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A Few Thoughts Heading Into Week Four

My take on a few issues as the Redskins head to St.Louis to battle the Rams:

The All Out Blitz on 3rd and 21

Watching the game Monday on ESPN through my trusty cabletelevision I nearly threw the remote when I saw the all-out blitz on 3rd and 21.

The Redskins and various media members can attempt to defend the call all they want but it was dumb.  The issue isn’t calling an all out blitz when the game is on the line, the issue is calling the blitz when the Cowboys were already backed into a tough spot.  The blown snap had backed the Cowboys into a difficult position.  The Redskins goal was to stop them and get off the field by not allowing 21 yards on next two downs.  I have no idea about the actual odds but an all-out blitz obviously increases the odds of a the Cowboys having a negative play and also increases their odds of having a big play.  A negative play was essentially meaningless on that play.  A 4th and 15 or a 4th and 30 are both very unlikely to be made.

The Cowboys needed to make a big play to get out of the 3rd and 21 jam and by all out blitzing Haslett increased their odds of getting one.  I don’t care if it worked 9 times in a row before then, you’ve got to play to the situation at hand.  Force the Cowboys to make two consecutive eleven yard pass plays, don’t give them a chance to get out of it on one play.

As an aside, everyone is falling in love with Ryan Kerrigan (and deservedly so) but this game showed the importance of Brian Orakpo.  Whenever Orakpo left the game to get treatment for cramping, the Cowboys offense became a ton more effective.  Rob Jackson had a big sack but his run defense leaves a lot to be desired.  This game also turned on fumbles.  The stats guys have shown that fumble recoveries are pretty much a 50/50 proposition (i.e. if there are two fumbles in a game, you’d expect each team to recover one).  This game had 7 fumbles (six by the Cowboys) and they recovered six of them, that’s your ball game right there.

Phillip Buchanon

The Washington Post Redskins blog today had an article that seemed to hint that Buchanon may get cut when his suspension ends on Monday and the Redskins could stick with the current 5 cornerbacks on the roster.  I just can’t see it happen.  You only had to watch the Cardinals game when Kevin Barnes and Josh Wilson went out with injuries and the Cardinals suddenly started to move the ball up and down the field to see that Buchanon will be a solid addition.

The question then becomes who gets dropped to activate him.  If the Redskins are worried about losing rookie Brandyn Thompson if they try to move him to the practice squad, then veteran Byron Westbrook would seem to be the obvious choice.  But Thompson was a 7th round pick and he didn’t jump off the chart when he was pressed into action, so I suspect he’ll be cut and re-signed to the practice squad and someone currently on the practice squad will be dropped.

Offensive Play Calling

I get the feeling this is becoming a bit of battle of wills between father and son.  Pops wants to run but son seems to get mesmerized by the pass at times.  Dad will win this battle as the Skins need to keep running, especially when they have the lead in the 4th quarter.

A more pressing concern in my opinion is the Red Zone play calling.  Oddly enough they get very run heavy in the Red Zone (at least to my eyes) and they need to mix it up a bit.

The Week Ahead

The Rams have been bad this year.  But unfortunately for the Redskins they seem to be getting healthy just as Washington comes to town.  Stephen Jackson will play this week and he’ll obviously make a big difference.  He’s their best offensive player by a long shot and the Redskins won’t be able to tee off on Sam Bradford like other teams have been doing in his absence.

If the Redskins can put up some points (and they should be able to, the Rams aren’t exactly the 85 Bears), they should win this game.

Redskins 24 Rams 14

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