Fletch did his thing.

Letís take a look at the individual figures.

London Fletcher: 5 tackles, 5.8 yards per
Rocky McIntosh: 7 tackles, 2.4 yards per
Marcus Washington: 2 tackles, 5.0 yards per
Andre Carter: 2 tackles, 3.5 yards per
LaRon Landry: 2 tackles, 10.5 yards per
Chris Horton: 1 tackle, 3 yards
Reed Doughty: 2 tackles, 2 yards per
Demetric Evans: 1 tackle, 5 yards
Anthony Montgomery: 1 tackle, 12 yards
Corneilius Griffin: 1 tackle, 3 yards
Kedric Golston: 1 tackle, -3 yards

Rocky really looks like a breakout candidate this year, and Fletcher is the mark of consistency. Golston and Griffin did not have a huge impact on this game, which is not good because when they were pushed around, Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower really gashed us. Fletcher was chasing people all day, and even Landry was forced to run down runners in the secondary. The front seven is usually much stronger than this against the run.

Overall defense


Vital Statistics:
Total Yards: 319
Ave yards per play: 5.41
Cards Success Rate: 27/59 (46%)

Overall the defense got the job done, but it wasnít without worry. The yards/play is skewed by the long TD pass to Fitzgerald. Success Rate obviously paints a much better picture, one that was in line with the amount of points they gave up.

If the Redskins can get this sort of pressure on Tony Romo, they may overcome the Cowboys and win the game. The coverage unit has to play better, as well as the run defense. This outcome could have been far, far worse. But right now, the Redskins are 2-1, and sitting pretty only a game out of first place going into Big D this Sunday.
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:29 PM   #2
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

I really appreciate you taking the time to do this and posting it for the rest of us to see GTripp. Taylor really has an impact even if he does'nt get to the quarterback. Daniels is pretty good at knocking down passes too, but 3 is outstanding. I think Blache is going to see that we get pressure on Romo. I think he would rather give up the run so it does'nt become a shootout. Even if their run is successful. I don't know if the Cowgirls have the mentality or patience to stick with it. We can't allow them to run all over us, but a game like we had with the Cards may be to our benefit. Keep it close then let the offense do their thing.
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Old 09-26-2008, 08:41 PM   #3
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

great breakdown,awesome job
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Old 09-26-2008, 09:05 PM   #4
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

You should podcast these
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Old 09-26-2008, 09:40 PM   #5
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

I feel better about this thread:
http://www.thewarpath.net/redskins-l...-on-bench.html (Smoot: Time to sit on the bench.)

My problem with Smoot is that he isn't pressing his WR he is simply trying not to get beat deep.

I like having Horton, Doughty and Landry in at the same time. It gives us a different look defensively and forces the QB to know where each guy is because you could blitz any combination of them at any time.

Great Writeup!
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:21 PM   #6
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

The lame cushion Smoot game Boldin on his TD reiterated all I need to know about the guy. He's just not very good. I resisted this notion for a while, but it's pretty evident.

Great breakdown GTripp.
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:44 PM   #7
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

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Originally Posted by GMScud View Post
The lame cushion Smoot game Boldin on his TD reiterated all I need to know about the guy. He's just not very good. I resisted this notion for a while, but it's pretty evident.

Great breakdown GTripp.
Smoot has to give Boldin a cushion cause Boldin will toss him aside like a rag doll. Bottom line is we gave 17 to a pretty damn good offense. The defesne also held down Brees. Look what he did to Denver last week? We're certainly not the 85 Bears but we're bending but not breaking. So far I give this defense a B+.
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Old 09-27-2008, 12:44 AM   #8
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

good write up. thanks.
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:10 AM   #9
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

Good post. Alot of information and work. Good job.
The only part I disagree with you is the long TD. You really seem to imply the long TD was Landry's fault. I disagree. You already had two guys on Fitzgerald a CB Rogers on the short zone and a safety Doughty over the top. Rogers clearly released Fitzgerald to Doughy. Doughty's angle was all wrong. Landry was not even in the picture at that time of Roger's releasing Fitzgerald and Doughty was right there.
You can not have three guys (Rogers, Doughty and Landry) on one player, that will leave others uncovered. The play took all of 4 to 5 seconds before Fitzgerald had the ball in his hands. Landry having deeper coverage than Doughty does not mean Landry is responsible for every player that goes deep. He is only one person and can only cover one person at a time. It was clearly Doughty's man and he blew it. That is why Blache took Doughty out for a while after that play. He didn't bench Landry.

This Sunday will be a big test for our defense. Our ability to stop the run still concerns me especially since the only team we have played that had a good running game the Giants, had over 100 yards rushing in the first half. Our defense will have to bring it's A game.
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:45 PM   #10
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

I'm tired of hearing about our CBs cushion. We've been moaning about it for 3 seasons. CBs play the cushion they are told to play. It isn't something they have the latitude to decide on.
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Old 09-27-2008, 10:04 PM   #11
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

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Smoot has to give Boldin a cushion cause Boldin will toss him aside like a rag doll. Bottom line is we gave 17 to a pretty damn good offense. The defesne also held down Brees. Look what he did to Denver last week? We're certainly not the 85 Bears but we're bending but not breaking. So far I give this defense a B+.
I never said the D overall looked bad. I was just commenting on Smoot. He hasn't played well this year and Blache has obviously noticed.

As a whole, the D has played well. The tipped passes and turnovers as well as the overall pass D have been damn good. Springs and 'Los both at full go are a really friggin solid tandem.
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:13 AM   #12
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

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I'm tired of hearing about our CBs cushion. We've been moaning about it for 3 seasons. CBs play the cushion they are told to play. It isn't something they have the latitude to decide on.
AGREED! I love how fans act like Smoot or Rogers is going out there and deciding on their own "Screw what coach says, I'm playing ten yards off!" Coordinators do that a lot of the time to force the offense's hand, and if the corner comes up and makes the tackle then what's the big deal?
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Old 09-28-2008, 08:50 PM   #13
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

I've been hard on Smoot lately so I should be the first to say he had a solid game.

It was nice seeing him pressing his WR at the line.
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:28 PM   #14
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Re: Redskins-Cards Defensive Review: Fred Smoot Benched?

Yea, Smoot played well today. Seriously, though - he's like Glass Joe out there, with the injuries.
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