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Skins-Lions GT Review, Offensive Version

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Old 10-30-2008, 01:34 AM   #1
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Skins-Lions GT Review, Offensive Version

The Redskins needed a game where the offense dominated the opponent. Sunday was not that game. The Redskins generated most of the big plays in the game, but despite another 120+ yard day from Portis, the Lions did a great job against the run. Portis carried 24 times, but only had 7 successful carries. Three of those seven went for more than 15 yards, which allowed Portis to rack up the yards quickly, but the Lions (of all teams) became the first Redskins opponent to win the line of scrimmage battle against the Redskins. Stephon Heyer did just fine against the run, but he's no Chris Samuels. Without the Samuels/Kendall combination on the left side, the Redskins are a mediocre rushing offense.

What the Redskins struggled with on the ground was totally made up through the air. 20 out of 36 passing calls were successful, and that includes all the holdings, offensive pass interference, sacks, and the whatnot. Those alone make up about 5 plays. Jason Campbell was incredible. He saw the same amount of free rushers as he normally does, and has this hard to quantify ability to make pass rushers' miss -- so long as he is expecting it. Jason Campbell's two longest TD passes of the year (both lead changing passes to Santana Moss) have involved totally unblocked rushers. The only thing Campbell needs to improve his the ball security when he gets hit from the blind side. The rare sack is fine, but he's got to take the ball to the ground with him.

The only goats in this game are on the offensive line. No one played a great game there. Heyer struggled in pass protection. Jansen struggled to stay within the boundaries of the game, and not draw critical flags. Rabach was a big problem again (in pass pro). Randy Thomas was more bad than good. The only bright spots were Kendall (who was more steady than dominant), and Heyer's/Rabach's ability vs the Run. Randy Thomas blocked very well on two screen plays, but really struggled everywhere else. With Samuels out, the Redskins really needed Thomas to step up, and he didn't do so. Luckily for the OL, Jason Campbell bailed them out on 3 or 4 separate occasions where he would have been sacked in a fair world.

Zorn's Gameplan

In a few words: greatly compromised by the personnel available to him. It relied heavily on Campbell's ability to beat blitzes with his arm, but also to get the ball into the hands of his WR's quickly. With Samuels in the game, Zorn absolutely gets away from the run when the Lions begin to load the box, and Campbell sits back and picks the Lions to sheds (which he did anyway on 35 attempts). With Heyer in, Zorn had to rely more heavily on Play Action and quick passes to account for the fact that Heyer, a talented RT, is a serviceable at best LT. The Redskins have no one else who can play a competent LT besides Heyer and Samuels. Chad Rinehart was not active, but he's the next guy in line, and he struggled to block 2nd teamers in the preseason. Pressure in the face of QBs affects certain ones differently than others, and with Campbell, it's really not a big deal when pressure comes because he's tall and sees the field so well. Unlike of course, the last 4 QBs the Redskins have faced, who can't throw with pressure in their faces.

Obviously, the team is mentally drained, and could really use a blowout victory, but getting the win is the most important thing, and Zorn's turnover-aversive gameplan shows this. Kudos to the patience he showed when his team trailed even into the second half, knowing that the Lions were still right where he wanted them. The Redskins didn't need Samuels to win this one, but perhaps people see now just how critical he is to the Redskins.

Pass Offense

Vital Statistics:
Total Adj Yards = 287
Adj Yds per Play = 8.0
Success Rate = 56% (20/36)

What was wrong and right about the passing offense was explained above. The Redskins spend way too much time fighting themselves for yardage through the air. The Quarterback is disciplined. That doesn't mean the entire unit is. The Redskins have 3 OPI penalties this year, which has to be around the tops in the league. It's a rare penalty.

Receivers
(Targeted, Catch %, SR, Yards/Target)

Santana Moss -- 11, 82%, 55%, 12.7
Chris Cooley -- 8, 75%, 75%, 9.25
Antwaan Randle El -- 3, 100%, 100%, 15.7
James Thrash -- 2, 50%, 50%, 14.5
Devin Thomas -- 2, 50%, 50%, 4.5
Clinton Portis -- 2, 50%, 0%, 3.0
Todd Yoder -- 1, 100%, 100%, 14.0
Shaun Alexander -- 1, 100%, 100%, 9.0

Santana Moss is pretty irreplaceable at this point. The whole point of drafting two 2nd round WR was to make sure that the offense still fires on all cylinders if Santana gets hurt, but that hasn't materialized. Devin Thomas can pretend to be a deep threat, but you can't get that seven in the box for Portis if 1) Moss doesn't stretch the field, 2) Randle El doesn't hold the intermediate, and 3) Cooley doesn't control the middle of the field. The Redskins can find (inferior) guys to do the final two tasks, they can not have another guy stretch the field like Moss can.

Clinton Portis is lining up as a receiver in more and more third and long plays, and I say: why not? He's proven to be a very valuable receiver, better than subbing him out for Thrash or D. Thomas. Plus, most defenses stay in the nickel if Cooley and Portis are in the huddle, so it gives Jason Campbell some more matchups to exploit. Portis usually occupies a cornerback, so it's Cooley that gets the poor cover safety and gets open.

Randle El is the Redskins' money man. He's never the focal point of the gameplan, but aside from one awful day in Philly, he's always come through when Campbell throws him the ball. He never sees more than 5 targets in a single game, but he frequently has 100% catch rates at the end of games, and that's invaluable. Considering that he can also run and pass the football, he's a guy that needs to be in the game as often as he can be, arguably more often than Moss. He actually leads the Redskins in Yards per Target, which is impressive considering that Moss gets all the big 35+ yard plays.

These defined receiver roles did not exist in the Al Saunders offense, and in my opinion, are one of the biggest reasons that WR has gone from a weakness to a strength in one season.

Rush Offense

Vital Statistics:
Total Adj Yds = 120
Adj Yds per Play = 3.75
Success Rate = 25% (8/32)

Okay. I pointed out at the top that the Redskins OL is far better blocking for the run than for the pass. So if this is the case, why were the Redskins so consistently successful at throwing the football, and so inconsistent when running it. I don't have a complete answer. But I have a partial one. My reasoning: Jason Campbell is such a benefit to any offensive line, the way he slides around the pocket cannot be taught, even by Jim Zorn, and the way he sees everything a defense does, he is truly ahead of his years. Shaun Alexander carried the ball 7 times (one was called back by a facemask penalty). He is also well beyond his years, but he's a running back, so that's not a good thing. Alexander hurts the offensive line's production. His success rate as a Redskin is 11% thus far.

But what about Portis? His numbers were more in line with the Giants' game than with any of the games since then. He only had 7 successful carries out of 24. Well, I'm going to credit the Lions here. Despite some good blocking for Portis, they always seemed to have one more tackler than the Redskins had blockers. This killed them against the pass of course, but the Lions weren't going to give Portis anything. Of course, sometimes the Lions would totally overpursue the play, and then Portis would break hard into the secondary. This resulted in more than a couple big runs by Portis with a compromised second level. Thus, he runs for 126. Those are the plays that were missing for Portis last season in games like this. Last year, this game is a 20 carry, 70 yard performance for Portis. This year, 24 for 126.

THAT is why Portis should be the league MVP. Even when the defense over-schemes to take him away, and is by and large successful, he ends up hurting them in other ways.

Overall Offense

Vital Statistics:
Total Adj Yds = 423
Yds per Play = 6.22
Success Rate = 41.2% (28/69)
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:06 PM   #2
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Re: Skins-Lions GT Review, Offensive Version

Good break down. I agree that Randle El is an overlooked vital cog. Not big numbers, but makes the play when needed.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:15 PM   #3
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Re: Skins-Lions GT Review, Offensive Version

Very well done as usual.
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:23 PM   #4
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Re: Skins-Lions GT Review, Offensive Version

Randle El will be featured this Monday night on Monday Night Countdown. Fluff piece
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:52 PM   #5
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Re: Skins-Lions GT Review, Offensive Version

whats the bottom line? i didnt see the lions game( was working) why isn't the offense scoring more?
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:46 PM   #6
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Re: Skins-Lions GT Review, Offensive Version

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmek25 View Post
whats the bottom line? i didnt see the lions game( was working) why isn't the offense scoring more?
Inconsistincies on the OL prevent the team from sustaining drives. Campbell and Portis both can create the big plays, but Heyer in for Samuels at LT is a huge downgrade, and hurts the bottom line, as Heyer was responsible for one turnover and nearly a second.

The rest of it is just the Redskins shooting themselves in the foot with penalties and the occasional drop/incomplete pass on the sideline when Moss probably should have gotten both feet in. Simple mistakes that compound into a 25 pt performance against a crappy defense.

Tough to score a lot of points when your OL is losing the battle up front.
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:42 AM   #7
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Re: Skins-Lions GT Review, Offensive Version

Game valuation:

1) Campbell
2) Moss
3) Cooley
4) Kendall
5) Randle El
6) Portis
7) Sellers
8) Heyer
9) Rabach
10) Jansen
11) R. Thomas
12) Thrash
13) D. Thomas
14) Yoder
15) S. Alexander
16) L. Alexander
17) F. Davis

Cooley had a rough day in run blocking for the first time in awhile, but he did enough for the passing game to stay at or near the top.
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