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JLC: Monday Afternoon H-Back


Chump Bailey

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http://blog.washingtonpost.com/redskinsinsider/

Monday Afternoon H-Back

Rantings from a printer-smashing lunatic:

27 rushes ain't going to get it done. 40 is the magic number, we're all in agreement on that up here on this blog, right? So when you have a 14 point lead against a division foe at the half, you don't rush the ball just 10 times in the second half, right? Betts and Portis should have clsoer to 21 carries each, than 21 carries combined, right, for a smashmouth NFC East team?

Betts and Portis combined for 6 carries in the second half - TOTAL - and both of Ladell's came on the final two offensive plays of the game. Wanna guess the first time in the entire second half when a RB got the ball handed off two straight times? Yep, Betts at the very end. The only prior time the entire half they even completed two straight runs was on their first drive of the fourth quarter, when Moss, a WR, went on the end around and then Portis got the ball. (they would have run two straight times on the next drive, but Campbell and Portis could not execute the hand-off on second down and the fumble cost them the possession.

They had to try to at least pound it 3 straight times at some point to keep the defense off the field, and never did. Yeah, it was tough sledding - 10 rushes for 17 yards in the second half as a team - but neither runner was ever given a remote opportunity to get in a rhythm. Some are saying the Skins were too conservative in the second half. Not me, I think the cutesy end around on first down after the Giants tied it at 17 sent the wrong message. Run Portis behind Samuels/Kendall 3 times and see what happens. You can't give up 14 first downs over a 24 minute stretch of the second half and not produce a single one on offense. without really playing to your strength.

And yeah, so then you find yourself down 24-17, but you have good field position with 5:32 to play (Washington 38) and 3 timeouts plus the two minute warning. What would you do? Try to finally establish the run a bit, or put it entirely in Campbell's hands?

Here's what they did:

1-10 WAS 38 - INC to Moss deep (good call, not a bad time to take a shot and JC overthrew it, a bad miss on his part)

2-10 WAS 38 - pass to Portis for 2 yards

3-8 WAS 40 - pass to Randle El for 12 (ARE was a stud again, more on him later)

1-10 NYG 48 INC to Randle El

2-10 NYG 48 pass to Betts for 13

1-10 NYG 35 INC (Sellers)

2-10 NYG 35 INC (deep to ARE)

3-10 NYG 35 SACK - gee, you don't think the Giants could tee-off now, eh, after 7 straight passes???)

PUNT

Now, somebody explain that me? Seems to me coaching had a whole lot to do with this choke job all around. And the firedrills at the end of halves are comical now. Let me get this straight, watching players run towards the sidelines and back four times at the end of the half, that's normal? Should the Hall of Famer on the sidelines have a tighter ship?

Riddle me this: Six days after they nearly blew it in Philly in the first half you spike the ball on first down at the goal line in order to get Pucillo and your jumbo package in the game, then throw on second down? Couldn't you throw on first down, and if incomplete then get you other personnel in there? Do you have to waste that down? The second-half adjustments - or lack there of - and weird coaching stuff never stops, and they continue to abandon the running game (anyone else have visions of the loses to Oakland and San Diego at home in 2005? Think I've seen this rodeo before back when Gibbs was calling the plays).

While we're talking about coaching/management, it seems to me something is awry when the wide receiver you gave $10 million guaranteed can't even get on the field in four-wide sets with the game on the line and you need big yards downfield, and when guys like James Thrash and Todd Yoder are deemed more helpful even in these critical situations, then just sit the WR. If nothing else, at least Lloyd has speed, but if you're not using him here, then don't dress him at all

That situation is a joke all the way around. Have Caldwell, who at least has some size and has made some plays, up and make No. 85 inactive, whether Caldwell is allegedly ready to help out on special teams or now. It's not like any WR on the roster other than Thrash is playing teams, and 85 surely ain't, so I'm not buying the rhetoric about Caldwell being inactive because of special teams.

So with the offense in desperation mode on the final drive, the franchise RB and a WR you just gave $10 million a few years ago aren't even on the field? Strange. Portis has been the only part of the offense actually getting in the end zone, but on the final two plays Betts gets his first carries since being dropped for a four-yard loss on third-and-1 from the New York 25, when 46 seconds remained in the first half?

Watch the Right Side of the O Line: Randy Thomas's absence is huge. Back in 2005 it took about 2 weeks before the running game stalled, and I wonder how long before DeMulling, who is more athletic than Fabini, gets his shot. Of their 23 scripted runs as a team Sunday (excluding JC's scrambles, 9 went to the right, including Randle El's end around). Those nine rushes produced 28 yards, and 5 of those runs were for two yards or less.

I don't blame them for going left on the final two plays of the game (though I was thinking at one run would be a QB keeper or maybe Sellers inside) - and they had success slicing that side of NY's defense early in the game - but I think a lot of the tackle eligible stuff that used to be so effective on sweeps and outside zone plays have now been switched to the left with Randy and Jansen out, and they'll have a hard time being as balanced with the run now.

Carlos Rogers - Is he really anything other than an average corner with above average skills? I'm willing to give him more time, but we shall soon find out, 'cause he's going to be getting attacked. I actually thought the Skins would win this game with ease - something I based to large extent on Burress not practicing all week and me thinking he'd be limited at best - and figured they'd stumble against Arizona and Detroit, because of what those teams can do through the air.

So now you're talking about facing some huge WRs out of the bye -

Johnson/Williams, even that Furrey dude makes plays for the Lions -then going to Green Bay, where Favre and Driver are killing people, and then facing the best WR tandem in the NFL with the Cards (Boldin/Fitzgerald), and then going to Foxboro for the 38-point-per game Pats. Down the road there's two meetings with Dallas - the best offense in the NFC - and somehow I doubt the Eagles will take so few deep shots at the Skins the second time around in November

So trust me, a month from now we're going to know plenty about Carlos and just how improved this secondary is. The problems with tight ends and big WRs going off on 20-30 yard routes from the slot reappeared. It was a killer last year in the Cover-2, and the Skins ended up playing a lot of that Sunday as well (early in the game Landry was playing centerfield a bunch in the Cover-1, and seemed okay, which is a nice idea to get Taylor active near the line. 'Cause Grim Reaper wasn't getting much action in centerfield, and his INT yesterday was a gimme. Still waiting for some big plays from him.

Going back to last season the Redskins have yielded 32 TD passes to just 8 INTs. Over the last 19 games only one player - Reaper - has more than one pick for them (he has 2). The Redskins had not had two INTs in a game since Nov. 26 of last season.

JC was not OK. A lot of guys were bashing him on my webchat the other day and I was kind of stunned. If you want to be hard on him, now's the time, but people were jumping the gun before. He still sails too many balls and his intermediate stuff - save for some crossing routes - is generally erratic. The fumbles have to be a concern. He got away with a couple of poor throws that could have been picked. He has trouble throwing left and I'm not sure why they roll him left, 'cause that seems real problematic right now.

Bottom line, he looked his age, and that's no surprise, not in the least. If he hits the second deep ball to Santana (and you're not going to see a better catch than the one Moss made on that 49-yard bomb in the first half) and he's 5-5 as a starter and getting more praise. But in reality he still has a ways to go and there are going to be some days like there were he completes less than half his attempts and doesn't have it for stretches of the game. But they were in it 'til the end and they're still dropping too many balls as well.

He's going to be very good, but not on every single Sunday. It doesn't work that way.

ARE is a gamer. Got to give him his props again. Dude plays way bigger than he is. His punt return on the last drive and fearless dive to catch that high ball down to the 1 would have been remembered for a long, long time ... had the Skins found a way to get the longest yard.

Derrick Frost is getting off. He's playing big in a contract year, folks. Was booming the ball again yesterday.

Antonio Pierce lives to play the Redskins. He has their number and he has a mojo. Has a way of snuffing out the running game and anticipating where the ball is going. No surprise he comes up with that big fumble recovery

And, last but not least: "We're all in together," in case you weren't certain of that. (PS - missed that riveting Dan Snyder interview. Let me guess the synopsis - He's disappointed by last year's 5-11 record but has faith in Coach Joe and thinks the future's bright? And, why would they ever mess wit their front office structure, right? Did Golf Cart George throw him any fastballs with the questions?)

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JLC is right.

It's not that we were conservative. I dont know why people keep saying that. It was just BAD playcalling. And bad execution. Both need to happen to stink as much as we did in the second half.

And the game management on the last drive was simply horrendous. It doesnt get worse than that. Makes our coaches look like incompetent chokers.

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They didn't have more carries because the run wasn't successful. The Giants were cheating so heavily against the run and daring us to pass. Yet the gameplan still consisted of runs on first and second down, pass on third and then punt. Can't sustain a drive that way. If they would have varied the approach a little they would have had more opportunities to run the ball because the would have had more plays.

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He is right about everything. ESPECIALLY THE FIRE DRILL. There is absolutely NO excuse for how inept Gibbs is with clock management and fielding a smart team that doesn't panic when the game is on the line and the clock is running. It doesn't pain me to associate myself with a team that loses. But let me ask you this people: does it not pain you to be associated with, bar none, the stupidest coaching staff in the league? Take off the shades and admit it. They're stupid with the spikes and subbing and timeouts and all the other garbage at the end of games. That's what I'm ashamed of, it's embarrasing.

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27 rushes ain't going to get it done. 40 is the magic number, we're all in agreement on that up here on this blog, right? So when you have a 14 point lead against a division foe at the half, you don't rush the ball just 10 times in the second half, right? Betts and Portis should have clsoer to 21 carries each, than 21 carries combined, right, for a smashmouth NFC East team?

This is just idiotic. The Giants offense controlled the ball in the second half. When the Skins tried to run, they got stuffed and went three and out.

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The whole, spike the ball throw to Sellers thing was inexcusible. You have to belive these guys practice these exact scenarios in practice but I'm starting to wonder if they really do.

I don't know. I mean...its like they had no concept of time, and how much was left. And no concept that throwing the ball would stop the clock if it was incomplete.

Throw the ball to Sellers on first down - then you have 3 more to do whatever you want with, and still have 50 seconds (which is an EON when you only have one yard to go).

Its mind-boggling how bad they were on that last drive with game management. Did anyone ever say whether or not Campbell spiked the ball on his own, or if the coaches were telling him to do so?

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The whole, spike the ball throw to Sellers thing was inexcusible. You have to belive these guys practice these exact scenarios in practice but I'm starting to wonder if they really do.

It would have worked had JC not thrown it so low. I actually think a lot of the blame on the goalline goes to JC. He panicked, because he's young, and spiked the ball. Then, we have a run play which almost gets us in. Then, JC rushes everyone back to the line unnecessarily. JC could have waited on that last play until the clock ran down to a few seocnds. Instead, he got in there, rushed the play (i.e. panicked again) and Betts tripped over Sellers.

JC is steadily getting better, but his independence will get better as he gains more experience. Then he won't have to rely on the coaches calls in crunch time so much. He's still a work in progress, and unfortunately the whole team faltered while he was struggling yesterday. I don't think he's going to be passing more for awhile, but I understand with the right side of the o-line injured why he was passing more in this game. We have 2 weeks to work on the line and JC, and I wouldn't be surprised to see DeMulling starting at guard when we play Detroit. Once the line is solid, the whole offense will be again.

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He makes some good points, but I think he's missing some points on the "didn't try to establish the run in the second half" line he's taking.

On the four second half possessions before NY took the lead, we ran the ball 6 of 11 plays (not counting the QB scramble on an obvious pass play). 3 of the 5 passes were on 3rd and long (a 3rd and 7, a 3rd and 6 and a 3rd and 5). 3rd and long is certainly not a time to try to 'establish the run'. So, his apparent complaint is that we only tried to run on 75% of the 1st and 2nd down plays (6 of 8), with one of those two passes being a screen to Portis. And those 6 runs produced a whopping total of 17 yards and a fumble.

As for the drive he highlighted, I disagree. 5 and a half to go, down a TD and the ball on your 38 is no time to try to 'establish the run'. If you want to argue that we should have mixed in a run or two, that's fine. But 'establishing the run' at that point was not an option. Not a good one, anyway.

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I agree with him on those end around plays. I don't think I've seen that reverse work once since they've been running it. Those running plays to Randle el and Moss need to be completely thrown out. He's also right about Randy Thomas, Jason Fabini clearly is not the answer at guard but given the staff's stubborness I'm sure he starts next game. Jason was more uncomfortable in the pocket than I've ever seen him yesterday, he still holds onto the ball way too long.

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It would have worked had JC not thrown it so low. I actually think a lot of the blame on the goalline goes to JC. He panicked, because he's young, and spiked the ball. Then, we have a run play which almost gets us in. Then, JC rushes everyone back to the line unnecessarily. JC could have waited on that last play until the clock ran down to a few seocnds. Instead, he got in there, rushed the play (i.e. panicked again) and Betts tripped over Sellers.

I don't think it has to do with panicking more than lack of experience. If it was a more veteran QB back there, maybe we run a play. But, with the young guy in there, maybe they didn't want to rush him back out there.

I think the fumble was more of a panic move. I think he looked over and saw Moss limping and then looked to the bench when the ball was snapped.

Jason

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That exact end around play worked huge once or twice last year. With the breakaway speed and agility of Santana it isn't necessarily a horrible play. I dont remember exactly what game it was but it worked when we ran it one or twice and got a more than decent gain last season. Obviously didn't work quite as good this time around. While we are talking about trick plays. Where is the WR Pass Option that Randle El used to run in Pittsburgh that worked so well so many times?

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To be honest, the Giants were making GREAT plays to stop those plays for a loss. I still think they needed to throw down the field to loosen things up a bit.

Really, for the whole running game, all you needed to see was the fact that we didn't get a first down until we lost the lead to know why we didn't run it enough. It wasn't because the will wasn't there.

Jason

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