A Burgundy and Gold Obsession

    • Re: Random Redskins Thoughts

      I think there's an overall understanding that our passing attack is weak. The fans and mediots see it, and so obviously does the coaching staff. What Alex is being asked to do is quite a bit different than what he did in KC. He's struggling to adjust. And his unfamiliarity with our receiving weapons has been been made exponentially more difficult by a rotating cast of players including guys who were working at Walmart a month ago. Pass pro has been inexplicably spotty at best.

      On the other hand, we stumbled onto a giant gold nugget in AP. Gone are the complaints that Gruden won't commit to the run. Now the narrative is that he's running too much. Gruden's riding AP like his favorite mule.

      What's that gotten us? 4 wins in our first 6 games, equalling our best start since 1996 when Norv Turner had them at 7-1 before going 2-6 down the stretch and missing the playoffs. Win against the Giants next week and that's the best start we'll have had in 22 years.

      And it's Gruden's playcalling and approach that's gotten us there.

      I get the complaints and anxiety. Our offense is almost a liability right now. But I think there's a method to the madness. Gruden is playing Moneyball. He knows we have 2 advantages over our opponents. We've got a resurgent, powerful RB in AP. And we've got one hell of a defense. His playcalling right now is predicated on not making mistakes and forcing the other guys to make them.

      The Redskins through 6 games are tied for #4 for takeaways with 11 takeaways (4 INTs and 7 forced fumbles).

      They Redskins are #2 in the league in turnovers, having thrown just 2 INTs with 3 fumbles..

      So far in 2018, the Redskins are rushing the ball more often than in 2017 (roughly 46% of the time vs. 41% in 2017). Gruden is buying time. He's trying to give Alex Smith time to adjust. He's trying to give Alex time to mesh with his offense. He's trying to give Alex time to mesh with the players around him. He's relying on the better than average rushing attack and defense to eke out wins while he does that. One of the reasons Gruden has pretty much given Smith a pass, failing to criticize him even when it's warranted (like after yesterday's game) is because limiting Smith's exposure is THE PLAN.

      We don't like the plan, but there's no denying that right now - more often than not, it's working. We've beaten two really good teams in Green Bay and Carolina. We just beat a pretty good one in Dallas. And of course, we beat a bad team in Arizona.

      If you accept the above assessment of what's gotten us to this point, there might be cause for some serious optimism going forward. If Smith settles down, pass pro improves, and he starts getting some of our better receiving talent back (Richardson, Crowder, Thompson, possibly Quinn and/or Sims) or we add a top tier WR before the trade deadline, you could see offensive production really take off. A couple good signs yesterday even with a very flawed performance from Smith? No INTs and he spread the ball around to 6 different players, including several to Josh Doctson.

      I think it's likely Gruden will continue focusing on a pounding run game (yes, even rushing on 1st down almost exclusively) until Smith starts showing signs of comfortability, and/or he gets enough weapons back to have a more reasonable chance of having an above average passing attack.

      I'm not arguing that this approach doesn't deserve criticism. I'm arguing that it's not happening in a vacuum, that Gruden knows exactly what he's doing, it's a calculated risk every weekend, but that so far, it's worked more often than not.
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Random Redskins Thoughts started by Burgundy Burner View original post
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