Read and React: 5 improvements the Skins can use to instantly improve

Matthew Stockman

I'm sure you've heard all of the pundits give you 5 things the Skins can do to get better so I thought I would give my two cents...


I really think, when trying to assign blame, that it's more coaching than the players to a certain extent. KShan is only waiting until halftime to make ANY adjustments offensively. I'm not sure why he continues to bang his head against a brick wall when you see what the defense is doing to stop his offense. I'm thinking KShan should be the one in the booth up there. That way he can see what opposing defenses are doing to counter him better rather than relying on still photos. He NEEDS to make adjustments sooner and he needs to see how they are defending him and be ready with a counter immediately. Just lining up play after play and hoping that it gets better THIS time isn't a very sound strategy. I know KShan wants to limit movement of RGIII but so does the defense. They are GIVING this offense the outside by concentrating their push up the middle. Right into the face of Griffin, hence the batted balls. Why not try some roll-outs? Play action to get outside? If Griffin does have to stay in the pocket then get the ball out of his hands quicker with slants and RB screens. Why have your QB drop back and go through 3 and 4 progressions right off the bat if that's not his game?? Why continue doing the same things? That's what old-school coaches do. Bang their heads against the wall until the WALL gives. Work in some of the plays they were successful at last year. That way it helps establish rhythm and gives them confidence going forward in the drive.

Also, get defenses moving side to side instead of just rushing upfield. Get them moving left and right so that they can't just blast forward at the snap. That way they have to take just a split second to read rather than just react. I really feel that our coaches have been outsmarted in these 1st couple of games. The preparation for both teams leading up to the games were very lacking offensively and defensively. Not to mention KShan's adjustments were WAY too late. He has to have this team ready for adjustments sooner than the 3rd quarter. Installing counter plays to the pocket passes is a good start. Whether that be with roll outs and play action so be it. If you are still trying to protect Griffin by restricting his movement then you may as well sit him because that strategy is hindering the offense.

2. Practice

I know Shanny says they practice at game speed but he needs to do a better job of simulating that game speed in practice because, while in theory, it's a great idea, Griffin is not benefiting from that as much as he should. Especially on his drop backs, reads, and releases. They need to simulate the looks Griffin will see in practice and then pound in his head what to do. I think he worked so much on his knee this off season that he didn't find time to work on fundamentals and reading defenses. Watching film of it all is great but it looks totally different at ground level and at 100 mph. He needs to find some way to translate what he sees on film to what he will see on the field because that's why he's staring down his WR. He isn't comfortable with the pass rush around his legs, having to read progressions at the same time and doing pre-snap reads. Get him outside on 2nd down. That way it opens up the option of Griff as a running threat and passing threat while keeping the defense off-balance. It will open up nice chunks of yardage on 2nd down and make 3rd down either nonexistent or very favorable short yardage 3rd downs (3rd and 5 or less) Which leads me to my next improvement...

3. Try getting 3rd down on 2nd down

On numerous occasions in the last 2 games I've seen the offense have a sequence like this: 1st down- running play for no yards. 2nd down- pass play dropped or batted down. 3rd down and long- pass play QB sacked or incomplete. Why not try to get favorable yardage on 2nd down instead of waiting until the defense KNOWS what's coming?? Why not utilize the 5-7 yard dump offs ( that usually end up short of the 1st down marker) they use on 3rd down on 2nd down? I'm tired of seeing the dump off in the middle of the field just short of the marker that kills the drive. Don't you know that THAT'S where the defense WANTS you throw the ball KShan?? They are giving them that on 3rd down because once Griffin dumps it off they have 3-4 players in position to stop the ball well short of the 1st down.

4. Try some uptempo drives.

It seems like the offense moves much better in the 2nd half because they are playing at a faster clip and with a sense of urgency. The players look very lifeless and unsure of themselves early on in the game. They need some easy completions at an uptempo pace to get their collective blood flowing.

5. Utilize your playmakers

Scheme only gets you so far in the league. At some point you have to put players that can make plays in a position to do just that. Jordan Reed is the ONLY player on the offense that's caught nearly every pass thrown his way, no matter where the ball placement is. Why not utilize his skills more? Why force things to the players the defense KNOWS you're trying to get the ball to (Moss, Garcon)?? Griffin needs to stop staring down receivers and look off the throws to Reed in the middle of the field. KShan needs to stop putting it all on Griffin to move this offense. Get the ball out of his hands quickly and into the hands of the guys that can make plays. Having Griffin hold the ball for this long early on is detrimental to his long term success.

I just hope KShan and Shanny don't screw this up and RGIII in the process. It's the standard question when it comes to mobile QB's. Can they be transformed into pocket passers? My question is: why try to change them just because "traditional" offenses are constructed around that skill set. The Shanahans are now looking like they don't know what to do with this skill set. Most coaches in the NFL don't know how to deal with mobility in a QB. Seems like it's either, the stuff they were doing last year or stationary pocket stuff. The roll-outs and play action serve the same purpose as a read-option. It still presents Griffin as a threat to run with actually doing so. KShan needs to think outside the box but we all know the NFL is not to adept at that skill. You can't just keep lining guys up and HOPE they do better THIS time or THIS game. He knows what stuff they are successful at but why NONE of it is getting employed is perplexing. (Could there be something they aren't telling us in terms of RGIII's condition?) I'm really starting to believe they don't know how to fix this thing. Sure they did it last year but different year, different problems. When you just keep on doing the same things that are unsuccessful over and over again expecting a different result, not only is that the definition of insanity but it's also indicative of the inability or lack of creativity to change it up or fix the problem. They HAVE to figure out a way to get this offense moving, find a way to implement game adjustments sooner and get the ball OUT of Griffin's hands and into the hands of the playmakers and let them make the plays instead of putting all on Griffin. Fix these issues NOW Shanny because I can see this thing getting out of hand very quickly and then the players in that locker room are going to start talking and dividing up. Don't screw this up Shanny and KShan. Don't screw this QB up either. There's still time to fix things and turn it around but they have got to be willing to adjust and not just line up and do the same things as the last 2 weeks. This is where coaches make their money. Now let's see it.

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