NFP: Did Haslett Make the Right Call in the Final Minutes?

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Lanky Livingston

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Thought this deserved its own thread.

Matt Bowen's opinion of the 3rd down "and a bus ride" call (love that descriptor, Ryman). He has no problem with it.
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Did Redskins’ defensive coordinator Jim Haslett make the right call last night in the final minutes down in Dallas sending pressure at QB Tony Romo? I want to break this down, discuss some other options and get into the Xs and Os of a crucial situation in the Cowboys’ 18-16 Monday night win.

A quick set up: 3rd and 21, protecting a two point lead with Dallas in their 2-minute offense. What do we see? Cover 0 (blitz-man with no safety help) with eight-man pressure. Here are my thoughts on the call…

- I understand the negative comments after the game from Redskins’ CB DeAngelo Hall. Playing blitz-man, you expect the ball to come out—quickly. That’s why you play with an inside shade, take away inside breaking routes (slant, skinny post, option) and use a flat-foot read in an off-man position. However, you still have to cover in the NFL when the QB can extend the play. It doesn’t always play out like it is drawn up on the chalkboard.

- What are the other options? You could play some Cover 2 or even go with 2- Man (man-under with deep help). That is the easy call here. Rush four (or even three) and force Tony Romo to dump the ball off underneath or hit the check down. However, even when you take away vertical route schemes, you are allowing the Cowboys to set up a very manageable fourth down situation that gives them the entire playbook to work with.

- Use 5-man pressure with zone concepts in the secondary. Think of a basic zone blitz where you rush five and drop six into coverage. Three-deep, three-under (think Cover 3) where you still have a top on the defense, plus a free safety in the deep middle of the field. A “safe” call that brings some pressure—and protects you in the backend.

- Play combination man. Similar to when I broke down Cover 7 here on the chalkboard, this defense allows you to “take away” certain receivers on the field. You can “double” a player such as Dez Bryant on the outside, play a 2-Man look over the top of No.1 or move inside and run a “slice” call (in and out) over the slot. Bottom line here, it gives you some options to play with in the secondary.

Did I like the call? Looking back (which is very easy to do the day after), I don’t have any issues with it. Haslett is a pressure-based coach and he wanted to end the game. The Redskins did a poor job on their contain rush principles on the edge of the defense (which allowed Romo and Bryant to buy time), but I want to play for a coach that trusts his secondary when the game is one the line.

LINK
 

Elephant

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I have one quote from this article that has me scratching my head, " Haslett is a pressure-based coach and he wanted to end the game."

Pressure-based coach?

When we scored that TD to take a 16-9 lead, what happened to the pressure? On the next 2 possessions Haslett allowed Romo to get into a rhythm, gain some confidence and ultimately burn us. There was absolutely no pressure. You know what I saw, I saw Haslett get scared after Rak came out and Jackson got burned on the corner as Felix Jones churned off a 20 something yard run. It kinda reminded me of when Haslett got shell shocked by the Eagles last year on Monday night.

Dallas began to double team Kerrigan and Romo began to chip away. Where was the pressure? After we scored that TD, we should have thrown every thing at them, instead it was 4 man rush without Rak in there. If I remember correctly, one of those FG drives, Romo did not even get hit on the entire drive.

That's fine, they only scored 6 points in the first 3 series of the 2nd half. I guess we could have lived with that.

In chat last night, I called it on the final drive by Dallas. I knew Haslett was going to throw the bus at Romo and since he had built up his confidence in the previous series, he was going to burn us. OK, first down, heavy rush, desired result for us. Same thing on second. Now here is the point of contention that Bowen doesn't address with how things panned out and him not having a problem with the blitz on 3rd and 21. We have been extremely good at stopping 3rd or 4th and short all season and back into the pre-season. I could have lived with a so-called 4th and manageable, we had been defending it well all season long.

But the reality is, it's neither here nor there. We failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity. It is a long season, like others have said we are young and we will get better.
 

Bulldog

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No, it was not the right call. Washington was playing with smaller DBs whose coverage skills as a unit can be considered 'average'.

In a long yardage situation like the one last night, you play the averages which say an offense is unlikely to get 21 yards on third down something like 80%-90% of the time.

The only thing that might tip the balance the other way if I were the Defensive Coordinator is if I had a cornerback like Deion Sanders or Asomugha to cover a Dez Bryant one on one and I was willing to trust him to make the play.

But everyone from the GM to the coaches to the fans know that we don't have that elite talent at CB at the present time.

If in the 3-4 the Redskins can't get good enough pressure on a quarterback with the down 3 and both outside backers against a Dallas line with a rookie OT, injured center and injured/limited qb than the problem lies elsewhere.
 

Lanky Livingston

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In a long yardage situation like the one last night, you play the averages which say an offense is unlikely to get 21 yards on third down something like 80%-90% of the time.
Yeah, but he has a point about 4th and manageable. He was trying to win the game, I can respect that. Hall needs to cover better IMO.

If in the 3-4 the Redskins can't get good enough pressure on a quarterback with the down 3 and both outside backers against a Dallas line with a rookie OT, injured center and injured/limited qb than the problem lies elsewhere.
One problem is that they're telegraphing their blitzes. Not hard to pick them up when they know its coming. The other problem is they didn't take advantage of the soft interior OL. I would have done more "inside-out blitzting," sending Landry, Rocky & Fletcher down the middle.
 

Bulldog

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Yeah, but he has a point about 4th and manageable. He was trying to win the game, I can respect that. Hall needs to cover better IMO.

But here is the point - Hall at 28 is what he is as a cornerback. Expecting him to do more than he is physically capable of doing is foolhardy. Coaches have to balance what they would like to do on the field in ideal circumstances and the talent they have on hand.

Again, if the Redskins had a taller corner with better cover skills to match up with Bryant I would have had less of an issue with the play.
 

riggins44

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Had it worked everyone would be calling him a genius. It didn't so everyone is questioning the call.

Everyone goes nuts when teams run prevent defenses and say should have brought pressure.

The only way anyone would have been happy over the call is if it succeeded. If we had gotten more pressure on Romo chances are throw isn't completed.

I had no problem with the call. We just didn't execute. Romo pulled one out of arse.
 

Lanky Livingston

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But here is the point - Hall at 28 is what he is as a cornerback. Expecting him to do more than he is physically capable of doing is foolhardy. Coaches have to balance what they would like to do on the field in ideal circumstances and the talent they have on hand.

Again, if the Redskins had a taller corner with better cover skills to match up with Bryant I would have had less of an issue with the play.
I agree, but if the Redskins blitzers/DL had blitzed better and held the corner, Romo may not get the throw off. Instead, they let him get outside and make a play. Plenty of blame to go around, but I for one won't get mad at the playcall. I know I've been screaming at the TV when our D goes into prevent mode at the end of games...I'd rather see them be aggressive. Maybe not THAT aggressive, but not sit back and let them do what they want.
 

Bulldog

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I am not an advocate of sitting back and rushing 3 men.

But you would figure with both outside backers coming and perhaps Fletcher inside as well, 6 men should be enough to overload the front and force a mismatch that would end up with Romo having to hurry his throw.

Throwing in the kitchen sink on such a long yardage play with the lead though seems to risky given where the teams were on the field.
 

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I liked the pressure. I just wish we had kept one Safety back to help out where necessary rather than bring everyone up.
 

Rymanofthenorth

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OK Im gonna weigh in here.

In a 3-4 the biggest advanatge is that you can send blitzes from various angles and positions and this makes it harder to predict and pick up. if however you get caught using the same blitzes pretty soon teams pick it up and thats when they make big plays.

Do I think Haslett is a pressure coach? nope, he gets shellshocked, and goes conservative, he is at heart a bend but dont break guy, not a sell the farm and givver guy. we need to be more creative with our blitz calls, its that simple.

as for the coverage ? on a long third down, your corner has to be aware of down and distance to close out the game, im not saying you lay off completely but you dman sure dont jump a hitch on 3rd and 21, what kind of retard thinks that on 3 and 21 with a few minutes left they will throw a short 5 yard hitch? even as a blitz pickup, they arent gonna do that if its not donovan mcnabb ffs. IMHO more than any other single play, that play killed us, and sadly its indicative of 2 things, poor coaching and a player who is more concerned about making highlite reel plays, than simply playing sound intelligent WINNING football. If uses half a brain, he waits 10 yards off Romo has no option or seam to lay the ball up, and either throws it away or throws a 5 yard pass that is tackled quickly. and Yes I am placing the Blame more on Hall than Haslett.

Where Haslett failed was in the late third and 4th where he suddenly started being conservative and the pies moved the ball.
 

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I think Haslett had to change up late in 3rd and 4th period. When Orakpo went out with cramps it changed things completely.

They didn't get their big runs until he was out. Missing Orakpo really hurt out D.
 

fansince62

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I think Haslett had to change up late in 3rd and 4th period. When Orakpo went out with cramps it changed things completely.

They didn't get their big runs until he was out. Missing Orakpo really hurt out D.
yup again!!!! exact conversation I had at work today with another Skins fan!
 

Rymanofthenorth

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but when one of your best pass rushers goes out, do you blitz LESS to make up for that? or do you get creative with your blitzes and send Dbs, send a safety, or send multiple guys to make up for it?

Rak is a solid guy and he is a difference maker, but suddenly rushing 3 or even 4 after sending blitzes all game was stupid, those fumbled easy botched snaps everyone is talking about? all of them came when we loaded up the line, the problem was we didnt send unpredictable blitzes we just showed them.
 

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but when one of your best pass rushers goes out, do you blitz LESS to make up for that? or do you get creative with your blitzes and send Dbs, send a safety, or send multiple guys to make up for it?

Rak is a solid guy and he is a difference maker, but suddenly rushing 3 or even 4 after sending blitzes all game was stupid, those fumbled easy botched snaps everyone is talking about? all of them came when we loaded up the line, the problem was we didnt send unpredictable blitzes we just showed them.
Well, its not the very act of calling a blitz means the blitzer is going to get to the QB. When a blitz is called, a player needs to use some skill to get to the QB.

What I'm saying is that it makes sense to not call as many blitzes when your best blitzer is off the field. It doesn't help things to call a blitz with a guy who isnt going to get to the QB. It actually makes sense to call plays that put the individual players in the best position to do whatever it is they do best.
 

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If it works the coach is a genius. If it doesn't he's an idiot.

A universal truth of sports which continues to apply to the 2011 Redskins.
 

Rymanofthenorth

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sorry I don't understand that logic at all TSF, we are supposedly a blitzing aggressive defence, that shouldnt change if one player leaves the game, and Rak isnt our best pass rusher, Kerrigan has been more effective off the edge. either way, yes the player has to make the play, but the DC has to put that player in position to make a play by scheming and by designing plays that work. we still had landry who was once one of college footballs most feared blitzers, Kerrigan, and Fletch who is actually pretty solid at blitzing as well. what you do NOT do is take your foot off the gas and play conservative, all that did was let the pies gain a bit of momentum and recover.
 

Ax

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Well, as has been the case around here for quite a while, if the offense would do their part, it wouldn't have come to this.

Kyle Shanahan and the offense shoulder the majority of blame for this loss. Some questionable play calling, and poor execution did us in.

When your defense keeps the opponent out of the endzone for the entire game, you should win. Every...single...time.
 

Om

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And when was the last time an undrafted rookie FA kicker went 6-6 for God's Sake?

Or a center/QB combo leave the ball bouncing around in the backfield 4-5 times and not once have it bounce to a defender?

The Skins were paddling upstream against the universe on Monday Night.

Add to that that they apparently smeared Vaseline on their hands prior to grabbing said paddle, and you get a loss we'll be shaking our heads over for many years.
 

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