This Season's Offense: How Optimistic Are You?

One of many experimental iterations ...

Chris

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A QB that seemed indecisive and slow.

An o-line that regularly looked overmatched.

A running game that averaged under 2.9 yards per carry over the final 5 games.

Veteran receivers that couldn't create separation, young receivers that couldn't get on the field.

All of these factors, and more, resulted in an offense that produced just 12.5 points per game in the second half of the 2008 season.

How optimistic are you that a significant portion of these problems will be corrected in 2009?

Which do you think will be the most important factor towards meaningful improvement?
 

Boone

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Ha! First official thread ever belongs to Chris :)
Firstly, great to see you here brother :cheers:

Color me moderately optimistic. I have a lot of the same concerns as you do. But (as I mention in my first blog), I believe Zorn is a special guy, and that the offense as a whole is going to start clicking and gelling this year. I also don't think you can separate out the performance of the offense as a solitary unit - because I believe our defense may be off the chart good this year, and that may equate into turnover ratios we haven't seen in decades, and lots of opportunities within the 20 yard line to score vs. having to constantly go the length of the field.

I'm pretty confident we'll be in the top half of the league's offenses.
 

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I don't think it can help but be better this year than it was the last 5 games, at least to start with. That is assuming the injury bug doesn't start in training camp and pre-season, of course. Just having Samuels back, Thomas, Portis and Betts at full strength and Kelly available should work wonders.

I also agree with Boone that our defense might be the single best thing to happen to this offense in a long time. While it was good last year it was a quiet good. I am thinking that maybe this year it will be an eye popping good on the order of the Steelers and Ravens and offer the offense a lot of chances at a quick score on a short field or even score themselves.

Early points and leads can only be good for this offense, I think.
 

Chris

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Ha! First official thread ever belongs to Chris :)
Firstly, great to see you here brother :cheers:
That's Premium Member Chris to you, sir. ;)

(Now where's that waitress with my coffee?)

I am optimistic if the offensive line is improved. And that's a Mike Williams-sized if.

I do believe the receiving corp will be the surprise of the season with both Thomas & Kelly being valuable contributors.
 
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beamish

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i think everything is riding on the o-line. they dumped jansen, and added dockery and a few fat guys. i just hope it's enough for a playoff run...
 

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Love Jansen the guy, but as a player, he'd become average at best, a liability on his off days. Shedding him was smart. Dockery is a plus, the rest we'll have to wait and see on. Be nice if we could go a season without devastating injuries on the O-Line.
 

Hog Fever

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Where to start? I hate having to describe this team, or any other for that matter, with the disclaimer “On paper”. We’ve all been down that road before. Still, it’s hard to not use that phrase with the current team and if fact most teams in the Snyder era.

On paper, the defense should be fantastic. The addition of Orakpo and Haynesworth has transformed a question mark for the team, the D Line, into what should be its strength. Their presence alone should change the way teams have to game plan for us and make the jobs of the DBs and LBs easier to boot. Problem is neither one of these guys have played a snap for this team yet. They might be great. They should at least be good, but until we see it it’s hard to judge how it will translate into W’s.

On paper, the Offense should be good but not spectacular. You’d have to think one of our new receivers will contribute this season (please). You’d also have to think that JC will take the next step as he gets more comfortable with the offense and might be playing this season with a chip on his shoulder. On the flip side CP has a lot of mileage on the tires and seemed to have run out of gas late last season. It’s hard to tell if that was him or the offensive line. Ask him and I know what he’d say.

The offensive line remains a huge question mark. Samuels, our best lineman, is one year older and has been beat up for the better part of the last two years. Derrick Dockery is solid in the running game but only an average pass blocker. Rabach is average at best. Randy Thomas is solid but getting older and has had some injury issues too. At RT you either have Heyer who is average or Mike Williams. Williams is a great story but a complete wildcard here. Will he even make the team? Can he contribute if he does make the team? Can he stay healthy playing at 350-400 pounds? I think we have too many question marks here and little or no depth if any of the answers we get is “no”. Everything that our offense is going to be asked to do starts with the O-line and we are going to have to have a lot of things go right just to keep pace in what is shaping up to be a tough division.

With that in mind, where would I put us compared to the other teams in the NFC East? At this point, today, I couldn’t put us any higher than third. That may change as the season gets closer. The Giants are not supermen by any means but they rarely beat themselves. They are solid on both sides of the ball and have a great O-line (and I hate them for it). At this point you’d have to call them the division favorite. The Eagles have added some offensive talent to a team that made the NFC championship game last season. They are going to push the Giants for the division if they stay healthy. The Cowboys are probably as big a question mark as we are. They have a lot of big time players but always find a way to choke in the end. Wade Phillips might not be a good head coach but he can sure coach a defense. Can the offense work without T.O.? We shall see.

This Skins team has a lot to prove. I see a team that will fight to finish around .500 in a very tough division. That will be good for third place. If our offense really starts to click or the defense is dominant like we all hope, we might be good enough to get another win or two and have a shot at making the playoffs. Honestly I think that’s asking for a whole lot of things to go right. I can’t realistically see all of those pieces coming together this season, but I can hope right? I have definitely been wrong before.
 

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Love Jansen the guy, but as a player, he'd become average at best, a liability on his off days. Shedding him was smart. Dockery is a plus, the rest we'll have to wait and see on. Be nice if we could go a season without devastating injuries on the O-Line.
I think they are putting a lot of stock in Mike Williams. In watching him at OTAs I was impressed but how quickly he moved his feet. He is very graceful for a guy his size. Whether that translates into ability on the field will be seen.
 

beamish

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liked your post, hog fever, well said. so many variables have to go just right and what are the chances of that? but, look at the run the patriots had a few years ago when they had ZERO injuries all season (or was it even two seasons?) -- i'm just sayin'...
 

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I'm a pretty optimistic guy generally but its hard to see much to hang your hat on over the off-season.Vinny and Snyder seem to be putting their faith in Zorn being able to further develop the raw material he already has available. I do think the passing game will be more effective than we have previously seen but I am worried that the running game is in decline as the line gets older and miles start to drag on CP. There were times last season (especially in the first 8 games) where the line had sprung Portis into the open field but he wasn't able to really make it count. At times it appeared that he was looking for contact rather than the open spaces.
 

Aston Gambino

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Honestly, I don't feel too optimistic about the offense, and it's not because of the line, or even Campbell. I have a feeling our issue might be Zorn.

The first few games, no one had tape on him or knew his tendencies. I think much of our success early on was because teams didn't know exactly how to prepare for us.

But after awhile, I think teams caught on to what we were doing and were able to shut us down. Portis had less room, Campbell had less time, Santana became a non-factor.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think we're going to have to rely heavily on the D again this year. Thank God for Hunter Smith. :)
 

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Honestly, I don't feel too optimistic about the offense, and it's not because of the line, or even Campbell. I have a feeling our issue might be Zorn.

The first few games, no one had tape on him or knew his tendencies. I think much of our success early on was because teams didn't know exactly how to prepare for us.

But after awhile, I think teams caught on to what we were doing and were able to shut us down. Portis had less room, Campbell had less time, Santana became a non-factor.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think we're going to have to rely heavily on the D again this year. Thank God for Hunter Smith. :)
Here's the counter-argument though. Zorn stayed vanilla because he had to. I think he threw as much as he felt he could at JC, Portis, and the rest of the offense, and you're right - early on it worked partly because no one knew what Zorn would do in order to gameplan. But I think the offensive limitations were less Zorn's lack of imagination or play-calling skill, and more reflective of the what his players could absorb quickly and execute. I think we see a much more efficient offense this season.

Then again. I'm a homer. What else am I going to say? :)
 

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You could also argue that the opportunities were there often even with the vanilla offense but execution, or a lack thereof, did them in. How many times did we see Campbell throw a ball to where someone was supposed to be only to have that guy be a yard or more off his mark? Or a receiver drop a ball that hit them in the hands and would have gone for a first down? Or a penalty negate a good or great play?

But then execution has been a problem for this offense since Gibbs left the first time and until that changes I think we fans stay frustrated.
 

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Call me an optimist but I think we are going to make a lot of media look bad on their predictions this year. It seem everyone has us as last in the NFCE. If our defense is as good as I expect, and just a minimal improvement on our offense I can see us making the playoffs and probably going deep into them.
 

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I'm optimistic. Had you asked this before Haynesworth and Dockery I would have said we'd be lucky to do as well as 2008.

But the Skins (again) have had a decent off-season and a good draft (based mostly on 1st and 3rd round picks). My only problem is that for the Skins to be a great team I think many things will have to go right.

1. The O-line has to stay healthy.
2. Campbell has to improve upon his skill and prove that he's a decent caliber of QB
3. Thomas or Kelly (or both) have to step up and give Campbell some open targets to throw to.
4. Portis has to run all over everybody and somebody in the RB corp has to take some of his workload.

IF all this happens and the D is a good as I think it can be.....this could be a scary team. But there's waaay too many ifs out there in my opinion
 

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You could also argue that the opportunities were there often even with the vanilla offense but execution, or a lack thereof, did them in. How many times did we see Campbell throw a ball to where someone was supposed to be only to have that guy be a yard or more off his mark? Or a receiver drop a ball that hit them in the hands and would have gone for a first down? Or a penalty negate a good or great play?

But then execution has been a problem for this offense since Gibbs left the first time and until that changes I think we fans stay frustrated.
IMO, you hit the nail on the head Neo. We easily could have had three more wins last season if not for drops, and bone head penalties.

With the majority of the offense now in their second year with Zorn, and hopefully better pass protection, I'm expecting a significant change in execution.
 

Lanky Livingston

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I think the offense improves this season because it really can't get any worse, can it?

The 5 major questions I have:

1) Will Heyer revert to his 2007 form, where he came in for an injured Jon Jansen and showed flashes of brilliance and dominance, or will he play like he did in 2008, where he lost his job to a Jon Jansen who was a shell of his former self?

2) Can Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas stay healthy for the full season, and if not, can they maintain the level of performance they have put forth the past few seasons? To be honest, Chris Samuels at 75% is still probably our best lineman - Randy Thomas at 75% isn't anything to sneeze at either.

3) Will Rabach stop getting untimley $#@$#!*& penalties? :) Also will he stop getting pushed 3 feet into the backfield on every play? How long before we see Rhino take the field, and will he live up to his potential?

4) Speaking of potential - will Devin Thomas live up to his potential, and become the playmaker most of us think he can be?

5) 5th on my list but 1st in our hearts - can Jason Campbell put it all together? He showed flashes of both total brilliance and complete incompetence last year. One can only hope that Zorn works his magic a little early with Campbell, because you HAVE to think with an impatient owner like theDanny, this is both Zorn and Campbell's last chance to do something in Washington. And I'm not fully convinced Campbell won't be traded before the season starts, if Snyder can find a willing partner.


Depending on the answers to these questions, we will either vastly improve, or stay pretty much the same.
 

Lanky Livingston

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You could also argue that the opportunities were there often even with the vanilla offense but execution, or a lack thereof, did them in. How many times did we see Campbell throw a ball to where someone was supposed to be only to have that guy be a yard or more off his mark? Or a receiver drop a ball that hit them in the hands and would have gone for a first down? Or a penalty negate a good or great play?

But then execution has been a problem for this offense since Gibbs left the first time and until that changes I think we fans stay frustrated.

Agreed, Neo makes a great point. However, good teams make their own luck - you don't need a few things to break your way if you're scoring 25 ppg.
 

Miles Monroe

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I think the offense improves this season because it really can't get any worse, can it?

The 5 major questions I have:

1) Will Heyer revert to his 2007 form, where he came in for an injured Jon Jansen and showed flashes of brilliance and dominance, or will he play like he did in 2008, where he lost his job to a Jon Jansen who was a shell of his former self?

2) Can Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas stay healthy for the full season, and if not, can they maintain the level of performance they have put forth the past few seasons? To be honest, Chris Samuels at 75% is still probably our best lineman - Randy Thomas at 75% isn't anything to sneeze at either.

3) Will Rabach stop getting untimley $#@$#!*& penalties? :) Also will he stop getting pushed 3 feet into the backfield on every play? How long before we see Rhino take the field, and will he live up to his potential?

4) Speaking of potential - will Devin Thomas live up to his potential, and become the playmaker most of us think he can be?

5) 5th on my list but 1st in our hearts - can Jason Campbell put it all together? He showed flashes of both total brilliance and complete incompetence last year. One can only hope that Zorn works his magic a little early with Campbell, because you HAVE to think with an impatient owner like theDanny, this is both Zorn and Campbell's last chance to do something in Washington. And I'm not fully convinced Campbell won't be traded before the season starts, if Snyder can find a willing partner.


Depending on the answers to these questions, we will either vastly improve, or stay pretty much the same.
#2 and #3 are my biggest concerns. Chris is no spring chicken, and we do need to look for a future replacement. He's having more and more issues each season, but some how is able to keep the level of play up. I can't see that being the case much longer. IMO, Randy may have one season more then Chris has in the tank, but he's got the bad luck cloud hanging over him. By no means am I saying Chris is done, but waiting till he's to the point Jansen was is not a good Idea.

The thought of Rabach at center scares the living hell out of me. Not much more can I say about him.
 

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