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Redskins 13th best Algebra class in 2006

Stay with me for a moment, and that isn't entirely true. Depending on who you ask, the Redskins were the 13th or 14th best offense in the league last year. I am indebted to Ryan Wilson at Fanhouse for catching this DC Sports Bog post I had somehow missed last week (but nothing gets by Ben). A direct quote from Al Saunders reveals the importance of Algebra in our offensive philosophy:

"It's like a textbook," [Saunders] began. "Remember when you had an algebra textbook and it had all the tests in it, and how to figure out all the equations, and how to figure out all the formulas? Well, that's what the text of the [playbook] is."
Hmmmm. If Y is the sum of touchdowns received by Brandon Lloyd, solve for X...

I'd say "in all seriousness bla bla bla..." but things were hardly serious after Saunders explained his complicated easy complicated who knows(?) playbook, which he quickly taught The Times' David Elfin, drawing the ire of Covering the Redskins' Bram Weinstein:

The numbers, you see, are a stand-in for language. Instead of memorizing "blue car shampoo," a receiver can be guided by this football-for-dummies code. And Saunders proceeded to tutor David Elfin of the The Washington Times, running through the basics of a dozen potential routes by their numbers and directions. He then proclaimed Elfin ready to take the field.

"If you're signing him, I'm holding out of camp," Triple X ESPN Radio's Bram Weinstein said.

"I'm more reliable," Elfin protested.

"Yeah, you might be, but I'm a gamebreaker," Weinstein countered.

"This is why it just cracks me up when all you guys make fun of that playbook, okay?"

Going on to say that the offense really isn't the complicated, having proven that to David Elfin moments prior. And that worries me. I've predicated a productive 2007 offensive on the often stated fact conventional wisdom that it takes a year to learn the Al Saunders' offense, though he's just pointed out that if X stands for a year and Y stands for 20 minutes and the time it takes a reporter to master 700 pages of playbook, then X>Y and the conventional wisdom is bogus. Or else our players are dumber by degrees than David Elfin. Or else 13th or 14th offensively is approaching the reasonable productive limit of the Al Saunders scheme.

The optimist in me has diarrhetic dismissal for all those conclusions, and I can only proceed as though Al Saunders isn't giving his offensive genius enough credit. However much I appreciate his point -- it must be terribly frustrating to read snarky comments about his 700 page playbook all season -- this offense is, despite David Elfin's seeming ability to learn it in half an hour, sophisticated. My hopes for offensive explosion in 2007 remain unabated as we are still learning. I am also going to try to refrain from attacking our '06 offense, that criticism typically manifested as an X paged convoluted tomb (who am I kidding, though? I've taken my shots at it), because, frankly, I think we did a pretty damn good job last year considering the circumstances. Mark Brunell couldn't throw the ball downfield, we transitioned to a brand spanking new quarterback, we lost our starting RB and WR for stretches, and yet still finished in the top half of the league offensively.

That said, this time next year there won't be any excuses. Let's hope none are needed.