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Three Plays from Gameday: Week 2, Cowboys

We get up close on three players from the Week 2 game: Morgan Moses, Case Keenum, and Terry McLaurin

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

For each Redskins game in the 2019 season, Andrew York plans to pick three plays and break them down in an effort to highlight individual Redskins players.

For the Week Two matchup against the Cowboys at home, the three plays will focus on an offensive lineman, Morgan Moses, the quarterback, Case Keenum, and a wide receiver, Terry McLaurin.

Redskins vs Cowboys, Week 2 highlights | NFL 2019 on YouTube

Posted by Bill Horgan on Thursday, September 19, 2019

[2:12] Although this play is primarily intended to talk about Morgan Moses, look at both the left and the right side of the offensive line as the play develops, because they provide examples of the correct and incorrect way to handle a stunt, respectively.

On the left side of the line, Donald Penn sets outside, sees the rushing DE, funnels him inside to Ereck Flowers, but keeps his eyes downfield so that he picks up the DT who pulled from the opposite side and is working his way around the edge. Penn rotates with the DT and sidesteps with him so that he can move in parallel and push him outside, away from the pocket.

On the right side of the line, Morgan Moses also funnels his DE inside to Brandon Scherff, but rotates in with the DE and over-pursues him, so that he is not in a position to see the stunting DT coming across from the other side to rush around the edge, nor are his hips facing outside so that he can sidestep with the rusher and push him out of the pocket. Instead, Moses sees the DT at the last minute, but is already out of position to do anything about it and allows a sack. I think this is one of many examples of poor discipline by Morgan Moses. He bit too hard on the initial rusher and was too eager to knock him out of the play, leaving Moses unaware and out of position for the stunt.

I wanted to include this play because I saw similar poor handoffs in week 1 against the Eagles, one of which resulted in a sack.

Posted by Bill Horgan on Thursday, September 19, 2019

[3:15] Case Keenum misdiagnoses the coverage, then stares down his intended WR and throws into triple coverage.

Trey Quinn moves down the line pre-snap, probably to diagnose coverage. Since a DB follows him down the line, Keenum diagnoses man coverage and thinks the shifting DB will be covering Quinn, giving him a huge cushion. Instead, it is zone coverage, and the shifting DB will be taking the outside WR, allowing the CB at the line to cover Quinn from the snap.

Quinn does a good job trying to sell an outside release, but the CB isn’t fooled, and follows him when he redirects inside. In addition, Keenum stares Quinn down so hard that the shifting CB and the MLB both realize where the pass is going and are in position to make a play, resulting in a pass thrown into triple coverage.

It looks to me like there were a few problems with Keenum on this play.

  • First, he misdiagnosed the coverage, which is understandable and somewhat forgivable (the coverages would have looked similar).
  • Much worse than that, he had so much confidence in his initial diagnosis that he locked in on Quinn as the only read before the snap, ignoring early signs that the coverage was not what he predicted.
  • Even worse than that, he telegraphed his intentions by staring Quinn down, allowing the MLB and outside CB to break down on the play.

This is one of the things you get with Case. He’s can execute the offense and makes decisive (sometimes too decisive) reads, but he lacks polish in many details of the QB position (reading coverages, looking DBs off and pump-faking to get WRs open) and has enough confidence to follow through on bad plays.

Posted by Bill Horgan on Thursday, September 19, 2019

[6:16] A simple play from Terry McLaurin, but it could signal a lot going forward.

McLaurin breaks outside and gives off all the body language of running deep. Byron Jones is so worried about giving up a deep pass that he doesn’t notice McLaurin re-directing inside on a comeback route. As a result, McLaurin has several yards of separation from any nearby defenders at his catchpoint.

I think this is significant because it shows that defenders are already starting to fear McLaurin’s deep speed, allowing him to get easy short gains. I hope to see a lot more of this going forward.

Which of these plays do you think is most significant? Are there any players you would like to see highlighted in the next article?


Who will be the Redskins starting RT in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Morgan Moses
    (78 votes)
  • 22%
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    (43 votes)
  • 30%
    A draft pick
    (60 votes)
  • 7%
    Other (explain below)
    (14 votes)
195 votes total Vote Now


When will Dwayne Haskins start at QB?

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  • 27%
    Week 4 - 7
    (55 votes)
  • 38%
    Week 8 - 12
    (76 votes)
  • 9%
    Week 13+
    (19 votes)
  • 25%
    He doesn’t start this year
    (50 votes)
200 votes total Vote Now