Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

Tuesday Morning Quarterback Talks Skins, Trashes Giants


Recommended Posts


Congratulations to Shaun Alexander, Associated Press NFL MVP . Of the 51 winners of this distinction, all but five have been quarterbacks or running backs, and perhaps you guessed no offensive lineman has received the garland. Which is the reason this column annually bestows the coveted "longest award in sports" -- the Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-QB Non-RB NFL MVP. This year I'm going to force you to scan way down to see who wins.

"The Redskins blitz 60 percent of the time!" Thus Ron Jaworski gushed recently on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown. Sportscasters and sports touts love to extol the blitz. This was my annual weekend to chart every play of every game and prove, with stats, my contention that usually the blitz actually favors the offense. Tampa ran 66 plays and Washington blitzed six times -- that's nine percent, Jaws. And a good thing the Redskins did not blitz more; otherwise they would have lost. See a blitz stats blizzard below.

Stats of the Week: Joe Gibbs is 17-5 in the postseason.

Stats of the Week No. 2: Carson Palmer, who played two snaps, had more passing yards than Mark Brunell, who played an entire game. Noted by Tim Lowes.

Stats of the Week No. 3: Counting penalty downs, Cincinnati ran 11 consecutive snaps inside the Pittsburgh 20.

Stats of the Week No. 4: The Patriots defense allowed an average of 111 yards rushing in its first 11 games and an average of 57 yards since.

Stats of the Week No. 5: Washington had more return yards (155 yards) than offensive yards (120 yards).

Stats of the Week No. 6: One week after out-rushing an opponent by 186 yards on the opponent's field, the Giants were outrushed by 182 yards on their field.

Tootsie Rolls Notes: Note 1: All season the Bengals have been living high on interceptions. Yours truly warned three weeks ago, "Turnovers are half skill and half luck. It's hard to believe Bengals' takeaway success can continue at this pace." During the regular season Cincinnati finished No. 1 with 44 takeaways, almost three per game -- then failed to record a takeaway in its playoff loss. Turnovers are half skill and half luck. They're great when they happen, but you cannot rely on them. Note 2: When things aren't going your way, often the solution is to get back to basics. Run the ball. Don't try for an improbable super-fast score, just get some positive plays, recover your rhythm, prevent panic from taking hold. Cincinnati had been ahead 17-7 and feeling good; now the Steelers had just moved into a 21-17 lead. Cincinnati gained possession on its 34 with 5:07 in the third quarter, which is all the time in the world. What mattered was to avoid panic and get the run working as it has in every Bengals victory this season. Instead, Bengals coaches acted as if there were 30 seconds left in the game and an instant score was the sole hope. First down, long pass called; sack. Now it's second-and-19 and Pittsburgh, correctly anticipating a pass-wacky overreaction by Cincinnati, came out with a two-man defensive line, two linebackers and seven defensive backs. Run! Run against these skinny guys! Four-yard pass, then a penalty makes it third-and-20. Again Pittsburgh showed a mere two DLs. Run! Sack, punt, Pittsburgh scores the other way to make it 28-17.

Cincinnati went into full-blown panic mode when there was no need, when the Bengals were only down by four points in the third quarter. From the point at which Pittsburgh took its 21-17 lead at the 5:07 mark of the third quarter, Bengals coaches called just one running play for the remainder of the game, a contest in which Cincinnati averaged 4.2 yards per rush. Falling behind 31-17 with 10:29 in the fourth quarter -- enough time to score two touchdowns using a balanced attack -- the Bengals went incompletion, incompletion, incompletion, punt, and TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.

Sour Reserve of the Week: The defending champions leading 7-0, Jacksonville mounted its first drive, reaching first-and-10 on the New England 44. Reserve Alvin Pearman took the handoff running left, had a nice gain, saw he was about to be tackled, put both hands around the ball -- and fumbled. How can you fumble with both hands around the ball? Just to prove it was no fluke, later Pearman dropped a pass.

Sour Repetition of the Week: Game scoreless, Chris Simms looked into the left flat and threw to a double-covered receiver running the short out, interception. Now it's Washington 17, City of Tampa 10 with 1:05 remaining, Bucs' ball at midfield. Chris Simms looked into the left flat and threw to a double-covered receiver running the short out, interception.

Sour Tactics of the Week: Trailing 17-3, City of Tampa reached second-and-goal on the Washington 2. The Bucs came out super-jumbo with extra tight ends and no wide receiver, Mike Alstott up the middle for no gain. On third-and-goal, the Bucs came out super-jumbo with extra tight ends and no wide receiver, Simms bootleg touchdown. Now it's Redskins 17, Bucs 10 in the fourth quarter, Tampa faced third-and-1 on the Nanticokes 19. The Bucs came out super-jumbo with extra tight ends and no wide receiver, Alstott up the middle no gain. Now it's fourth-and-1. To this point, three times on power downs the Bucs have come out super-jumbo with extra tight ends and no wide receiver, for a net of 2 yards. Did they use a different tactic now? The Bucs came out super-jumbo with extra tight ends and no wide receiver, play-fake, incompletion, Washington ball.

Professor Dumbledore Lives! In the NFL, and I'm Guessing in the Next Potter, Too : When Joe Gibbs came back, yours truly highlighted his 16-5 postseason record and opined, "TMQ considers this the single-greatest accomplishment by an NFL coach." Now he's 17-5.

They Sure Lost As a Team: After an outstanding season, Jersey/A went down without a fight on its own turf. Carolina played well and had a smart game plan, focusing the attack on the Giants' depleted linebacker corps, which by the second quarter was accepting volunteers from the audience. The Panthers defense played the game that touts have been saying all season it could play: Jersey/A, third-ranked in scoring, never got farther than the Carolina 39.

But why was there no fight from the Giants, so little emotion on the Jersey/A sideline? By the second quarter, score only 7-0, heads were hanging and expressions blank around the Giants bench. Eli Manning was staring off into space, rather than red in the face and urging his teammates to fire up. When Jersey/A's second-half opening drive stalled, the Giants seemed as a team seemed to wave the white flag at that early point. Jeremy Shockey got the ball pulled out of his hands by a Carolina player, and responded by pouting for the rest of the game rather than getting psyched. (TMQ wishes voters would stop sending Shockey to the Pro Bowl on rep: He'll never realize his potential as long as he talks a better game than he plays.) Plaxico Burress gave up, not bothering to break up an interception on an errant pass his way. Last season, his Pittsburgh teammates accused Plaxico of disappearing during the Steelers-Patriots title game; last week this column wondered if his Pittsburgh teammates were wrong; this week this column understands his Pittsburgh teammates' view. As noted by numerous readers including Chris Johnson, once it became 20-0 the Giants strolled lackadaisically to the line instead of running to the line to work the hurry-up. On its drive beginning with 13:33 remaining -- still hope of a comeback -- Jersey/A used more than 20 seconds per play, which is a quitter's pace. You're being paid millions of dollars to chase a ball, maybe you could hustle to the line!

As for Jersey/A coaching, Tiki Barber was right to say the Giants were outcoached. The truism is, "Win as a team, lose as a team." If you lose, it is axiomatic you were outcoached: Coaches can't expect to be exempt from responsibility when things go poorly. Two examples. First, in October, Little Brother won the Denver game by throwing a touchdown on a crazy falling-backwards heave-hoe under tackle. At the time yours truly cautioned that pass was lucky, and Manning had to be broken of the habit. Numerous interceptions Eli has thrown since the Denver game have come on crazy falling-backwards heave-hoes, including the killer interception vs. Carolina. Little Brother's significantly increased interception rate in the second half of the season links to crazy falling-backwards heave-hoes. Why haven't coaches corrected this? Second, Carolina leading 10-0 in the third, the Giants faced fourth-and-7 on the Panthers 41. Sure, fourth-and-7 is a tough down. But the defense couldn't get Carolina off the field: The Panthers had converted five of nine third downs to that point. Meadowlands crowd energy was waning. This was the moment for Giants coaches to take a risk to change the flow of the game. Fortune favors the bold! Punt, and even the football gods quit on the Giants.

Stop Me Before I Blitz Again! (Annual Stats Edition): Didn't mean to pick on you, Jaws; many sportscasters and sportswriters overstate the degree of blitzing. Consider the four games this weekend. There were 463 offensive snaps and 57 blitzes -- 12 percent blitzing. That's probably a little lower than the league average, which I'd guess at around 15 percent. But then the wild-card entrants, being winning teams, are better than the league average. Winning teams blitz less than losing teams. The chicken-or-egg question I'll leave to you.

Washington has been blitzing less in the second half of the season, and here's an instance where injuries may actually have helped a team. The Redskins suffered cornerback injuries in November. As pointed out by James Collins, football coach at my kids' high school, cornerback injuries meant the tastefully named Gregg Williams had to provide safety help for the corners, which in turn meant Williams began calling few blitzes. Washington's defensive performance immediately improved. In their first 11 games, the Redskins allowed 20.3 points per game; during the team's six-game winning streak, which coincided with dinged-up cornerbacks and few blitzes, Washington has allowed 13.1 points per game. Elite corner Shawn Springs is expected back for the upcoming Washington at Seattle contest. For heaven's sake, tastefully named Gregg, don't use that as an excuse to go blitz-wacky.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-QB Non-RB NFL MVP: Who's most valuable -- the best player, the player hardest to replace? Can you be most valuable on a losing team? I don't know the answers to any of these questions: all awards are at some level arbitrary. So this year I have altered the Non-QB Non-RB NFL MVP premise a bit. I considered only those from the 12 playoff clubs, the teams whose season outcome is incontestably "valuable." I name one Non-QB Non-RB NFL MVP from each playoff team. First the honorable mentions, then the winners:

Chicago: Brian Urlacher

Cincinnati: Levi Jones

Denver: Matt Lepsis

Indianapolis: Tarik Glenn

Jacksonville: Mike Peterson

Jersey/A: David Diehl

Pittsburgh: Troy Polamalu

Tampa: Ronde Barber

Washington: Marcus Washington

The Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-QB Non-RB NFL MVP: Walter Jones, Seattle. There's a reason Alexander led the league in rushing, and that reason is fabulous blocking. There's a reason Alexander had 15 untouched touchdown runs, and that reason is fabulous blocking. There's a reason most of Alexander's record-setting tally of touchdowns occurred when he was running left, and that reason is that the left side of Seattle's line -- Jones at tackle and guard Steve Hutchison -- is fabulous. Repeatedly this season, Jones just leveled the man in front of him, even when the defense expected Alexander to run left: for instance in the Blue Men Group-Eagles game on Monday Night Football. Repeatedly when Alexander broke into the secondary, the very large Jones has hustled to accompany him: Check the tape of Alexander's 52-yard touchdown against Tennessee, Jones made the finishing block 20 yards downfield. And repeatedly, Jones got no help in passing blocking: not needing a back or tight end to help the left tackle freed more targets for the Hawks' passing game. If ever an offensive lineman should have been the NFL MVP, it was this year, and it was Walter Jones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even when he writes positive things about the Skin I can't stand this guy. I'm guessing stwasm posted a tenth of the column.

It was too long to post the whole thing. I got yelled at about doing that. So, I just clipped the Skins stuff and everything else that seemed interesting and would fit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was too long to post the whole thing. I got yelled at about doing that. So, I just clipped the Skins stuff and everything else that seemed interesting and would fit.

That is correct, sir.

My point was simply that Easterbrook is a man in serous need of an editor. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The whole blitz thing, while might be true, sounds like manipulation of stats:

"In their first 11 games, the Redskins allowed 20.3 points per game; during the team's six-game winning streak, which coincided with dinged-up cornerbacks and few blitzes, Washington has allowed 13.1 points per game."

Moot point. Griffin came back @ week 11! Plus our O has been on a roll with the running game. We haven't played any good O's last 5 games either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...