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Redskins v Eagles Offensive GT Review: Why the Eagles are so Good on D

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Old 01-15-2009, 09:25 PM   #1
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Redskins v Eagles Offensive GT Review: Why the Eagles are so Good on D

I owe you guys another set of Game Reviews from the week I missed (stupid Christmas), so enjoy the last of what I can produce this season!

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Hint: It has nothing to do with the blitz.

We're three weeks removed from this game, and I'm three days removed from watching the tape, so I'm going to have to consult my notes more than normal during this review.

One thing I keep coming back to is that Jason Campbell did not play particularly well in this one. He played much better the week before and the week after this. He did outplay Donovan McNabb though against a much tougher opponent. But he made a bunch of uncharacteristic mistakes under heavy pressure.

The Eagles get tons of credit for their effective blitzes, but they don't get enough credit for preventing plays down the field. The two longest plays in this game for the Redskins on offense came on the ground: a 19 yard scramble from Campbell, and a 14 yard draw to Portis.

In the first matchup, the Eagles made a mistake in their defensive scheme: they said that they were going to take away Santana Moss, who was the flavor of the month at the time, and relied on the front seven to dominate Clinton Portis and the ground game. Moss didn't have a catch in that one, but Portis went for 120+ against the Eagles run D, and the Redskins erased a 10-0 deficit to win.

The Eagles still were confident in this one that they could stop the run with seven, and the results were about par for the course for the Redskins running game. The difference in this one is that they didn't focus on taking Moss away as much as they did taking the short routes to Cooley and Moss away with man coverage scheme. Zorn got resourceful to beat this, as Ladell Betts led the team in receiving on this day.

The running game would have been a total non factor in this one had it not been for Fred Davis, who is one of the better blocking TEs I've ever seen. He's not exactly flawless, but he's incredibly useful. Seeing him take Darren Howard totally out of plays reminded me of Week 4 when Cooley was literally driving DefensivePlayeroftheYearrunnerup DeMarcus Ware out of bounds on running plays to his side.

Let me make a point here: the rate stats from the Ravens game and the Eagles game are below. See if you can tell which one is which game.

YPP: 3.48....S. Rate: 37.7%
YPP: 3.78....S. Rate: 36.7%

If you answered "Who cares?", then you've won this poorly constructed game! The Redskins played two of the top three NFL defenses in December, and had basically the same game.

Except wait, it wasn't exactly the same game, becuase the Redskins committed three turnovers against the Ravens (2nd line), and none against the Eagles (1st line). Even though the Eagles had every chance to get as many turnovers as the Ravens generated, their inability to convert Redskin offensive mistakes into turnovers very nearly ended their playoff hopes.

Just note...everytime someone calls Asante Samuel a playmaker this postseason...well...

Against the Ravens, the Redskins had some success through the air, but against the Eagles, everything came on the ground. Which is very bad for a team that has been unable to run the ball for a month leading into this one.

Pass Offense

Vital StatisticsTotal adj yards = 152
Yards per play = 3.90
Success rate = 44% (17/39)

There was some success in the short passing game, despite the best efforts of the Eagles to take it away. No pass generated more than 17 yards, and the offense hasn't had a big play threat for pretty much the whole second half of the year. That wouldn't change in this game.

Also, the receiver chart shows a pretty piss poor performance by most receivers. The Eagles have a rare combination of two shutdown corners in Sheldon Brown and (sort of ) Asante Samuel, so obviously it's hard to find holes down the field, but maybe the more disappointing thing is that the Redskins receivers, usually very reliable after the catch, went down very easily in this game.

Receivers
(Targets, Receptions, Success Rate, YPA)

Santana Moss - 8, 5, 37.5%, 3.25
Ladell Betts - 5, 5, 80%, 8.6
Chris Cooley - 5, 4, 60%, 5.6
Antwaan Randle El - 3, 1, 33%, 3.7
Fred Davis - 3, 1, 33%, 2.0
Devin Thomas - 2, 1, 50%, 8.5
Clinton Portis - 2, 1, 50%, 6.0
James Thrash - 1, 0, 0%, 0.0

When people talk about it "all starting in the trenches", I think there's a misconception that it means that the play is decided by what happens on the offensive and defensive lines every play. That's hardly true. It's a rare occurance that a defensive lineman gets to make a play. For the Eagles defense, it starts with their corners and their coverage abilities. They also happen to have great pass rushing ends, and those are the guys who more often than not will create the big play, such as Juqua Parker's strip sack on Jason Campbell on the Redskins first drive (Rabach recovered). But that's not where it begins for the Eagles. It begins with solid interior play, from the defensive tackles to the MLB Stewart, to the safeties. The defensive pass rushers simply make the plays when handed opertunities.

Offensive Line

They did a pretty good job in run blocking this game, and generally played very inspired all game long. Jason Fabini is no longer able to handle tackle in the NFL. He just cannot do it.

Jason Campbell, per usual, was his OLs best friend, usually getting rid of the ball just before a huge mess ensued. Pete Kendall got beat in this game on a third down and Campbell was dead to rights, only that he threw into the pass rush and took a lick to the chops while converting to Moss for a first down. This wasn't even against a blitz, just a blown block.

Rabach and Randy Thomas were again the main culprits in this game. Heyer gave up a sack, but it wasn't because of any wrongdoing on his part. He had good position and good leverage on Cole, but didn't know where his QB was, and couldn't protect the inside.

Rush Offense

Vital StatisticsTotal adj yards = 88
Yards per play = 2.93
Success rate = 30% (9/30)

Well, a 30% success rate is never any sort of good, and neither is a three yards per carry, and although the Redskins (Fabini) struggled with the blocking in power running situations. Clinton Portis had a pretty good day, all things considered. Ladell Betts had zero successful runs, and Rock Cartwright chipped in an unsuccessful attempt, so that's 8 attempts that Portis is not responsible for. He had 22 carries on the day, and 9/22 is not that bad of a success rate. He's just not really a threat to break through the safety level against this defense.

Runners
(runs, successful runs, yards per)

Clinton Portis - 22, 9,
3.18
Ladell Betts - 7, 0, 3.29
Rock Cartwright - 1, 0, 1.0

Overall Offense

Vital Statistics
Total adj yds = 240
Yds per play = 3.48
Success rate = 37.7%

By the end of the season, the Redskins offensive performances were so consistent from week to week that we knew exactly who they were. They do a lot of things well, and they have plenty of holes. The great defenses have no trouble shutting them down, but the weaker ones always allow their share of intermediate gains.

But as we close out the 2008 season, we have something to build on. Probably doesn't seem like it, thanks to all the negative plays that kill our drives in plus territory, but there are pieces in this offense. A big question heading into next year is Clinton Portis, can he remain effective? Can the Redskins find a deeper offensive line that opens up holes for Portis even with injuries?

There are improvements and adjustments to be made to get this team into the end zone, but I think we're a bit ahead of where we expected to be. The good news is that I see tons of room for offensive improvement, rather than an offense that has maxed out its potential.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:56 PM   #2
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Re: Redskins v Eagles Offensive GT Review: Why the Eagles are so Good on D

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Originally Posted by GTripp0012 View Post
But as we close out the 2008 season, we have something to build on. Probably doesn't seem like it, thanks to all the negative plays that kill our drives in plus territory, but there are pieces in this offense. A big question heading into next year is Clinton Portis, can he remain effective? Can the Redskins find a deeper offensive line that opens up holes for Portis even with injuries?
That is one of my biggest concern for next season; if Zorn continues to ride Portis like he did this year, except him to wear down later in late season.. I just hope Zorn will start to use Betts more, so that way Portis will be effective all year. Well, I hope Betts learns how to hold onto the ball..


And like always,
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:14 PM   #3
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Re: Redskins v Eagles Offensive GT Review: Why the Eagles are so Good on D

CP should be used sparingly as a between the tackles RB in the 1st half of games. Let Betts (or his potential replacement) get 15-20 consecutive carries in the 1st half and into the 3rd quarter and then turn the game over to CP. I would comfortably predict CP gets as many yards as this year but on fewer carries for more yards as the defenses will be wore down a bit.
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:25 PM   #4
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Re: Redskins v Eagles Offensive GT Review: Why the Eagles are so Good on D

Great Job
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Originally Posted by GTripp0012 View Post
The running game would have been a total non factor in this one had it not been for Fred Davis, who is one of the better blocking TEs I've ever seen. He's not exactly flawless, but he's incredibly useful. Seeing him take Darren Howard totally out of plays reminded me of Week 4 when Cooley was literally driving DefensivePlayeroftheYearrunnerup DeMarcus Ware out of bounds on running plays to his side.
This is great news, considering that Davis was considered to be a poor blocking tight end in the draft.

The parts about Jason Campbell were also great news(unless you are one of those people who hate Jason Campbell). Gtripp, do you believe if the Redskins get some o-line help that JC could return to his first half form of 2008?
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:08 PM   #5
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Re: Redskins v Eagles Offensive GT Review: Why the Eagles are so Good on D

Wow. Well done sir. Great read. Should think about replacing some of those guys that write for the Wash. Times.


[QUOTE=GTripp0012;520731]I owe you guys another set of Game Reviews from the week I missed (stupid Christmas), so enjoy the last of what I can produce this season!

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Old 01-16-2009, 02:28 PM   #6
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Re: Redskins v Eagles Offensive GT Review: Why the Eagles are so Good on D

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Gtripp, do you believe if the Redskins get some o-line help that JC could return to his first half form of 2008?
There's no doubt.

Campbell never broke down mechanically in the face of oncoming rushers and poorly developing plays. Perhaps he did loose a certain level of trust in his downfield passing game, but we just didn't have one last year and it wasn't for lack of trying.

We need the big plays back in the offense, meaning we need to improve the pass protection, and also, get multiple downfield receiving targets. Campbell just has to keep doing his thing, and not deviate from the things he does well already in an attempt to find a better overall result.
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Old 01-17-2009, 02:55 AM   #7
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Re: Redskins v Eagles Offensive GT Review: Why the Eagles are so Good on D

i agree
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