so...let's get to it

One of many experimental iterations ...

Goaldeje

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It's a good question. Is it the line or the backs? I'm tempted to reply that it's the backs, given that Portis looks slower and LJ is a joke. Also, the line has given McNabb plenty of time to throw most of the time. Still, I'm not seeing huge running lanes, though maybe that's just me.
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the Omniscient

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I personally think it is both the interior of the line and the slow backs. Portis looks like he has absolutely zero burst. Even when he had a hole yesterday he ended up with three yards or so, it was pitiful. Larry Johnson gave his best Randle El kick return impression and Williams is not a starting back.

They obviously cannot find a good fit for the LG position. Lichesteinger (however you spell it) and Dockery continue to switch in and out. It seems like they are praying for someone to step up and take charge. Dockery always seemed like a poor in space run blocker to me (for pulling and the like). I have never liked Rabach, he may be smart, but he cannot block worth a darn, it seems like he is always getting run over. Hicks is a quality backup at best.

I am probably wrong. :)
 

fansince62

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I personally think it is both the interior of the line and the slow backs. Portis looks like he has absolutely zero burst. Even when he had a hole yesterday he ended up with three yards or so, it was pitiful. Larry Johnson gave his best Randle El kick return impression and Williams is not a starting back.

They obviously cannot find a good fit for the LG position. Lichesteinger (however you spell it) and Dockery continue to switch in and out. It seems like they are praying for someone to step up and take charge. Dockery always seemed like a poor in space run blocker to me (for pulling and the like). I have never liked Rabach, he may be smart, but he cannot block worth a darn, it seems like he is always getting run over. Hicks is a quality backup at best.

I am probably wrong. :)
you may be closer to the truth than you imagine! seems to be a combination of the interior line either not being strong enough (i.e., rabach) or quick/athletic enough in space (i.e., dockery) as the zone blocking scheme emphasizes. I think Portis has enough burst and sees the holes.....but he does seem to have balance problems. he's lost his cut back abilities after all these years of North/South running.
 

kirbster

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I think a large part of it is the line needing to gel more in the ZBS. They're not in sync yet, and the lanes aren't there. Part of it is the age of the primary RBs, but Williams couldn't do anything either.

Someone wrote on another board that it seemed that the coaches keyed in last week on getting the passing game on track (which they succeeded at!) and probably would key in on the running game. If we see similar strides for the running game this Sunday, and the passing game doesn't regress, we'll be unstoppable!
 

the Omniscient

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I don't necessarily agree with getting used to the ZBS because we have been running it the last two years. We are not very efficient with it. I did not want Dockery back for this reason. He is great for a power scheme, but fails miserably in the ZBS.
 

Neophyte

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I think we will start to see the running game open up some. Frankly, if I were a defensive coordinator I would play the run until the Skins proved they could pass on someone. I think they did that this last week against Houston but it might take another couple of games before teams decide this is the new reality and they need to seriously adjust to it.

Once that happens, I think Clinton will start to look like Clinton again.
 

Lanky Livingston

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My theory:

We have played the Cowboys (4th overall in run defense last year), and the Texans, a team intimately familiar with our scheme (moreso than our own players, most likely), and a team that sells out to stop the run. I think we will see a much different ground game against the Rams this Sunday.

This is not to say our interior OL isn't weak or doesn't need to be replaced - I've been clamoring for Rabach to be shipped for 2 years now - just saying I think there is more to it than just that. We had some decent running games with a worse OL in the Zorn era - so it can't be *JUST* the line.
 

Burgundy Burner

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Say goodbye to LJ. Elevate Torain. Give Brandon Banks his time - not a running back, but as a 4th receiver, you can give him some WR screens and the occasional end around.

Search various practice squads and see if there is a potential gem to be found.

For next year, we will need the following for the running game...

Good replacement at center - a gem can be found in round two. Get younger and better at right guard - free agency or the draft. Get a stud RB in the fourth round (Coach Shanahan knows how to find these gems). Get another in the seventh round.
 

stevenaa

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Not realy sure just how complicated the ZBS scheme is. If we could have run the ball in the second half, the game never would have been in question. Definately need to improve the interior. Hopefully they'll make some adjusments and get it going.
 

China

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I think we will start to see the running game open up some. Frankly, if I were a defensive coordinator I would play the run until the Skins proved they could pass on someone. I think they did that this last week against Houston but it might take another couple of games before teams decide this is the new reality and they need to seriously adjust to it.

Once that happens, I think Clinton will start to look like Clinton again.
Actually, if I were a defensive coordinator, I'd do the opposite. The Redskins showed they can pass. They passed for 426 yards against Houston. They haven't shown they can run. So I'd stop the passing game and make the 'skins show they can beat you with the running game.
 

Jimbo

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Say goodbye to LJ. Elevate Torain. Give Brandon Banks his time - not a running back, but as a 4th receiver, you can give him some WR screens and the occasional end around.

Search various practice squads and see if there is a potential gem to be found.

For next year, we will need the following for the running game...

Good replacement at center - a gem can be found in round two. Get younger and better at right guard - free agency or the draft. Get a stud RB in the fourth round (Coach Shanahan knows how to find these gems). Get another in the seventh round.
I hope it means you're addressing the Defense in the first round. We're playing a 3-4 defense with 4-3 personnel. We need a BIG MLB that can run. We need a better NT and someone better than Golston at DE. We need a legitimate FS. Hey, I'm not asking for much. ;)
 

Goaldeje

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I hope it means you're addressing the Defense in the first round. We're playing a 3-4 defense with 4-3 personnel. We need a BIG MLB that can run. We need a better NT and someone better than Golston at DE. We need a legitimate FS. Hey, I'm not asking for much. ;)
Yeah, this is why I question the switch to the 3-4. We knew our line needed a lot of work, which we weren't gonna be able to fix in one off season. We knew our WR corps were pretty weak. You have to figure there is always going to be one other area that you think of as a strength entering the season that ends up being weaker than you thought. In this case, it looks like the RB got old fast.

So with lots of questions on the offensive side of the ball, we change the foundation of how we play D? Like you said Jimbo, it's not like the list of players we need on D is particularly short. Plus, we need depth. I would rather see our third round picks on be used for depth and eventual starters, which obviously wont be happening anytime soon.
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fansince62

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Outstanding responses everyone! I do think we need to understand the ZBS in a bit more detail to fully weigh what is going on - I know I'm no expert - but this thread shows we are all thinking in some depth.
 

Henry

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From what I can tell Portis is still serviceable back. He's not as fast anymore but he has good instincts, hits the hole well and is not afraid to grind out 2 yards if that's all that's there.

Johnson is done. Running out of bounds last week and that embarrassing ten yard loss this week ... he's making rookie mistakes in a veteran's old body. Bad bad combination.

Our line is good enough and Portis still has enough gas left in the tank that I doubt we'll be limited to 30 or fewer yards every game. Against the better run defenses we're going to struggle though.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Yeah, I can't believe LJ hasn't been released yet. Get Torain or even Parker back on the roster already!
 

Goaldeje

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larry johnson will come around, he will be ok

Just curious, what makes you say this? He looks slow and indecisive. And when he makes decisions, they tend to be bad ones, like say, the losing-ten-yards-on-the-play kind.
 

Hog Fever

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Yeah, I don’t know about LJ either. He looks very tentative when he runs and hasn’t impressed me at all. When a big back like that starts stuttering and trying to dance around it never ends well. No burst, no power, no nothin’.

I haven’t seen a whole lot of the one cut and run stuff that we came to expect from the old Broncos teams Shanahan coached. We seem to be running a lot of stretch plays that go nowhere. Even with the play calling I think if Portis could get 25 carries a game the running game would come around.
 

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