Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Day of the Coaches

The shock of the loss to the Giants wears off, but the seriousness of this defeat sinks in. It is rare to see a total team melt down. In the losses to the Broncos and Chiefs, aspects of the offense and defense looked strong. Although they lost, there was something to show how they might have won and every reason to be optimistic about this team. Nothing, absolutely nothing worked against the Giants.

This is when the coaches really earn their keep. Gibbs and company probably had tapes of the game broken down by Monday. They would have seen how the Giants exposed their weaknesses. Today's Washington Post reports how the Giants rushed through the defensive right, as have other teams since the Chicago game. Santana Moss' big plays surprised everyone. Brunell to Moss is the big gun that makes the Redskins offense work. Because of it, other players were open. Moss made the running game work better. But it was Portis and the ground game that was to make the passing game better. The Giants pressured Brunell with four rushers and dropped every one else into coverage, taking away the Moss option. When the Giants stopped Moss, they stopped everything on the offense.

It is insufficient to point to one or two flaws when the whole team failed to execute, but lets start with the O-line. On offense, the line failed to protect. The Giants covered receivers well. That meant Mark Brunell had to wait for someone to get open before throwing. The line had to hold off the Giant rushers long enough for that to happen. They didn't. Chris Samuels, a stalwart, struggled. I think he is hurt to the point that his play is impaired. Brunell wisely ate the ball a lot.

The receivers did not get open against the Giant zone defense. It didn't help that the receivers dropped nine passes, four by Robert Royal, who dropped a Patrick Ramsay touchdown pass. Failing to get open and dropping the ball looks a lot like the 2004 receivers.

When the Skins dropped behind early, they stopped running. Clinton Portis made only four rushing attempts. That's a coaching blunder. For this team, if you are within ten points, RUN THE BALL. Ok, ok, they were behind early by more than ten. Run the ball anyway. Portis should get at least twelve hand-offs every game.

Cornelius Griffin was injured on the first play and left the game. Without him the defensive line was ineffective against the run. They were likewise ineffective against the pass. The Giants planned to exploit the right side of the defense. Griffin's absence made it easier.

The Giants did the Redskins a favor by slapping them (and their fans) back to reality. In one game they exposed all their foibles. The Iggle's game plan is apparent. It will be something like:

  • Brian Westbrook runs and short passes against to the weakside, against the Skin's defensive right.
  • Take Santana Moss out of the game. Make David Patton beat you.
  • Don't be afraid of the run. The Skins won't beat you running. Drop to cover and let Jeremiah Trotter run down Clinton Portis.
  • When the time is right, go for the big play. The Skins give up two per game. Where are you TO?

I can see this. The coaches must know this. So, what are the Skins going to do about it?

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