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Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

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Old 12-05-2008, 06:06 PM   #1
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Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

One of my favorite ways to begin these articles is to cite statistics, stats that I think foreshadow well the exact message I'm trying to convey. In this case, I'm going to give you two passing statlines from week 13, and you're going to try to guess who they are.

Player A: 15 for 16 (94%) for 154 yards (9.62 YPA), a 69% successful completion rate, 0 TDs and 0 INTs.

Player B: 9 for 22 (41%) for 105 yards (4.77 YPA), a 23% successful completion rate, 0 TDs and 1 INT.

It's a small sample size, and we don't know who the opponent is (yet), but it's likely that player A is probably a good quarterback, and player B is probably a poor quarterback. Or something of the sort.

Actually (and you probably saw this coming from miles away), they are the exact same quarterback: Jason Campbell, on Sunday against the Giants. Player A is Jason Campbell throwing to both of his Tight Ends, the fullback Sellers, and both Running backs. Player B is Jason Campbell throwing to his wide receivers.

In defense of the Redskins wide receivers, the Giants are far better at defending wide outs when compared to the league average than they are at defending tight ends and backs. Football Outsiders tries to prove this here. However, the discrepancy is still very real, and doesn't even include the greatest weapon Campbell had against the Giants: his own legs.

The Giants have a good secondary. At times, it can look like a great secondary. But there should be match-ups to exploit in it, and all I saw on Sunday was CB Aaron Ross dominating every receiver he lined up on the entire game. In Randle El's case, he had a bad game. He had a bad game up in Philly, a bad game on Sunday, but for the most part, he's been very reliable. The problems come when we look elsewhere.

Receivers
(Targets, Completions, SR, YPA)

Santana Moss - 8, 4, 38%, 8.1
Antwaan Randle El - 9, 4, 22%, 4.1
James Thrash - 2, 1, 0%, 1.5
Malcolm Kelly - 2, 0, 0%, 0.0
Devin Thomas - 1, 0, 0%, 0.0

Chris Cooley - 7, 6, 57%, 10.4
Ladell Betts - 4, 4, 75%, 5.5
Todd Yoder - 3, 3, 67%, 7.7
Mike Sellers - 1, 1, 100%, 20.0
Clinton Portis - 1, 1, 100%, 16.0

In the NFL, sometimes, you have a bad game, statistically. It's not always entirely your own fault. But on good teams, someone will usually pick up the slack. For the Redskins, apparently that means that Santana Moss will fail to catch more than half of what's thrown at him.

Look, the Redskins did not lose this game because they were unable to create the big play. The Redskins converted passes of 23, 21, 20, 17, 17, 16, 16, 15, and 14 yards over the course of the game. Most of those passes came in the first half, and only two came in what you would call "garbage time" (and it was the two shortest, the 15 and the 14 yarders). The Redskins lost the game because they were unable to sustain offense, but more specifically because throwing to the receivers generated losing-type football plays.

And don't even get me started on the depth at wide receiver. If this offense had Keenan McCardell and Reche Caldwell as the Nos 3 and 4 WRs, they'd be top 5 in total offense and we'd be averaging 27 PPG. Sometimes it really is that simple.

Pass Offense

Vital Statistics
Total Adj Yards = 271
Yards per play = 5.53
Success Rate = 40.8% (20/49)

I mean, that success rate figure is it. You need to be near 50% to be a top of the line ball control offense. Looking at DVOA figures from past seasons, the Redskins passing offense is as good as it's been in the last five years because it's turning the ball over at a very low rate (Clinton Portis had 6 fumbles in 2007, he has one this year. Jason Campbell has 4 picks in 2008, he had 11 in 2007. Campbell had 13 fumbles in 2007, he has 5 this year). However, the running game is how the Redskins offense chooses to grind out it's first downs and control the clock. And unfortunately, we've seen holes in the running game against Pittsburgh and New York (twice). And in those games, the Redskins have been held to single digits on the scoreboard.

Can the Redskins be a successful offense if the opponent is selling out to stop the run? I believe they can, but they cannot be the ball control, clock control, tempo control offense that Jim Zorn wants them to be right now without the running game. So the Redskins will have to generate plays down the field to Moss and Cooley if the opponent is going to put 8 in the box like the Giants did. And against teams who don't sell out against the run, the run, run pass strategy employed by Zorn is still effective.

Pass Protection

In the first half, Steve Spagnuolo's defense played right into the hands of Jim Zorn's offense. Spags played a safety in the box. So Zorn ran Portis a few times in the fourth quarter, and then he broke out the play action game. With the Giants offense forced to clog their run fits or risk being gashed by (at the time) the NFL's leading rusher, Campbell got virtually no pressure the whole half. At one point, Zorn ran three play action plays in a row, and Campbell was really running the offense well.

When drives fizzled in the first half, the receivers were at fault. Malcolm Kelly, Santana Moss, and Randle El each had one drop on 2nd or 3rd down in the half to kill a drive. Jason Campbell was standing tall in the pocket, moving around, and delivering the ball on time, and he was getting no help from the receivers in the rain.

The protection was very good. Rabach had a single breakdown, but that was it in terms of sacks, pressure, hits...Campbell was pretty clean in the first half.

In the second half though, the dynamic of the game changed a little bit. The teams were more used to the type of footing, and the Giants played much better on the pass rush. The Redskins REALLY needed to turn one of their first two drives in the half into points, because during those drives, they had good protection and the threat of a deadly running game. However:

The sloppy receiver play ended the first drive quickly. Randle El fell down on a simple out route on second down designed to get the Redskins in second and short, and then on third and long, Zorn caught Spags in an ill-advised blitz package, and Campbell put a perfect back shoulder fade for Malcolm Kelly, who failed to set up Aaron Ross for a catch, and allowed Ross to come back and attack his body. It was a rookie mistake, but that's the difference between last year and this year. Last year, that ball would have been on Campbell, as he likely would have heaved it too far and gotten intercepted or would have thrown it out of bounds. This year, he's more mature, made a world class throw an instant before getting hit in the chops, and Kelly did him no favors.

The Redskins got Randle El going on the next drive with a pass on 3rd down under heavy durress for the first down. Then they ran a (poorly designed) end around pass, and Randle El evaded a tackle in the backfield completing to Cooley. Then, Campbell tried a deep ball on the ensuing first down, and got intercepted by Aaron Ross inside the Giants 5. There was one similarity between the interception play and the fade pass to get Malcolm Kelly: Clinton Portis absolutely blew his protection assignment both times. On the fade pass, it just resulted in Campbell getting whacked after he released the football. But on the interception, the guy Portis was supposed to hit ran around him and got a piece of Campbell's arm just as he threw the football. On a shorter pass, Campbell would have been able to muscle it out there, but because the Redskins were trying to go down the field, the pass missed it's mark by 7-8 yards underthrown.

The Redskins had a few pass protection breakdowns in this game, but rarely was it the fault of the offensive line. Portis blew two protections. Sellers blew a protection. Cooley missed a single one. Rabach snapped a ball early (the guy is terrible) allowing the ageless Renaldo Wynn to get behind Jansen, who was still waiting on the snap count in his stance.

In the fourth quarter, once Justin Tuck stopped respecting the run, it was all over. He beat Rabach, he beat Thomas, he beat Jansen, and he blew up Portis in the backfield. The Redskins knew that they needed the Giants to respect their running game to have a chance. No NFL team is ever going to come back in the Giants trailing by more than a TD in the fourth quarter. It's just not going to happen. Justin Tuck can not be blocked by one man if he's not playing a run fit. He's the best defensive end in the game. The Redskins OL came prepared and did a great job on him most of the day, but the receivers let them down early, and they were just overmatched in the fourth quarter by a better team.

Rush Offense

Vital Statistics
Total Adj Yards = 52
Yards per play = 4.0
Success Rate = 23% (3/13)

Stat of the season...on runs in this game where a designed run was called for a player that was not Clinton Portis, the Redskins converted a first down or a touchdown 100% of the time. Clinton Portis, in 11 carries, did not gain a single first down.

Even against the 8 man fronts, there were holes there. Portis spent most of the day cutting back, when he needed to run front side. The OL was opening some holes (not a lot of them), and Portis was not hitting them at all. I don't blame Zorn for getting away from the run when it wasn't working, but outside of the one screen pass that Portis took for a first down, he easily played his worst game of the season.

I know what he means to the team, but if he's too hurt to block or run front-side, he's got to sit. We're only going to kill him by leaving him out there, and if he can't help the team win, we really have to protect our investment and leave him on the sideline.

The Devin Thomas end around announced the return of the concept of misdirection to the Zorn offense. You may remember misdirection from such activities as the four game winning streak, and balanced football. Also, the offensive line sold it very well and all five of them earned gold stars for the acting on the play. Jason Campbell also earns an award for looking fierce enough in blocking to make Michael Johnson think he was being blocked on the play when all Campbell really did was give him a shove.

Rushing Chart
(Runs, Successful runs, Yards)

Clinton Portis - 11, 1, 21
Devin Thomas - 1, 1, 29
Ladell Betts - 1, 1, 2

Overall Offense

Vital Statistics
Total Adj Yards = 323
Yards per play = 5.21
Success Rate = 37.1% (23/62)

Success Rate is so critical for a ball control offense, and 37.1% just isn't going to cut it against the New York Giants and their offense. As successful as Zorn has been this year on a play by play basis, it might be time to change up the philosophy for the balance of the year. If we can't sustain offense, and he doesn't feel comfortable running the pure west coast to protect Portis, I think he needs to throw caution to the wind and just try to go for the big play every other series. Run, run, bomb. It's not ideal, but it is what this team is built for. Hopefully, in future years, this offense will resemble the safer, ball-control type passing offense that Zorn so badly wants to run, but right now, let's take advantage of Campbell's play-making ability, let him look down the field to Kelly, Cooley, and Moss, and allow him to use his legs like he did in this game if the defense gets out of their lanes.

Again, this is not my favorite type of offense but it's really all we can do at this point. I just don't see any other short term solutions. Plus, that's how the Giants and Colts managed to beat the Ravens anyway, so as they say, we might as well give it the old "College try".
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:15 PM   #2
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

I think this proves what Mark Twain said about ‘Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics’
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Old 12-05-2008, 06:18 PM   #3
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by YellowBirdy View Post
I think this proves what Mark Twain said about ‘Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics’
Sorry for wasting my time and yours.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:40 PM   #4
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

great analysis as usual,espn should put u on the payroll
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:53 PM   #5
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

Sorry, I meant that as a joke not to be rude. It was really interesting analysis.
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:54 PM   #6
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Thumbs up Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by YellowBirdy View Post
I think this proves what Mark Twain said about ‘Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics’
Might be true if Tripp just threw the stats out and said have at it. This thread would have people pontificating every position known to man, BUT that's not the case. Tripp gives solid detailed analysis and I personally look forward to it every week. Plus he covers things you can't see on the TV view.

Bottomline
Thanks for all your effort GTripp!
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:55 PM   #7
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

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Originally Posted by htownskinfan View Post
great analysis as usual, espn should put u on the payroll
Or maybe the Redskins.....
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Old 12-05-2008, 07:59 PM   #8
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

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Originally Posted by CRedskinsRule View Post
Might be true if Tripp just throught the stats out and said have at it. This thread would have people pontificating every position known to man, BUT that's not the case. Tripp gives solid detailed analysis and I personally look forward to it every week. Plus he covers things you can't see on the TV view.

Bottomline
Thanks for all your effort GTripp!
I emphatically agree. These game breakdowns are far and away the most detailed and informative posts on this site on a weekly basis.

Not that I don't enjoy this site otherwise- I love this place - but very few if any people on here have an understanding of the game to the extent of Tripp, so we're lucky to have this kind of quality stuff. It's like our own in house Ron Jaworski, without the annoying glasses.
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:15 PM   #9
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

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Originally Posted by YellowBirdy View Post
Sorry, I meant that as a joke not to be rude. It was really interesting analysis.
I know you weren't trying to be rude, I just wish you would have read the analysis parts before commenting on the value of the statistics.

Thank you (and everyone) for the kind words.
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:22 PM   #10
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

Well, when I initially read the thread title I was going to make a smartass comment like "no shit sherlock... anybody could see the receivers are sucking."

But seriously, the analysis is awesome and as wiser folks say, the devil is always in the details.

Thanks again GTripp
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:15 PM   #11
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

Good work GTripp as always. I've been calling for the long ball for awhile now and most of the response's were, " You can't go long if you don't have time." Our lack of going deep is what caused defenses to know how to play us IMO. Now it looks as if we have no choice. Thomas had a TD called back, I believe it was in the Cardinals game, on a penalty by Heyer. That's the last time I remember the ball being thrown to him on anything other than something short. Winning, and therefore being in the playoff race, has probably caused us to take less chances with our passing game and our rookies. Our offense is usually a pretty easy read. I believe our lack of taking chances before, has left us in a position where now, taking chances are our only hope. The onus is on the receivers. If they can't catch or run the correct route, they have no business being a wide receiver in the NFL. Put some pressure on the rookies and they might step up. Nobody wants to look stupid. We're not Nebraska or Oklahoma from the 80's. This is the NFL. You better have some kind of passing game if you want to win. Campbell may have to roll out or be in the shotgun more. Whatever. Adjust.
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:25 AM   #12
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

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Originally Posted by GMScud View Post
I emphatically agree. These game breakdowns are far and away the most detailed and informative posts on this site on a weekly basis.

Not that I don't enjoy this site otherwise- I love this place - but very few if any people on here have an understanding of the game to the extent of Tripp, so we're lucky to have this kind of quality stuff. It's like our own in house Ron Jaworski, without the annoying glasses.
Hate to be redundant, but I agree completely. Can't say it enough, the GTripp game breakdowns are the best thing going on The Warpath. If ESPN won't put you on the payroll Matty should at least throw you a few bucks
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:38 AM   #13
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

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Hate to be redundant, but I agree completely. Can't say it enough, the GTripp game breakdowns are the best thing going on The Warpath. If ESPN won't put you on the payroll Matty should at least throw you a few bucks
feel free to become a premium member and I'll throw your $25 to Gtripp
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:44 AM   #14
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

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feel free to become a premium member and I'll throw your $25 to Gtripp
HA! Very well played sir.
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Old 12-07-2008, 03:42 AM   #15
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Re: Giants vs. Redskins Offensive GT Review: It's on the receivers

portis was hurt, our WRs suck.

run run bomb worked pretty well for us the last time around (91).

our OL/talent level isn't as good though.
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