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Old 10-15-2009, 09:20 PM   #1
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A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

I really have no idea where I can start with this unit, so let's just start with the burning question on everyone's mind: why is Anthony Alridge on the roster?

Wait, no, that's not it. We'll start by trying to figure out where Jim Zorn stands after this loss.

Um, actually, .

Actually, I'll just start talking about the offensive line. Stop me when I say something you haven't heard before.

The pass protection in this game was beyond horrendous. And no, it wasn't all D'Anthony Batiste's fault. He's pretty overmatched as a left tackle in this league. But the Panthers were getting significant pressure on Campbell in this game with a three man rush. That's a new one. The inability to pick up simple blitzes is one thing that the Redskins struggled with at times last year, and they made an improvement in that aspect this year. Of course, why would you ever blitz the Redskins if you can get free runs off the edge with a three man rush?

The Panthers are not a big blitzing team. They blitzed 4 times in this game with very good success, generating a sack, a hit on Campbell, and a batted pass. But the remarkable thing is that the Panthers got this pressure on the passer without any notable contribution from any of their defensive tackles. Absoultely all the pressure in this game came from the edge. And when you consider the strugges that Casey Rabach has had in pass protection the last three years, you'd have to think that any team with a competent pass rushing DT is just going to tee off on Jason Campbell. The Redskins can alter their protection schemes to make up for a lack of talent at the tackle position, but there is nothing they can do schematically if the middle of the line is breaking down as well. Then you just break out the short passing game and let your playmakers on the outsi...then you pack it in and call it a year.

Right now, with Samuels on the mend, the best player on the OL has been Stephon Heyer. He'll slide across to LT this next week, which will be the ultimate test to see if Heyer is truly a big league prospect on the OL. The Redskins ask a lot of their offensive tackles in the pass protection game, which is the reason they felt like they had to part with Jon Jansen. Heyer is better suited to execute the system than Jansen. And he's been good. No holding flags in the last three weeks, and only one sack allowed. Not to mention he's been much improved in the run game. Heyer has been a miserable failure at LT in the past, but his big improvement at RT gives me hope that he can be a solid rock on the offensive line at LT. Of course, if he screws up his footwork playing on the wrong side, there's no hope for the unit.

Presented without additional comment: Mike Williams will start at Right Tackle in an NFL game this week.

Actually, he'll probably look just fine against Kansas City with a guy on his inside shoulder. Against a blitz, he'll have help from Portis so he won't have to turn out. Which is good. If Heyer can handle the responsibility of a big time LT, this game might just go over well.

The person who will really need to step his game up (poor choice of wording) against KC is Jason Campbell. More specifically, he's going to have to do more work from the pocket than he's had to do in past weeks. Every progression Campbell has made to this point in the season has been based around the concept of stepping up in the pocket and making plays with his legs if no one breaks free from coverage downfield (which never happens). This week, he's going to have to stay in the pocket and make plays with his arm. The Chiefs nickle and dime backs are beyond awful, so even for this receiving corps, mismatches will be there.

Against Carolina, this was a problem. When Jason Campbell did have time to throw, no one was getting open. Chris Cooley wasn't open the whole day with a few exceptions, but only when Campbell was falling victim to the venerable three Panther pass rush. Carolina had apparently seen the Tampa Bay film, and decided they weren't going to get beat deep: there was not a play in the game where both safeties for Carolina lined up on the screen. Essentially, they did with Chris Harris what we do with Laron Landry: there wasn't going to be any deep passes completed between the numbers. The one really well executed big play happened when Santana Moss snuck in behind all the linebackers but in front of the safeties in the middle of the field. Just because the Panthers play a schematically sound defense doesn't mean they necessarily execute it well.

The quarterback play in this game was a lot better, but Jason Campbell is still struggling with moving through his progression too fast, and this is sometimes resulting in short (3-4 yard) sacks when the protection is fine. The offensive scheme is not helping: these are often two receiver routes against tight zone coverages: each receiver has two guys on him. They probably aren't open, though I would be able to make a more conclusive statement with a better camera angle. Campbell will on occasion run outside of his protection when he has time, but this appears to be a conscious decision to throw the football away rather than a fundamental flaw such as "happy feet". Keep in mind that sometimes when you see Jason throwing a football out of bounds with two guys in his face, the offensive line might not have screwed up, it could just be that the receivers were not open (which happens all the time).

What the Panthers did do was show teams exactly how you can stall the Redskins offense by just not giving Chris Cooley a clean release off the LOS. Jason Campbell will find the open man, even with Cooley covered, but the end result isn't always bad for the defense. Sometimes, the open man will be Fred Davis on third down, and that guy has no clue where the sticks are. Randle El and Malcolm Kelly are doing fine, IMO, but they are what they are: not number one receivers. Randle El has never been more than a number two, and right now, Kelly is a number three with number two type potential.
  • Malcolm Kelly -- 51st overall pick in 2008
  • Antwaan Randle El -- 62nd overall pick in 2002
Which comes as no surprise.

My personal interpretation is that Santana Moss' effort continues to be spotty. He's still got it: the route running ability, the quickness in and out of his cuts, he's not aging as quickly as it seems. But I feel that when he feels like the other team is taking him out of the game strategically, there's not a whole lot of desire to fight through double teams when he doesn't think he's getting the ball. I've caught him dogging it on film earlier in the year, though not so much recently. Santana's effort as a blocker is still there, it's not like he's completely giving up on his team, but I think he's completely disenchanted with our offensive scheme. I'm just not sure he ever bought in. But when you're getting paid what he is, that's no excuse.

Lineman Yards Update

1. Mike Sellers 5.22 LY (37 attempts)
2. Chad Rinehart 4.77 LY (16 attempts)
3. Chris Samuels 4.32 LY (25 attempts)
4. Mike Williams 4.23 LY (11 attempts)
5. Stephon Heyer 4.06 LY (37 attempts)
6. Will Montgomery 3.58 LY (9 attempts)
7. Chris Cooley 3.43 LY (25 attempts)
8. Casey Rabach 3.41 LY (47 attempts)
9. Randy Thomas 3.35 LY (5 attempts)
10. Derrick Dockery 3.21 LY (52 attempts)
11. Fred Davis 2.97 LY (9 attempts)
12. D'Anthony Batiste 2.5 LY (2 attempts)

Lineman Yards does not penalize Mike Sellers for trying to string every run to the outside. Since there's no point of reference, I couldn't tell you if these numbers are saying that Mike Sellers is our best run blocker, or that he's simply a lead blocking fullback with a selection bias that benefits him. If Portis and the coaches are giving you a picture of his blocking that's inconsistent with LY, go with them. In my opinion, he's blocking on film about as well as he did last season when he made the pro bowl.

Issues with Zorn's Scheme

Contrary to popular belief, it's clear that Zorn doesn't just trot out the same 7 or 8 offensive plays every game. In this game, we moved the pocket, we ran naked bootlegs, we lived off the lead draw play, we broke out the slant pass that this offense has been sorely lacking, and we attacked with a few all vertical plays. Zorn's trying a whole bunch of different formations (an empty backfield ace formation was among the most unique), he's trying to get everyone involved, and unlike last year, he's giving his unit every chance to score. The reason the Redskins rank 27th in the league in points scored/game is because of execution, not because of anything Zorn's failing to do. The Redskins averaged 3.91 yards per play in this game, which would be a mediocre rushing average, except that includes all plays.

The reason we're losing close games to bad teams is as much Zorn's fault as anyone elses though, and that really is the bottom line. The second half game management was just horrendous. I think Zorn, in making the decision to punt the ball back to Carolina at around midfield on 4th and 5 greatly underestimated how easy it is to run off five minutes of game clock when the other team has no timeouts. Ask Tampa. Carolina ran only six plays to end that game. They needed to get only one first down to put the Redskins offense in a situation where a touchdown drive would have been basically impossible. I'm not saying I wouldn't have punted in that situation, especially since I thought the defense could have made Carolina go three and out, but it would have been mighty tempting to keep the game in the offenses hands.

Secondly, the Redskins, who after the Clinton Portis one yard TD run lead 17-2, ran the ball only three times before the Redskins found themselves trailing in the game. Of course, that spanned only two drives, and one of those drives was a three and out, so eh. But the Redskins, in the past, have always run to win. And in this game, with an 8 point lead, they did not run, and they did not win. On top of that, Carolina was getting killed at the line of scrimmage all day when we went downhill at them, and won the battle all day when we dropped back and tried to throw.

Of course, running the ball is basically giving up any chance at a play longer than 12 yards, and Zorn needs to score points to have any chance to save his job. So there's that. But we've also put our quarterback under center on 85% of the snaps where he's clearly less comfortable, and we're going to run play action? I like the ingenuity in the gameplan, coach, but like your players, your execution on gameday has been poor.

Final Word

A small step forward from the offensive disaster of last week, pretty much entirely because of improvement (reversion) in quarterback play.
  • 3.91 yards per play
  • 37.7% success rate
  • 2 procedure penalties
  • 0 turnovers
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Old 10-15-2009, 09:49 PM   #2
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

Actually I found ....everything about their performance.....Offensive!
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:36 PM   #3
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

Great stuff as always. Thanks GTripp.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:06 AM   #4
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

Thanks Gtripp. According to you, Heyer is playing pretty well which is what I thought. I don't understand all the bashing he gets, especially since it seems we've been running better to the right. Good stuff!
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:54 AM   #5
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

This isn't really related to the thread but I wanted to ask you a question G. DOes JC ever change the damn snap count to try and throw the D 's timing off a bit? It just seems to me that the D line knows the snap count after about 2 drives. They anticipate the snap and they are consistantly in the backfield before JC has even completed his drop. This would help in the run game also if you can get the d back on there heels a bit.

I thought since you watch so much film you would be the one to ask.
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:03 AM   #6
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

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Originally Posted by gibbsisgod View Post
This isn't really related to the thread but I wanted to ask you a question G. DOes JC ever change the damn snap count to try and throw the D 's timing off a bit? It just seems to me that the D line knows the snap count after about 2 drives. They anticipate the snap and they are consistantly in the backfield before JC has even completed his drop. This would help in the run game also if you can get the d back on there heels a bit.

I thought since you watch so much film you would be the one to ask.
Yeah, it's not really Campbell's fault but you've hit on a pretty big issue. Most of what the Redskins do is done with 5 or fewer seconds on the play clock, so any variance Campbell puts in his cadence isn't going to get an attentive DL to jump. It also causes him to run out of time on the play clock whenever he tries to audible. So if it looks like D-Lineman get a jump on our OL when we are passing, it's because they are.

Now, when we run the ball, we break the huddle much sooner, snap count is much more varied, and our OL usually gets off the ball before they do. After watching about 20 Redskin games in slow motion, I can pretty much tell whether the Redskins are running or passing by their tempo on offense.

I would imagine this isn't exclusive to the Redskins, but I wouldn't know.
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:15 AM   #7
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

Good job, nice that the meat the post seems to put positive spend on JC, Heyer, and others but what I see is very average-below average playing. As an entire unit, they are horrendous I would say one of the bottom 5 in the league. We need new talent EVERYWHERE, especially O-Line. Yes we bash Zorn and he is too blame I wouldnt say he is 99%-50% of the problem...Im starting to think the our players are really not that great. Look and think about our talent and the first half so far:...look at the oline, wow really bad,...... now think of our receivers, that one hurts my brain,........now think of our RB talent,havent shown much this year......now think of JC and our QBs, nothing really to say he has earned an extention........Im sorry but our offense is stinks and I appreciate the effort Gtripp
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Old 10-16-2009, 11:24 AM   #8
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

It all starts up front. A quality OL can make average players look good, and good ones look great. Until the FO gets this through their thick skulls expect more of the same.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:45 PM   #9
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

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It all starts up front. A quality OL can make average players look good, and good ones look great. Until the FO gets this through their thick skulls expect more of the same.
Maybe the "Dan" should get Vinny to have that tattoed on his lower back so when they have their "meetings" Dan will be reminded of that.
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:11 PM   #10
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

Vinny with a tramp stamp huh

Ugh gross visual
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:12 PM   #11
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

Not sure if his stamp should be upside down or not?
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Old 10-16-2009, 04:08 PM   #12
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

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Originally Posted by GTripp0012 View Post

Issues with Zorn's Scheme

Contrary to popular belief, it's clear that Zorn doesn't just trot out the same 7 or 8 offensive plays every game. In this game, we moved the pocket, we ran naked bootlegs, we lived off the lead draw play, we broke out the slant pass that this offense has been sorely lacking, and we attacked with a few all vertical plays. Zorn's trying a whole bunch of different formations (an empty backfield ace formation was among the most unique), he's trying to get everyone involved, and unlike last year, he's giving his unit every chance to score. The reason the Redskins rank 27th in the league in points scored/game is because of execution, not because of anything Zorn's failing to do. The Redskins averaged 3.91 yards per play in this game, which would be a mediocre rushing average, except that includes all plays.

The reason we're losing close games to bad teams is as much Zorn's fault as anyone elses though, and that really is the bottom line. The second half game management was just horrendous. I think Zorn, in making the decision to punt the ball back to Carolina at around midfield on 4th and 5 greatly underestimated how easy it is to run off five minutes of game clock when the other team has no timeouts. Ask Tampa. Carolina ran only six plays to end that game. They needed to get only one first down to put the Redskins offense in a situation where a touchdown drive would have been basically impossible. I'm not saying I wouldn't have punted in that situation, especially since I thought the defense could have made Carolina go three and out, but it would have been mighty tempting to keep the game in the offenses hands.

Secondly, the Redskins, who after the Clinton Portis one yard TD run lead 17-2, ran the ball only three times before the Redskins found themselves trailing in the game. Of course, that spanned only two drives, and one of those drives was a three and out, so eh. But the Redskins, in the past, have always run to win. And in this game, with an 8 point lead, they did not run, and they did not win. On top of that, Carolina was getting killed at the line of scrimmage all day when we went downhill at them, and won the battle all day when we dropped back and tried to throw.

Of course, running the ball is basically giving up any chance at a play longer than 12 yards, and Zorn needs to score points to have any chance to save his job. So there's that. But we've also put our quarterback under center on 85% of the snaps where he's clearly less comfortable, and we're going to run play action? I like the ingenuity in the gameplan, coach, but like your players, your execution on gameday has been poor.
Once again agree with you for the most part.

Why wasn't Rhino up?
Was on the injury report?

My main problem with Zorn's playcalling is imo his over-reliance on the running game early in games.

Its counter to our strengths, its counter to the WCO philosophy and its counter to Zorn's previous playcalling.

I just hope the OL doesn't cause him to retreat further into a reliance on the running game.
With Heyer at LT instead of Batiste it should be an improvement on Campbell's blindside and if the were to play Williams out of position at RG then he should be good enough to start at his natural position and Montgomery is as good if not better then Rhinehart and i thought Rhinehart was playing well.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:00 PM   #13
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Re: A Redskins-Panthers Offensive Review Undeserving of a Title

Very nice as usual.
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