The Lions/Redskins game on Sunday showed the improvements by a Redskins team down on it's luck from the two weeks. Particularly the offense. We'll get to the defense tomorrow. Lot's of work involved with that mess of a unit. Anywho, the Skins showed great movement of the ball on sustained drives in the 1st half. I'm convinced that getting Griffin out on the perimeters to throw off the play action fake is the main reason for that. Once Griffin started rolling out the defense couldn't just hang out in the middle of the field or stack the box with 8 because they had to cover the edges at the line of scrimmage. That opened up all kinds of throwing lanes in the second level of the defense.
The main problem this week stems from a problem that has plagued this team since forever... 3rd down conversions. Just last week I mentioned in my post how KShan needs to try to get 3rd down on 2nd down. Here was the recurring sequence on offense THIS week:
1st down: great running play by AlMo for 7 yards. 2nd & 3
2nd down: Deep shot down field falls incomplete. 3rd & 3
3rd down: Pass play falls incomplete
2nd down in that sequence is where I find fault with KShan's gameplan. Numerous times Sunday we screwed up favorable down and distance (2nd and 3) by taking low percentage shots down the field. We are then faced with 3rd and 3 and we promptly call a pass play. WITH ALMO IN THE BACKFIELD. I don't understand why KShan feels like 2nd and short has to be the big play down. Why not just go ahead and pick up the first down?? Numerous times I saw the team go incomplete on 2nd and short then commit a silly penalty on 3rd down that turns a 3rd &short into 3rd and Long. It's almost as if KShan gets greedy for yardage. Or cocky. 2nd & 3 situations should be converted to 1st downs every single time. We aren't seeing that happen because we screw up on 2nd down by going with some crazy play for big yardage and it winds up incomplete.
3rd and Short situations are being run from the SHOTGUN?? He's just TELLING the defense it's a pass play on short yardage. That is putting RGIII in a position where he doesn't need to be in. KShan has a RB that is more than capable of getting 3 yards yet he calls a shotgun formation and puts all the pressure on RGIII to make a play in an obvious pass play. If you MUST pass it in that situation at least disguise it by calling a run formation (I formation or SOMEthing!!)
KShan is not protecting RGIII by making him a pocket passer yet making him try to find someone open on 3rd and 3 when they should be running the ball right there anyway. He can make things easier on everyone if he goes ahead and gets 1st down on 2nd and short situations. 2nd and short should not be viewed as an extra play to get big yardage just because you still have 3rd down. As you can see, a penalty or anything on 3rd down can ruin that strategy. Which it did numerous times on Sunday. Get 1st down on 2nd down and the defense has to play a lot differently. There were way too many passes on 2nd and short than there should have been.
Perhaps that's the main problem in the 3rd down conversion woes. The playcalling on 2nd down needs to be better. There have been entirely too many passes in 2nd & short situations. With our QB situation the way it is, KShan could put that on AlMo's back to pick up that 1st down on 2nd & 3. The playaction-roll-out with Griffin's threat to run works just as well as the read option on 2nd & short. Run the stretch run-play on 1st, the run on 2nd and short for the 1st down THEN go for the big play on the next 1st down. If he doesn't get the yardage KShan could come back with a 5 yard dump off on 2nd and still make up the yardage he didn't get from the big play attempt. That one down (2nd & short) is our main problem with our 3rd down conversion rate. I'm not sure why Griffin is taking the check down guy on 3rd down every time. Good QB's lick their chops at knowing they are about to see zone because they know that if the line holds up all they have to do is find the open spots on the field and make a good throw into that open spot. Griffin is constantly taking to check down guy instead of picking the zone apart. Drive killer
Griffin's problems are somewhat deeper to delve into. Let me first say that I was not a fan of his shenigans this offseason. I think that McNabb had a point when he said that injured players shouldn't be in the media all the time. But him being who he is, it was inevitable. He should have kept his mouth closed. I think he's figured out that it's not as easy as he thought it was going to be. He thought he could just step on the field and perform like he did last year with no practice. I also didn't like that flag waving thing he did against the Eagles during intros, he should have ran out waving the flag with his TEAM, not just him by himself, but that's another story. His development is severely behind now and it's showing. He's not reading defenses and that's why he's staring down his receivers. It doesn't seem like he's got control of the offense out there. Especially in the turbo/hurry-up offense. They still take too long getting back to the line of scrimmage and getting lined up after a play. He needs to manage the game better especially when you're down 2 scores with 6 minutes left in the game.
He needs to keep his head in the game. Back to back games here and we've seen him run the wrong way on one play and then the fumble while running. Not to mention the interception just before stepping out of bounds. Did I mention the bobbled hand offs and bobbled snaps? They need to find a way to slow the game down for him. Practice for Griffin should be footwork, and the plays against the different coverages. They need to teach him how to take advantage of the holes in zone coverage. He also needs to hit his hot reads on blitzes. Right now, Griffin is check down machine against the zone and ignores his hot read against the blitz. Not very good actions for success.
Right now, this offense is what it is: a play-aciton, roll-out, stretch run and passes for medium and big yardage. We have an Offensive line that is being exposed at the LT-Center gaps and at RT. We have 3rd down conversion issues and that could be remedied somewhat by getting 3rd down on 2nd and short situations as opposed to going for the low percentage big yardage play downfield. Too much pressure is put on RGIII to carry the team by calling pass plays numerous times on 3rd and short. PUT THE BALL IN THE HANDS OF THE PLAYMAKERS in those situations. Let them make the plays. Don't put it on your the QB every time to convert by calling shotgun formations on 3rd & short. Griffin is struggling right now but it's nothing that can't be overcome. His passes are slightly off but that's timing and can be fixed. Playcalling and Execution has to work hand in hand.