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    • By Destino in ES Coverage
      Good afternoon Redskins nation!  I’m in beautiful Landover, MD with Spaceman Spiff who has been pulled away from Instagram models and tailgating and sent down to the field to do what he does best (roll around in the mud).
      Let’s get down to business...  Can we block them?  There are other story lines entering into this game but worrying about them feels largely academic.  The Texans have two terrifying pass rushers and the Redskins intend to block them with optimism and underdog stories.  Alex Smith isn’t a statue but he does take time in making decisions and getting the ball out.  This combination looks disastrous.  The sort of thing that has us all after the game consoling each other with things like “well, it was just a bad matchup" and “we caught them at the worst possible time.” 
      Or... we could walk away wondering just how the heck this team managed to pull off another improbable win.  Last week the gave up something like twelve thousand yards of offense to the Bucs, I’ll have to check those numbers to be sure, but only three points.  That’s not supposed to happen.  Maybe we can enjoy an outrageously unlikely result again.  Not probably, not likely, but you know... maybe.  I’m saying there’s a chance.   
      I’m here for that chance.  (and you know... the free food and climate controlled free seats) 

      1st Quarter Update
      Redskins are running their bend and break defense, and I’m not sure a little over three quarters is enough time for the Redskins offense to close a 10-point gap.  I’m having flash backs of week nine, but having human emotions is considered “disruptive behavior.”  I'm fine.  Everything is fine. 
      That Quinn celebration, whatever that was, was the highlight of the 1st quarter. 
      2nd Quarter Update
      Is there a better way to start a quarter than by scoring a touchdown?  There is, if you follow that TD drive with a forced turnover on defense.  Things are looking good! 

      So much for that.  A great start was quickly ended up canceled out by the Redskins offense.  With a chance to take a lead Alex Smith throws a pick six in the red zone and takes the air out of the stadium.  He followed that up by throwing another interception on the very next drive.  Alex Smith almost made me forget about Vernon Davis dropping that pass.  Almost. 
      Texans missed a field goal attempt and the lead remains frozen at 10. 
      This quarter feels like a giant blown opportunity.  
      Halftime Update. 
      I should have stopped at one hotdog.  I deserve this.
      3rd Quarter Update
      You know the feeling where you say and think all these bad things about a player and then he breaks his leg and you immediately feel bad about it?  I live there now.
      Colt McCoy has freed me from that place of sadness! 
      As much as I love this defense, they have to start forcing teams to punt at some point.  Is there a stat for defense tha thas forced the fewest punts?  We have to be near the top of that list.  Texans have punted just once today.  Holding them to three was good, though.   
      The lead is down to six and Colt McCoy has arrived to save us.  (Please let that be true.) 
      Personal Note:  Someone just stomped, loudly, out of the press area like a while muttering at his phone.  Laughter and comparisons to toddlers followed him.  The media's laugh is an evil laugh!  Good times. 
      4th Quarter Update
      Colt has brought us back.  Welcome to the first lead change of the season, Redskins fans.  You like that?!  (Yeesh, was that always so lame?)  I guess you could say Adrian Peterson contributed by actually scoring the touchdown.  I bet Colt told him to score though, so you have to factor leadership into things.
      Once again, the defense cannot force a punt, hard to feel great about holding a team to a field goal when that field goal gives them the lead in the 4th quarter 
      Remember that whole "can we block them" thing?  The answer was absolutely not on the Redskins 2nd drive of the 4th quarter.  Watt and Clowney each sacked our man Colt, and ended that drive before it really had a chance to begin. 
      Horrible, no good, very bad holding called on Norman gifting Houston a first down at the worst possible time for it.
      Colt chooses to throw deep at an inopportune moment resulting in a 60+ yard attempt for an injured kicker.  Heartbreaking end to a game that cost this team entirely too much (via injury) yet still seemed to be within reach several times. 
      I'm off to the post game press conference and locker room, check back later for updates.
      Final Thoughts
      I’ve always found it preferable to watch my favorite team simply get destroyed, than to feel that they were the better team and still managed to lose.  The Redskins gave this game away with mistakes in the 2nd quarter.  Fred Davis makes a routine catch and Alex Smith doesn’t throw a pick six, and the scoreboard shows at least 7 fewer points for the Texans.  Even if the Redskins had settled for field goals, that’s a 13 point swing in 2 point game.   
      Losing the game wasn’t even the worst part.  Losing Alex Smith, for at least the remainder of the season, is likely enough to push the Redskins past the point where they can continue toughing their way through key injuries. 
      We'll all feel better after a win against the Cowboys next week. 


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Chalk Talk: Offensive Line Fundamentals

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Please note that the actual blog link I post has the post with all the html on it. So don't be confused by all the stuff going on if you choose to read from there. :)

Enjoy :)


So I did a little bit on defensive line technqiues, thought it would be polarizing to go over some OL basics.

Terms to Know:

3-Point Stance: An offensive lineman stance that has two feet and one hand down on the ground. Three points of contact with the ground.

2-Point Stance: An offensive lineman stance that has two feet on the ground, without the hand down. Two points of contact with the ground.

LOS (Line of Scrimmage): The line where the previous offensive play ends and where the next one begins. It's also where the OL lines up pre-snap.

Shoulders Square: Shoulders parallel to the LOS.

Get Cloth: Grabbing the defensive players jersey without allowing any separation.

Base Fundamentals

- Get off the rock!: In english, I'm saying when the ball is snapped, you should be out and ready to block immediately. You must get into the defender quicker than he can get his arms extended into you on run. In pass you want to get out of your stance quick enough to locate the defender that you want to block. Getting off the rock should be easy for a lineman, seeing how they know the snap count, but alot of times they're still slow, or they're too fast and cause a false start.

- Keep Leverage:Defensive linemen want to get leverage so that they only half to beat half a man. What this means is that they are trying to get their hands on side side of the OL's body, more than likely at the pec (chest muscle) and the shoulder (especially in a one-gap assignment). If they succeed in doing this, they can turn the OL and get passed them with ease. So what the Ol needs to do is make that DL have to beat 3/4 of a man by getting directly in front of him using good footwork and staying low. Once the block is engaged the OL must stay lower than the DL and drive with the insteps (on run).

- Eyes on the Target: See what you hit! Period. If your eyes/head are up you can also pick up a sightline on a blitzing backer much easier. It is important that the OL is always communicating with one another regarding blitzers, stunts, alignments, etc.

- Know Your Steps: Know and master the footwork necessary for each play and blocking scheme.


- Different schools/colleges/teams use different stances. I'll go over the one I like best.

Feet parallel to the LOS with the foot of the side that you play on slightly back. It's a staggered stance. For instance, if you're a right guard/right tackle, your right foot is back. Left guard/tackle, your left foot is back. Center has his feet even with one another. Centers are always in a 3-point stance, guards are almost always in a 3-point stance and tackles are usually in a 2-point stance.

- Shoulders must always be square to the LOS. It doesn't matter if you're in your stance or in midblock. An OL should NEVER turn their shoulders. Thou shalt not open the floodgates :)

- Bend at the waist with knees slightly bent. Coaching keys are butt down, proud chest (arched back). If your back looks like a table top, you're easy to defeat. 45 degrees is about right. Weight needs to be evenly distributed between both feet.

- In a 3-point stance, the hands that's down should have minimal weight on it. Putting too much weight on that hand puts you off balance. A good, quick DL that can get off the ball quickly can throw you to the ground easily if there is too much weight on the hand.

- Off hand should be ****ed just inside the thigh ready for contact.


- When the ball is snapped, on run, the OL must get out of his stance quickly and take a short (6 inches of less) step towards his man, while keeping his shoulders square to the LOS. He must stay low through contact. Whoeever gets lower generally wins, but strength, speed off the ball and talent level are factors that can effect the match-up.

Rules of Thumb:

- Thou shalt not open the floodgates (heard that one before? :))

- NEVER cross your feet.

- One foot must be grounded. The second you come off the ground, you'll come back down on it in a hurry with your back flat and a 300 pound man running you over.

- Keep your head back. If your helmet is forward your weight isn't centered and you're giving an opportunity for the defender to push you head first into the ground.

- Never lunge at a target. Get into them with a strong base, staying low, feet shoulder width apart, helmet back, back arched. This will prevent the defender from eating you alive.

When Blocking:[/u]

- Explode through the defender with hips and drive defender with legs (on run) through the insteps.

- Hand placement needs to be on the breastplate of the defender, grab cloth.

- Holding occurs on every play. An OL needs to get cloth with their hands. You can do that by using flexion in the wrist so your palm is towards the defender and fingers up. Advantage is it's comfortable. Disadvantage is that your elbows are far apart and a defender can chop your hands off of him pretty easily. Another way to achieve this is the double under. The double under is palms towards the defender, fingers down and gripping the breastplate with fingers. The ref won't call a hold unless the defender gets his hands on you and separates, so don't allow separation and there's no issue. :)

Types of Blocks:

-Base Block - Normal block, going against the guy in front of you.

Reach Block - Reach step. Get your helmet and hands around the outside of the defender and get your butt around towards the hole that the runningback is running towards. This type of block is used primarily with a toss play. Hand placement is under the outside armpit and outside shoulder of the defender. Gain ground with the first two steps and drive the defender out of the way.

-Gap Block- Power block to the inside. 45-degree step inside. One hand needs to be on the inside of the defenders body and one on the outside. Keep the helmet in front of the defender and get him out of the way. Drive and drive hard. Violent block. Open the damn hole :)

There's much, much more on OL play, but I figured we'd start there and see where that takes us for now :)

As always, if you have any comments/questions/whatever, let me know. I tried a little bit different format this time with the terms to know. Feedback is welcomed :)

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