Category: Film Room


During his off time from coaching(2009-2010) it has been well publicized that Mike Shanahan traveled to New England,Pittsburgh,Oregon, and Florida to study other philosophies. Going into year 3 of the “Shanaplan” you can see the influences of Belicheck in how the team has worked the draft and team managment to a degree. I see the influences of the Pittsburgh Steelers in our defensive scheme switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4. What we have not seen yet is what exactly was Mike looking to take away from two of the brightest minds on zone read option football in Chip Kelly and Urban Myer? I don’t think anyone thinks Mike is going to scrap his offense and transition into a Zone Spread full time but what if his master plan is to marry the two run schemes together? I remember watching Gruden’s QB camp with Ryan Tannehill and at one point Gruden was in aw as Texas A&M ran the zone read scheme along with west coast pass concepts.

We knew Mike Shanahan went to Florida but most people didn’t know Myer took his staff to Atlanta to be schooled by Alex Gibbs. Now if you don’t
know the name Alex Gibbs he was Mike Shanahans Offensive line coach from 1995-2003 with the Denver Broncos. Gibbs is widely respected around the league as the godfather and biggest proponent of the zone blocking scheme and its use in the NFL. Posted below are the classroom sessions from the UF/Gibbs coaching sessions and while they may be long (1 hour each) they are filled with great information on everything included in the stretch scheme and future advances.Im sure you would rather learn about our scheme from a master rather than myself so check it out and enjoy and let us know what you think in the comments.



If one thing has been clear through the first four weeks of the season, it’s this; this year’s Robert Griffin III isn’t making playing quarterback look as effortless as he did last year, the offense doesn’t look as easy anymore, and teams aren’t playing him scared. Last season, Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan mentioned that, because of the threat of the read-option, teams remained passive and didn’t blitz RGIII as much. With the run game clicking, this created wide open receivers as linebackers continuously jumped to stop the run.

This season, teams have done a far better job of defending the read-option looks. Because of that, they feel a lot more confident about blitzing. Add to that a run game that’s been slow to start up, and defensive dysfunction on the other side of the ball, and that puts a lot of pressure on Robert Griffin III to make plays from the pocket.

In essence, this is like Robert Griffin III’s second rookie year, and almost in mid-stream, the offense has shifted. RGIII is already dealing with putting trust in his surgically repaired knee. At this point, what’s holding him back seems to be mental, not physical, both on the trust side, and on a steep NFL learning curve level.

While it’s easy to make excuses for his play, part of Robert becoming a better rhythm, pocket passer, is critiquing what he’s doing right and what he’s doing wrong. Athletes like Steve McNair and Steve Young both had to learn the nuiances of the position in order to take the next step, and that’s something RGIII must do as well. As much as people have demanded that Kyle Shanahan “open the offense up”, RGIII has to demonstrate he can execute the basics and perfect what he’s being asked to do now, before Kyle can install new concepts. It’s like starting over for scratch, but it’s a necessary evil if we want RGIII to be the kind of quarterback we know he can be.

Each week, RGIII has improved little by little. But he still has things he needs to work on if he wants to get better.

On the Redskins second offensive drive, Kyle Shanahan is going to have a simple high low read. Leonard Hankerson is going to run the curl, while Darrel Young is running an out in the flat.

On this play, Hankerson is going to be the primary and DY is going to be the second read.

From the All-22 we can see the corner is in a real dilemma here. Essentially, he has to defend two players in man coverage. This should be a win for the offense, right?

Notice RGIII has a clean pocket to throw from. He’s reading Hankerson deep. The corners hips are turned, which should leave DY open in the flat. In this case, Rob has two choices, in my mind. He can pump the flat, hope the corner bites, and then he has a wide open Hankerson for a first down. Or he can take DY in the flat.

Part of what’s been baffling about watching RGIII playing this year is his inaccuracy. Here’s an example why; see how close together Robert’s feet are?

From behind you get a better look. Part of what can contribute to Griff’s accuracy issues is over-striding. He’s on the far hash and has to throw a ball back to his left. He has more than enough arm to make this throw, but without a proper base underneath him, it’s difficult. It’s why the term “arm strength” is sort of a misnomer. Quarterbacks get most of their power, and their accuracy, from their legs up through their waist.

That was a problem Donovan McNabb struggled with for years; putting his feet too close together. When you put your feet so close together, you have to take a giant step to put extra oomph. That means you have to rely on pure arm more. The more you rely on pure arm, the less accurate you becomes.

Look at the big, huge step Griffin takes here. When a quarterback takes a huge step like that, it essentially removes all the power and drive from the throw. At this point, you’re relying mostly on arm talent. We all know that Robert’s got a cannon, but without the proper footwork, this throw is going to lose most of it’s energy before it gets to it’s target.

This ball ends up landing about a yard shy. The corner recovers quickly enough that he’s in prime position to tackle if DY does make the catch. In this case, with a clean pocket, an option Griffin had was to pump the flat route to DY, get the corner to turn and run, and then he has Hank at the sticks with green grass and the safety playing deep coverage.

It’s not that it’s a bad decision to throw to DY here. He is the secondary receiver on this play. But those are the kind of plays the elite guys make.

Robert does a lot of his reading of the defense pre-snap. In fact, few people understand just how well he does reading coverage pre-snap. But the next step for him as a quarterback is recognizing how the defense is playing post snap and adjusting accordingly.

The Redskins are going to start in a bunch set showing 11 or Gator/Posse personnel; (3WR, 1TE, 1RB).

Griffin signals Hankerson to come in motion to get the defense to declare coverage. If a DB tracks Hank across the formation, he’s in man. In this case, Hankerson goes and motion and no defender moves with him. That shows Griffin the defense is in zone defense.

That coverage dictates where the ball is going to go. In this case, RG3 reads that #24 (Charles Woodson) is playing in center field. The route called for Hankerson is a comeback. In theory, with Woodson playing centerfield, that should get Hankerson one-on-one with the cornerback.

The Raiders are actually utilizing 3 safeties. They’ll send one over the top of Hankerson’s route, and one on the blitz, while Woodson appears to be the spy. The comeback route against this coverage is the right call.

The key to the comeback route is to sell that you’re going to run the 9/GO route, push the corner vertically, then break the route off and come back to the sticks. Hankerson comes off the line hard and pushes, but the corner doesn’t bite. He sits on the route, even though his hips are turned the wrong way. But the route doesn’t surprise him.

This is another area where Griffin can improve; diagnosing post snap. The design of the route is one based on timing. As Hankerson’s getting into his break, Griffin is already in the process of delivering the football. But with the corner squatting, the chances are low that ball is complete, and Griffin should be able to see that even as he’s taking his drop.

In the meantime, you have Logan Paulsen sitting in zone, matched up on a linebacker. Understanding that the play calls for an isolation route with Hankerson, if you see the corner sit on the route as you make your drop, you have to check your secondary receiver. Logan is wide open on this play, while three players are all over Hankerson’s route. Post snap recognition is just as important as pre-snap.

And if you do decide to throw this ball, it has to be catchable. Griff doesn’t really give Hankerson a shot to make a play here as the ball is high and out of bounds.

It certainly wasn’t all bad with Griff, and, as has been the case the last few weeks, as the game went on, he seemed to get into a groove.

Late in the first quarter, the Redskins switched into a hurry up attack. This play kicked it off. The Raiders are playing press man coverage against 22 personnel (2WR, 2TEs, 1 RB). Pierre at the top of the screen is going to run a deep out, while Hank is running a deep in. RG3 motions both Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen into the back field.

All the linebackers suck up on the play action and RG3 is reading Pierre all the way. But D.J Hayden does a great job of disrupting the timing of this route.

From behind, you can see that Robert is waiting for Pierre to come open, but it’s not there. The Redskins max protect on the two receiver route which means he has more than enough time.

You can see Rob turn his helmet here to find Hankerson, who separates on a sharp in cut.

A coaching point here is that despite looking to his right, Griffin doesn’t bring his feet with him. The ball is always going to go where you feet are pointed, and with a better foundation, Griffin could’ve led Hankerson and allowed him to get a little more YAC.

But, in this case, it doesn’t matter, as he puts this ball right in Hankerson’s hands for the first down.

Robert is getting better at manipulating the pocket too. He made one of his best throws as a Redskin Sunday and it was a fairly routing play.

The Raiders are going to rush 6 on this play; without the perceived threat of RGIII running, teams have been a lot more bold about sending this kind of blitz at him.

#66 Chris Chester gets beat off the snap. The DT comes swiping for the ball, but look at the side step RG3 does as he climbs the pocket.

He sidesteps, climbs the pocket, knows he’s going to get hit, but still delivers a strike down field. That’s advanced level quarterbacking, and one of the best plays I’ve seen him make in burgundy and gold.

And here’s a little post snap recognition on the same drive.

The Redskins will be running a combo of deep outs and deep ins. Roy Helu is the running back. If the Raiders blitz, he’s going to stay in and protect. If the drop, Helu is going to release and be the primary checkdown. On this play, the Raiders only rush 3.

Griffin reads Hankerson deep, then comes back to Paulsen short…

Then reads Pierre…

Goes back to Logan and thinks about throwing it…

Scrambles right his left, see Helu open…

Complete for 15 yards.

RGIII isn’t playing to the extraordinary level he did last season; even he’d tell you that. But this is just the next step in him becoming the quarterback we all know he can be and who he wants to be. Every week he gets a little bit better at playing the position. With a few tweaks and a little more learning, the Redskins offense will look like normal in no time, and RGIII will be even better for it.


I really liked Jordan Reed coming out of the University of Florida. Even though he appeared to be raw, he was still productive with a horrid quarterback situation, dangerous with the ball in his hands, and had a huge catch radius. I thought pairing Reed with Fred Davis (back when Davis was still in favor) and giving Robert Griffin III two big tight ends as targets would be a huge step forward.

Likewise, I was thrilled when the Redskins drafted Jordan Reed, but thought that he’d see more spot duty for the Redskins while Fred Davis remained the number one tight end. As good as he was at Florida, he didn’t run a whole lot of different routes and had a simplified route tree. Mainly one that consisted of “get the ball in his hands” and “let him do the work”.

After some promising performances in his first 5 games, and especially after his performance in Week 6, I’ve come to a scientifically proven conclusion; Jordan Reed can not be covered by anyone. It’s a trend. It started in Week 1, and then culminated with his break out 9 catch, 134 yard and 1 touchdown game. Let me show you some examples.

On first down, J.R is going to be lined up in-line, running a post corner route versus man coverage. Number 21 has the unlucky task of trying to cover him one on one.

The play was a play action bootleg. A post-corner route is a long developing route, but the boot gives J.R ample time to get open. Not that he needed it, as he’s already open on the post route, having already left Major Wright in the dust.

The sync between Robert Griffin III and J.R already, given that neither of them had a full offseason, is crazy. Robert starts his throw just as Reed breaks back to the corner, at which point Wright is already hopelessly lost.

Robert throws this ball from the far hash, back across down field, and puts the ball in about as perfect position as you can. JR catches this with room to spare to get up field, though (if we’re being honest) he did fumble on the play. Luckily, hurrying up meant that the pass wasn’t up for review.

On his next catch, Reed is again lined up in-line. He’s going to pretty simple hitch route versus a nickel cover 2 set.

J.R runs his route and finds a nice little hole in the zone between the two linebackers…

Rob puts the ball on his upfield shoulder, which allows J.R to turn up field and gain more yards after the catch. Rob’s arm also beats the linebacker, who tried to under cut the throw.

Kyle Shanahan started to get creative about where he lined up Reed on the field and how he got him open. He takes a page out of the old Joe Gibbs playbook by shifting J.R into the backfield as an H-Back. Hankerson (at the top of the screen) runs a simple hitch, while Moss runs a deep seam route and Aldrick Robinson runs a deep post, which clears out space for JR underneath, versus a Cover 3 shell.

It lives J.R one-on-on with Lance Briggs on the out route. Here you see his huge catch radius. Robert puts this ball outside and trusts that Reed will catch it; and he does. Robert throws Reed open, and then Reed is able to get more YAC after that. This kind of catch, while simple looking, is the kind of catch you wish you’d see someone with an equally large catch radius — Hank — with more regularity. Reed is a big receiving target that plays big.

Reed starts in-line, and then motions out into the right slot. The Bears completely bust this coverage, leaving Charles Tillman with the incredibly unfair task of having to cover two receivers in his area at once.

Reed runs an out and then in. Once again, the sync between Griff and Reed is crazy, as the ball is out just as JR gets out his break. Reed gets a little hip pointer here, but luckily was able to come back in the game.

Reed is technically “in-line” here, but he’s standing up. The Bears are playing press on the receivers, but will blitz the linebacker. That leaves Chris Conte, who’s playing deep, in man coverage with Reed. This goes about as well as you’d expect.

Another post, and another throw where Robert is able to lead Reed up field to get extra yards. Conte basically had no shot against Reed.

This isn’t really a criticism of RG3 as much as it’s a minor coaching point. Namely, that if everyone is set and the bears are dumb enough to leave Reed wide open like this, if it’s possible, you should quick snap the ball and let Reed walk into the end zone. But it didn’t end up mattering. Conte runs out late to cover Reed…

This fade route was one of the best throws I’ve seen Robert Griffin III make, and one of the best catches I’ve seen any Redskins receiver make. Reed isn’t afraid to take a shot, gets his hands high over his head, and then makes a beautiful catch.

In the second half, it seemed like they were going away from Reed. He got a shot at half time to alleviate some of the pain in his hip, and the run game started working better (check out UkRedskin1′s excellent breakdown of the run game here). But he still got his touches, and still made the best of his opportunities.

This is a double tight end set. JR is lined up as the “wingback” behind Logan Paulsen, who motions from the right in-line position to the left.; another effort to hide him.

This play is designed to look like a typical zone stretch play. The entire line is going to block down to the left, and Robert is going to fake to Morris. JR is going to leak back across the formation. #50 is left to have coverage on him, but he’s going to play the run.

RG3 takes a shot on the play, but still gets the ball off. And once again, Reed is wide open. Kyle Shanahan took a lot of guff during the game, but it really can’t be overstated how good a job he did scheming Reed open and adjusting to what the defense was doing. This is how you get the ball in your playmakers hands and make things open up elsewhere.

These last plays came on RG3′s game winning drive. J.R is lined up in the slot, and Major Wright has the unpleasant task of trying to cover Reed in press man coverage.

What I can’t show you with a still shot is how, after beating Wright off the line, Reed gives Wright a little head not to the outside. Wright completely bought it, which created even more separation. Another great ball by Robert, and this becomes a huge gain of 26. To be a 23-year-old rookie and show that kind of veteran savvy with the route running is incredible.

Reed had one more huge catch, and it was probably the prettiest route I’ve seen any tight end run in a long time. Conte gets the unfortunate task of having to cover Reed in one on one man coverage again.

The Redskins run a little bit of a LEGAL) pick play with Garçon running a corner route. Reed, meanwhile is going to run the out, which gives Conte to drive on it…

He then sticks his foot in the ground, plants and runs the post. You have to watch the live game footage to see the route. The only way to accurately describe it was beautiful. A beautiful route at a crucial time, in a must win game. I wish he had scored a touchdown on it, because after the work he put in, he deserved it.

The kid can’t be covered. Or at least he hasn’t shown that he can be covered yet. I don’t know if it’ll always go that way for him, but if he can continue on this path, and Kyle Shanahan can continue to find ways to get him the ball in space, that’s one more weapon for RG3, and hopefully, one more way to get the season back on track.

If he can stay healthy and productive, the future is bright for the kid and the Redskins.



Everywhere I look recently I see or hear the questions ” What is wrong with the defense?” and ” Why cant we get pressure without Orakpo?”. There seems to be this feeling that you have to have elite talent to have any chance of getting pressure on a QB these days. Talent is always nice but a great scheme and intelligent coaches can still dial up effective defenses and pressure a QB.

The Redskins are three years into their switch from a 4-3 to the Dick LeBeau 3-4 defense. LeBeaus 3-4 is built on creating confusion,wearing down a offensive line, and pressuring the QB. Offenses often struggle against 3-4 fronts because they can not account for where the extra rushers are coming from.The defense is unpredictable and aggressive by nature that will create confusion as long as the man calling the shots is not predictable.

After hours of film I have come to the conclusion that Jim Haslett is not running the LeBeau 3-4 correctly in Wasington DC. In the LeBeau 3-4 the CBS should be in man coverage 85% of the time or more to give the front 7 more time to work. The defense is aggressive with blitzes,slants,and stunts aimed at causeing confusion in the middle of the offensive line that opens holes for pass rushers. The scheme creates the pass rush in most of the defensive packages.

The Redskins do feel Orakpos loss from a base 4 man rush situation but this scheme is not suppose to be built on many 4 man rush opportunities. They feel the lack of a creative and instinctive defensive coordinator even more. Jim Haslett has developed a reputation around the league,media,and fanbase as being to predictable with his calls and that reputation is well earned.

The Redskins and Steelers are the only two teams in the league that run the LeBeau 3-4 so how do they mirror with eachother? I see some of the principles and blitz concepts in Washington but flawed coaching and use of personnel. I have posted a lot of screen shots below of Pittsburgh and Washingtons pressure concepts for everyone to discuss and hopefully enjoy. The Pittsburgh clips are all from their week 5 game vs the Eagles and go in order from 1st quarter thru the 4th. One thing that stood out to me was how diverse the steelers attack was in their pressure packages. When they are bringing the heat the will stack the line of scrimmage to create confusion, have every defender near their coverage assignments, and when blitzing the secondary they are on the line to allow them to get to the qb faster.

The Redskins love to send CBs and SS more than LBs in their pressure packages. The CB are asked to run from their position in coverage which takes longer for them to get to the quarterback. Washington does have a lot of success when in man coverage and rushing their LBS but they do not do it enough. Linebackers also always stay at depth (5-6 yards) which allows the offensive line to clearly identify their responsibility.

Check out the screen shots of both teams and let us know what you think.

-Steelers are aligned in their base 3-4 defensive front playing man cover 1 zone under
-The ILB and OLB will be coming on a blitz

-The Defensive line will slant right
-OLB & ILB begin to drop into their zone coverage

-The slant by the defensive line caused the Eagles to over shift
-RT kicks out to defend the outside edge against the OLB
-Huge hole is opened up between the Guard and center leaving the ILB 1 on 1 with a RB

-The ILB makes contact and puts the RB on his butt

-The ILB is in hot pursuit of the QB
-QB does not have the time to hit his open WR and is flushed from the pocket

-QB was forced to take a sack or throw the ball away. This desperation throw almost ended up as a easy interception on the right sideline

-Steelers are in their 3-4 base defense
-The ILB & OLB will blitz off the left edge
-Defense is in man cover 1

-This is now a 2 man rush game with 2 athletic linebackers in space vs 2 Lineman
-The OLB & ILB are working in coordination with each other as both press and extend the edge on the LT & G
-Notice the OLB has stuck his upfield foot in the ground and is prepared to make a move

-ILB spins off the Guard and back into the open lane
-OLB uses the LTs momentum against him and pushes him past his upfield shoulder
-OLB then will move to take on the Guard which will allow the ILB to be a free rusher

-With the TE doubled the QB is feeling the pressure and begins to run
-The ILB will make the play and cause a QB fumble on this play

-The QB had a WR streaking past A OLB on a go route
-Without pressure on the passer this play could have been a TD instead of a turnover

-Steelers have their 2-4-5 (2 DL,4 lB,5 DB) personnel on the field
-Cover 2 Man is the coverage

-Steelers will bump the WRs off the line of scrimmage

-Nomrally the 2 down lineman in a 2-4-5 would line up off the guards outside should but the Steelers are being creative.
-1 DL man is over the nose while the other is standing up over the LT
-50 & 92 are lined up in the gap between the G & LT
-All 5 Offensive lineman now have to be concerned with those 3 defenders ( NT,50,92)

-Center takes on the NT
-Both LTs kick out against the perimeter rushers
-RG slides and reaches to take on the LB (50) aligned in his gap
-LG slides and reaches to take on the LB (92) that WAS aligned in his gap
-92 drops back into a spy position
-See the crease that has been opened up in the center of the OL?

-The guard steps out on 92 which widens the rush lane for the LB
-94 will again be 1 on 1 with a RB and he wins his battle
-The QB rushes and throws a incomplete pass after 94 comes free

-Steelers are in 2-4-5 personnel
-50 & 94 are stacked in the A gaps on each side of the center
-The presence of the defenders in the line in the gaps will attract the immediate attention of the OL

-Everyone except 99 (DE) will slant left post snap which takes the offensive line left as well
-99 stalls and keeps the attention of the LT
-92 is matched up 1 on 1 with a RB on the right of your screen

-The RB wins this battle and cuts 92 down
-Eagles hit 10 on the slant for a big gain but you will take a pass rusher on a RB any day of the week

-Steelers in their base 3-4 defense
-50 will slide into the A gap between the C,G right before the snap
-92 & 93 will drop into zone
-94 will come on a A gap blitz

-50 in the A gap pre-snap takes the centers attention
-G & RT slide right to take on what they thought was going to be the strong side rush
-LT & G slide out to take on the slanting DT,DE
-These movements again open a wide lane for 94 on the A gap blitz and he is 1 on 1 with a RB

-94 beats the block of the RB

-The QB is pressured off his spot and hurried into throwing a incomplete pass

-Without pressure its possible the QB finds one of these open WRs

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5 package playing Cover 2 man
-50 Will drop into man coverage on the TE post snap
-Steelers overload the weak side and are blitzing the OLB and SS

-94 attacks the guard
-DE attacks the LT
-The RB is stuck in a 2 on 1 vs a LB & SS
-The RB should of taken the inside rusher but he takes the SS
-93 is on a free run at the QB

-The QB goes down after almost instant pressure

-Here is the coverage on the play
-TE breaks open on a go route past the LB but no time to make the throw

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5
-NT over the Center
-DT over the TE
-2 LBs will attack the A & B gaps left of the center
-DT will attack the A gap on the right
-93 will drop and cover the TE

-LT & C crash to help the LG based on their pre-snap read
-RG assumes the Center has the DT

-DT has a free run at the QB

-DT completes the play for a easy sack

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5
-DT will attack the outside shoulders of the guards trying to push up field
-OLBs will stunt back towards the middle of the DL

-The DTs pushing upfield will serve as a pick
-OLBs stunt towards the open hole left by the guards

-OLB has a free run at the QB and forces a rushed throw that falls incomplete

-Steelers are in their 2-4-5 man cover 1
-DT over the center
-DT over the TE standing up
-LBs on the line of scrimmage pressing the gaps

-LT slides out to get the outside rusher
-G is focused on the LB (92) that was in his gap pre-snap
-C slides right this time to take the DT
-The DT is unblocked

-DT has a free run at the QB
-QB is rushed and ends up throwing a incomplete pass

-Steelers in their 2-4-5 with LBs pressing the gaps
-93 will drop into the middle of the field to man the TE

-Center is taken up by the NT
-LT slides out to grab the outside rusher
-92 stunts inside and attacks the guard

-92 blows past the Guard and puts instant pressure on the QB
-QB throws a pass into coverage to avoid the sack and it falls incomplete

The Steelers clearly have a great scheme that puts their pass rushers in 1 on 1 situations that are favorable to them. I very rarely saw the best pass rushers against the Eagles best pass protectors on the offensive line over the course of the game. The other thing that stood out to me was the Steelers scheming to get free rushers thru from the A gaps on a consistent basis. Shortest distance to get pressure and effect a QB is thru the middle not the edge and clearly the Steelers do it very well. When Pittsburgh is in their 2-4-5 personnel they stack the line of scrimmage to cause confusion in the blocking scheme while playing cover 1 or 2 behind it.

Lets get on to the Redskins defense coordinated by Jim Haslett.

-Redskins are in 2-4-5 personnel
-DL and 91 will slant left
-23 will come on a cornerback blitz

-OL shifts right to account for the DL slant
-23 is left 1 on 1 with a RB and is stonewalled

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL will slant left
-SS & 23 will blitz off the edge

-OL slides with the slant
-RB takes the SS on the blitz
-23 gets a free run on the QB and records the first sack of his career

-Redskins are in their 3-4 defense running A & B gap blitz
-NT will attack the right shoulder of the center
-59 will attack the A gap on the inside shoulder of the guard
-LT will step out to take the DE
-56 will have to deal with a RB once he hits the crease

-59 sheds the Guard and has a free run at the QB
-56 sheds the RB and has a free run at the QB
-Bradford escapes the pocket and gets to the sideline while completing a pass to Amendola

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL will slant left
-23 will blitz from the CB position

-CB is 1 on 1 with the RB

-CB is picked up and the ball is out


-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL attacks down on the OL
-59 and 23 will blitz off the edge

-LT slides out on the DE
-Center goes left to try and sell the play action
-RB slides out to pick up the blitzing CB
-59 has a free run to the QB

-QB is pressured into a quick throw which falls incomplete

-Redskins are in their 3-4 defense
-OLB & ILB will blitz on this play

-The DL and LBs attack straight down
-Offensive line has plenty of time to read their individual responsibilities

-QB has a clean pocket to throw from

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DT will attack the Centers inside shoulder
-59 will attack the inside shoulder of the guard
-51 will attack the crease

-51 gets a free run on the QB
-QB is forced to make a quick pass which falls incomplete

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DL will go straight up field
-CB will blitz off the edge

-Center slides to pick up 59
-LT slides to pick up 51
-CB is 1 on 1 with a guard
-Clean pocket for the QB to throw from

-Redskins are in their 3-4 personnel
-DE crashes to take on G,C
-ILB will blitz down on the guard
-OLb will attack the LT

-Guard pushes DE onto the center
-Guard is free to take on the LB
-LT slides out to take on the OLB
-Clean pocket to hit the open TE

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DE will stunt inside
-91 will attack the guard
-96 will attack the A gap
-59 will attack inside shoulder of the LT
-OLB will press the edge

-OL accounts for the rushers and the QB gets off a quick completion

-Redskins are in their 2-4-5 personnel
-DT crash in
-OLB attack the LT
-CB blitz off the edge

-39 gets a free run at the QB
-QB anticipates the CB blitz and gets the pass off for a completion

-Redskins are in 2-4-5 personnel with 91 on the line as a DE
-DL will slant right
-SS AND CB will blitz off the edge

-39 gets a free run on the QB
-QB anticipates the CB blitz and gets the ball out for a completion



Are you a stat fan or a football fan? I ask that question because a “stat” guy would look at Brian Orakpo’s goose-egg in the stats VS the Cowboys and think he sucked, was injured early, or didn’t  even play. A true football fan knows that a player can effect the game in many ways. They also know that sacks are a great stat but there are a lot of impact plays to be made that are not officially tracked by the NFL for a stat sheet.

Let’s take a closer look at Brain Orakpo’s game VS the Dallas Cowboys.

– You can tell a lot about a pass rusher by how offenses plan to keep them off their Quarterback.   The Cowboys often sent a Tight End or Running Back to help their Left Tackle VS Orakpo as shown.

– Teams will try to block Brian Orakpo with a Tight End on occasion, and when they do it normally doesn’t work out well. Orakpo beats Witten hard inside off the snap of the ball, and he is in position to get after Romo. So what happened?

– Witten is a UFC fan apparently, because this is an impressive rear choke-hold. Holding happens a lot in the NFL but this is ridiculous.

– Brian Orakpo beats T.Smith off the snap off the football and bulls over the Left Tackle. But Smith didn’t go down without a fight he grabbed a hold of Orakpo’s jersey and pulls him down as well.

– Smith brought Orakpo all the way to the ground and he still almost made a play on Romo, but this play, like many others ,should have been a penalty.

– Another play where Brian Orakpo beats his man off the line of scrimmage and then proceeds to be mugged on the way to the Quarterback.

-Brian Orakpo comes hard off the edge to get in Romo’s face. Tough to get there on a 3 step quick pass but he causes Romo to rush and tips the pass.

– The pass is inaccurate and falls incomplete.

– 3rd and 10 stunt pressure from Orakpo.

– Romo felt Orakpo off his right side and slid up in the pocket to get the throw off . Orakpo just misses a sack on the Quarterback, but he hurried the process of the throw which is a goal as well.

-Romo throws another  inaccurate throw after feeling pressure from Orakpo.

– Good pass rushers get a lot of attention, and that allows other players to make plays. Orakpo crashes on the Defensive End, The Guard keeps his eyes on the rush as P.Riley gets a free run at T.Romo.

– Brian Orakp0 pushes the double team hard up-field to the Quarterback. Romo feels the pressure and climbs the pocket to avoid Orakpo.

– Orakpo’s pass rush pushed Romo into the arms of an unblocked Perry Riley.

– Here is Orakpo doing what a lot of people say he can’t do: Set the edge in the run game. Wilson makes the tackle for no gain, but it’s Orakpo that made it possible.

– Another run play with the same result. Orakpo sets the edge and funnels the Running Back to his inside help, Chris Baker shoots the gap to stop the run for no gain.


My impression is that Brian Orakpo played a solid all around game Sunday evening. He did not register a sack, tackle, or even an assist , but he did make plays that helped the defense have success VS Dallas.


Over the last few days I’ve been asked a lot of questions, but one has been asked the most: How do you beat the Cowboys defense? That’s an easy one for me to answer, test their LB discipline and Safety talent early and often. So far through 5 games the LB’s are over aggressive in the run game which leaves them vulnerable to the play action pass, and the Safeties have been caught out of position while allowing big plays.Washington had a lot of success vs Dallas in 2012 relying on a strong run game, and play action passing that lead to explosive plays. Look for Washington to do the same Sunday Night in Dallas VS the Cowboys.

I sent out a tweet earlier in the day saying “Robert will go off this week” and as I expected it was met with skepticism. But lets use the ALL-22 to look at the Cowboys defensive issues and how they could help the Redskins offense find its comfort zone.

Personnel: Regular (2 WR- 1TE-2RB)

Defense: Cover 3

-Giants use weak side play action to open up the strong side post route by baiting the LB’s towards the Line of scrimmage. Dallas is showing cover 2 pre-snap but will rotate into cover 1 post snap.

-The top WR gets a fast outside release , this makes the CB have to turn and run with the WR since he can’t funnel him inside to the safety. The CB to the bottom of screen keeps his outside leverage and pushes the WR toward the has and his Safety help. The problem on this play is the LB’s and SS have sold out on Giants run action, leaving their secondary exposed for a big play.

-The QB sits in a clean pocket while the WR breaks into the open field… This should look very familiar to Redskins fans.

-The WR catches the ball in space and takes it 57 yards.
Personnel: Posse (3 WR- 1TE-1RB)
Defense: Cover 2

-Giants use weak side play action to bait & pull the LB’s toward the line of scrimmage. Safeties have deep 1/2 responsibilities and get to their drop points post snap. WR’s should be funneled to the inside hashes per the scheme rules.

– The Lb’s take the bait and charge the line of scrimmage, even the nickle CB -white Circle-took the bait and is now lost in coverage. The bottom CB pushed the WR inside post -snap but has no underneath help from the LB’s.

– The QB has not one, but two wide open WR’s over the middle of the field. He chooses the bottom WR for an easy 17 yard completion.
Personnel: Posse (3 WR- 1TE-2RB)
Defense: 2 deep man under

– Simple play with a Go/Post combination.. The CB’s run into each-other trying to switch on the WR’s and there is no interior coverage support.

– Another easy spot throw for the QB to a WR in open space.

– Randle hauls in the pass for 22 yards.
Personnel: Posse (3 WR- 1TE-1RB)
Defense: Good Question..Quarters?

-Giants run a Dig/Fly combination vs a defense I can’t identify 100 %, looks like quarters but whatever it was they blew it.

– The Safety pulls a Madieu Williams and comes down too shallow on the WR, He has to open his hips to run with the WR but it’s too late and the QB knows it. The QB rolls to his right to avoid pressure and to buy time to get the ball down-field.

-The WR split the coverage and the QB finds him for an easy TD. He also had the dig route wide open as well…
Personnel: Posse (3 WR- 1TE-1RB)
Defense: Cover 2

– This concept is all about the WR in the slot VS the OLB in coverage. The concept is for the WR to read how the LB gets depth & width in his coverage drop. The WR will bend his route right behind the LB if he gets too wide & doesn’t get enough depth to close the hole to the Safety.
This video is a great explanation of the route & coverage concept

-LB is his drop but you can see the void opening in the defense. The QB can make this completion if he gets the time to make the pass.

-WR bends to the open space behind the LB and in front of the Safety.

– The QB even places the ball perfectly on the back shoulder to protect his WR from the charging Safety.
Personnel: Posse (3 WR- 1TE-1RB)
Defense: Cover 3

– Chiefs want to run off and spread out the LB coverage with this play concept that may look familiar to Redskins fans. The skins like to run the under slant to Garcon and Hankerson on third downs and in the red zone.

– The QB gets the snap and gets his shoulders turned strong side, seems like a simple movement but it helps pull the LB’s away from the middle of the field. The LB’s have to respect and get width/depth in their zone to protect the double vertical routes by the TE and slot WR. The WR will slant under the rub routes to the middle of the field.

-The QB resets towards his throwing lane over the outside hash. The LB is put in conflict with the under slant crossing his face & the vertical release, he has to maintain his depth and hope to rally to make the tackle on the under slant if it’s completed.

– The LB overruns the route and the WR walks in for an easy TD.
Personnel: Ace (2WR- 2TE-1RB)
Defense: Cover 1 man

-Chargers use Ace personnel but split the RB & TE out-wide giving them a four WR look. Dallas matches up in man coverage across the board.

– The FS has to get depth and stay over top both vertical routes, on this play he is late leaving the middle of the field and will only have time to get over one. The QB notices the FS hanging out and anticipates his RB coming open on the outside vertical.

– FS is late & the RB catches the ball at the goaline for a TD.

Personnel: Posse (3 WR- 1TE-1RB)
Defense: Cover 1

– Chargers run everyone to the goaline except their RB who is on a wheel route. Dallas drops in zone but the OLB will pick up the RB in man.

-LB gets on the inside hip of the RB while the WR’s run the coverage off to the endzone.

– The QB spots the RB entering an open window and lets it go.

– Lb looses the footrace and the QB hits the RB for 7.
Personnel: Posse (3 WR- 1TE-1RB)
Defense: Cover 3

-Chargers will run a two vertical concept with their WR & TE, The combination will test the FS’s ability to stay over top of both verticals.

-FS gets over top of the verticals but he is in a poor body position to make a play on both. The QB sees this, and goes to the TE on the vertical route in the middle of the field.

-The LB can’t hang with the TE and this is an easy TD without a FS able to make a play.
These are just a few examples of offenses taking advantage of the breakdowns in the Dallas defense, but they are breakdowns that play to the strengths of the Redskins offense. The question is will Robert Griffin III and the Redskins be able to take advantage of them on Sunday Night?