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Hazard's Huddle: 1 Yard or Less

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An All-22 film look at the Redskins running game. What is happening?

Norm Hall

Alfred Morris has been a staple of this offense since he was drafted. He's not the flashiest and won't make the headlines but as quiet as he is it still seems like he manages to get 90-95 yards per game. The last two games that hasn't happened. What is going on in the run game? The infusion of the Jay Gruden passing attack was suppose to be the hard part while the Redskins maintained the zone blocking scheme under Sean McVay. Are they regressing? Let's take a look at some of the things that are going on.

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The problems on this play are layered. Here is a Zone Left to the weak side. The DE that is lined up over Shawn Lauvao's outside shoulder is going to jump into the A-gap.

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Because Lauvao decides to follow the DE inside, that leaves the LB free and gives Darrel Young a clear indication of who he should be blocking.

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Now after Lauvao gives help inside, he should release to the 2nd level to get the other free LB because D.Young already picked up the first one. Instead, Lauvao tries to compensate for not getting him in the first place and goes and helps Young on his block. Now we have two guys blocking one with a free LB coming towards the gap. Before I show you how this play ends, let me show you what is going on on the backside of the play.

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This is the same play. This is Chris Chester's block. The Redskins are flowing left, NT is to his inside gap, so it seems to be simple.

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Chris Chester actually beats the NT inside and goes by him.......yes, goes by him. Chester heads to the middle to help Kory Litchensteiger with the same guy that Lauvao has already decided to turn back and help with. So that's now 3 guys blocking one.

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The end of the play comes when the NT that Chester let by grabs Alfred Morris by the ankles while the LB who Lauvao didn't release and block pops him in the gap.

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Here is a read-option play. I don't know if they should have audibled out of this or not but they have 5 guys to block 7. I suppose the option adds the QB to the numbers but they still aren't in the Redskins favor.

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Add in the fact that Chris Chester and Tyler Polumbus both get beat to the inside, forcing Alfred Morris to cut outside where there are three guys waiting.

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When I watched live, I thought Kirk Cousins should have kept the ball but I'm not sure how far he would have gotten.

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This is a Zone Right to the strength. Niles Paul is lined up at TE on the play side. Tyler Polumbus should reach that 2nd level to get the LB and seal him inside. Kory Lichensteiger should release to get the backside LB.

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I don't know if Tyler Polumbus forgot that Niles Paul was on his outside but he looks right instead of sealing inside. Kory L goes towards 2nd level to get the LB that is already out leveraging him just based on alignment.

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Now Polumbus looks back inside to seal it off but it's already too late as the LB he should have blocked has already beaten Kory L and Polumbus is too far upfield.

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That LB makes the tackle along with the guy Niles Paul was blocking who get free at the end.

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Trying something different because of struggles in the zone game. Here is a Counter. Chris Chester and Niles Paul are going to pull while Alfred Morris gives a jab step right and then head back left.

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Trent Williams blocks down like he is suppose to and that leaves two ARI defenders on the outside for Chester and Paul to block on the pull.

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Does it surprise anyone that both pullers block the same defender leaving one defender free? Alfred Morris wanted to go outside but when he saw that, he cuts back inside.

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Morris is tackled for a minimal gain.

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Here's a Zone Left. ARI has a LB and a DB in the middle of the field. That should give an advantage to Washington but keep and eye on the two red arrows the whole play.

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Everyone is flowing left but no one is releasing to the 2nd level. No one. Two gaps are starting to open up. Morris is going to try to get to the outside one and still has D.Young lead blocking so that should take care of #22.

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But D.Young helps Logan Paulsen block his man on the outside leaving #22 free. The two defenders I originally pointed out meet Morris in the backfield. One catches him from behind and #22 hits him head on.

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Roy Helu Jr comes in for this run. Zone Left.

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Tyler Polumbus gets beat inside early which takes away any chance at a cutback lane.

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Would also be hard to take the front side gap as Chester already lost his block and is actually pushing him into the hole. That would normally help open up the cutback lane but as previously mentioned, Polumbus was beat early.

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Helu does try and cut back but it is unsuccessful.

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A lot has been made about DeSean Jackson's blocking this week. It affected two 3rd down pass plays (might do a piece on it) and here it affects the run game. Redskins have Twins left and ARI flexed out a LB over Jackson. The LB is playing inside leverage and that makes it easy for Jackson to seal/get in the way so it opens up the outside.

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Trent Williams and Niles Paul do a good job sealing the left end and opening up the outside but DeSean Jackson completely passes the OLB to go block the safety. The Redskins have no one to account for that LB.

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The LB meets Morris on the edge and brings him down quickly.

In a season where much isn't going right, this was suppose to be our bread and butter. A carried over scheme from the previous regime that put our run game on the map. This is what we were suppose to lean on while the QBs and WRs took time to digest the Gruden aerial attack. Instead, gains of one yard or less are putting us behind the chains and putting the pressure on the QB. There is no one person to blame. There are failures across the board but this is a bigger story than the quarterback situation at this point. Neither of them are good enough to thrive without a run game.