When DeSean Jackson signed with Washington this past off-season, fans salivated at the idea of the Robert Griffin III-to-DeSean Jackson connection. Deep speed combined with a deep arm spurred a host of memes, nicknames, and photoshops of the duo. Fast forward to now and things clearly haven't gone according to plan. DeSean Jackson has been as good as advertised. Whether Jackson gets the ball or not, he gets open deep three to four times a game but QB performance has been the only thing to slow him down. Add in the fact that Griffin has been in and out of the lineup and you have a prescription for disappointment. Against the Eagles though, the "blackjack" combo of Griffin (10) and Jackson (11) were able to hook up on a few big plays against Jackson's former team. Let's take a look:
1. Out of shotgun, the Redskins are going to run a read-option play-action with a bubble screen from the slot. It looks a lot like the package plays that have taken over the NFL recently but it isn't. It's a designed shot to DeSean Jackson at the top of the screen. They have fly routes outside the numbers on both sides of the field and the Eagles only have a single-high safety. The CB alignment should alert Robert Griffin III to Cover 1.
After the play-action, Griffin pump-fakes to the bottom of the screen. Here is what I like about the play: Not only does Griffin pump to draw the single-high safety to that side of the field, but Niles Paul is also running a climb route in front of the safety to also draw him over. That leaves DeSean Jackson in a 1-on-1 situation at the top of the screen.
Was this ball underthrown? Yeah, but it was good enough and Jackson gave Griffin enough room down the sideline to be able to drop it in. As you can see, the single-high safety was completely taken out of the play.
#2. Redskins go with Four-Verts here. The Eagles are in a Cover 3. The single-high safety is lined up on the hash opposite of DeSean Jackson. Bradley Fletcher is playing nearly 10 yards off of Jackson at the bottom of the screen.
Griffin looks at the deep safety and pump-fakes the ball again. This holds the safety where he is and Jackson has already eaten up most of the cushion at the bottom of the screen.
Griffin looks back to the right and lets the ball go towards Jackson. Does he underthrow this ball too? Yeah, but I prefer this to earlier in the year when he proved you CAN out-throw DeSean Jackson. Again, Jackson gives him plenty of room to the outside so Griffin can drop it in bounds.
#3. The last two deep throws certainly gave Griffin confidence but Griffin can't allow that to let him just go through the motions. He needs to make his reads on every play because in the NFL, just one mental lapse can cost you. Again, the Redskins have fly routes on the outside with a climb route to draw the safeties attention. The two flat routes become dump off options. The Eagles are in a Cover 1 and DeSean Jackson is at the top of the screen.
Griffin pump fakes to Pierre Garcon at the bottom of the screen but the safety ignores that and the climb route. He begins cheating towards DeSean Jackson.
Griffin doesn't see the safety cheating towards Jackson, he just turns after the pump fake and throws. If he saw him, he might have stuck with Garcon over the top.
The ball is underthrown and Nate Allen is able to come over the top and pick off the pass.
While Jackson and Griffin haven't produced together like expected, not all hope is lost. They have one more game left this season to build on what they started here (Griffin hit him on some timing routes as well). At this moment, it appears both Jackson and Griffin will be back next year. Hopefully, they use this off-season to build more cohesion and have the kind of season next year that they were expected to have this year.