This Week's Number is Thirteen

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Neophyte

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Thirteen plays from the St Louis 11 yard line or better. Thirteen chances to put the rock in the End Zone from 11 yards or less out.

If you are like me you got up this morning disgusted with the play calling and believing that out of 13 attempts from short range we ran the ball 12 of them. A review of the Play by Play show proved otherwise to me.

Of the 13 plays 8 were rushing attempts and 5 were pass attempts. Of the 8 rushing attempts Portis had 6 for a net total of 1 yard and Betts had 2 for a net total of 7 yards. Of the 5 pass attempts 4 were Campbell and 1 was Portis. All were incomplete except one attempt by Campbell to Portis for 4 yards. Sellers and Thomas both dropped catch-able balls that would have resulted in TDs (Sellers especially) while the attempts to ARE and Cooley (Portis' target on the halfback option) were pretty much uncatchable.

Anyone who knows anything about the Skins, which should include the opposing defensive coordinator for the week, knows that Portis is the guy used more for running the ball and Betts is the third down back used more for receiving. So I find it telling that the main rushing back caught the only reception in these 13 and the receiving threat had better rushing numbers.

To me this shows some misdirection and creativity on the part of Zorn that I frankly thought was lacking yesterday while watching this thing live. In short, I now think I was wrong yesterday.

Am I still upset? Sure.

The halfback option was a bad idea and should have been saved for a real opponent later in the season when the misdirection might have needed more. In my humble opinion, it showed a real lack of confidence in the QB at this point in the season, much like the option run with ARE last week.

Not to mention being pissed about going for it on 4th down at the end of the game. Sure, they only needed 1 yard to get a first down which would have pretty much iced the game but by then the coach had already called Timeout 13 seconds before the 2 minute warning with a lead where a running clock is your friend so brains obviously were not in great abundance. They should have let the clock run down to the 2 minute warning after the second down play, run the 3rd down play after the 2 minute warning, following that let the clock run as far as possible and kicked a FG.

I am also irked with Sellers and Thomas for dropping catchable balls. You just can't do that to your QB and your team when everyone needs the boost a real score will provide.

However, I am less upset at the play calling than I was during the game. I would have liked to see a fade pattern run with Kelly or an attempt to throw to the TE by the QB rather than by the RB. Really, the only plays I would like to have back so Zorn could call something else entirely is the halfback option and the fourth down play where I think a FG was the smart choice.

Looking at the play calls in order, had Thomas hung on to his pass in the 1st Qtr and Sellers hung onto his in the 2nd Qtr, my guess is the Rams defense would have been loose enough to score on running the ball in the 3rd and 4th Qtr. But since we did not make them pay early for playing the run so hard they had no reason to fear playing the run that hard late.

In short, I think Zorn did Ok with the play calling on 11 of these 13 plays. I wish he had done something different twice and managed the clock better at the end.
 

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Sarge

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I, for one, thank you for having the stomach to re-watch that game and provide insights
 

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Actually Sarge, that is without rewatching. I read the Play by Play (follow the link in the post) and pulled my data from that. I have the game on tape and plan to watch it again this week, time permitting, but figured I was better off doing this analysis from paper where maybe my emotion might not get the best of me again.
 

Sarge

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Actually Sarge, that is without rewatching. I read the Play by Play (follow the link in the post) and pulled my data from that. I have the game on tape and plan to watch it again this week, time permitting, but figured I was better off doing this analysis from paper where maybe my emotion might not get the best of me again.
Or your lunch might not get on the screen:)
 

Lanky Livingston

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I sort of agree...if Sellers and Thomas catch those balls, we're up 14-0, and its an entirely different ball game. I hated the halfback pass call, and I hated running the ball 4 times to try and ice the game.

Its clear to me that Zorn lacks faith in Campbell...we've got two 8 foot tall receivers, yet we run zero fade routes. Why? I just don't think Zorn trusts him to make that throw.
 

Chris

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13 this week would be an improvement...

over the average ppg for the last 10 games.
 

China

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One thing I will say is that on all four possessions, the Redskins ran on 1st and goal. Too predictable. On at least one of those possessions they should've thrown on first down. When the defense knows what you're going to do it makes it much easier for them to stop you.
 

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That is true, China, and I agree. A first down fade route or drag by the TE would have been nice to see.

Something else that would be nice with so many teams keying on Portis is the old Gibbs trick of faking it to the back and running a naked bootleg with the QB. Campbell has the wheels for it and doing it once or twice successfully might create a bit of room in the middle for Portis later on.
 

Hog Fever

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Thanks for taking the time to go over the film again Neo.

Dropped balls aside I'm still not impressed with the red zone play calling. I go back to something Sonny said to Zorn in the locker room, and I'll paraphrase: “You pay Jason Campbell to be your QB. Why take the ball out of his hands when you want to throw the ball?” I couldn't agree more. Stop the Portis/Randle El stuff.

Why try to get too clever? We have big receivers now, run the fade with them. Why is Randle El even in the game in this area of the field? He's not the most sure handed guy in the world. Neither is Moss for that matter (*cough* fumble). Cooley and Davis are sure handed and Mitchell has size. It seems to me this would be the natural place to use them.

I know Sellers had a nice run of TDs a few years back, but is he the best option to catch passes near the goal line? Probably not. That play was clearly designed for him. Why? Looks like Zorn is over thinking things to me.

I know the team works on the red zone offense all day on Friday. I'm not doubting the effort. If the effort is there I can only blame the scheme. The players can only sing from the sheet of music they are given, so to speak. I doubt 9 points is going to be enough this week, even against the Lions.
 

The Burgundy Ghost

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Nice write up Neo.
My only problem with the Skins handing the ball to Betts deep in the Red Zone is that we all know it doesn't work.

Betts can't get a yard to save his life. Mason, Portis would be better options.

Also, Sellers tends to run high and is also a bad choice to get you a yard.

My big questions remain unanswered.....where's Cooley, Yoder, Davis and Kelly (throw in Mitchell I guess also)?

I don't get that.
 

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Thanks WD although I think we disagree a bit. I liked the call to Betts when we did it. He netted 7 yards on 2 carries while Portis had a net of 1 yard on 6 carries. I thought that bit of misdirection was great.

Everyone knows Portis is likely to get the handoff down there while Betts is nearly always a receiver. My guess is the Rams were shading the play a bit more toward coverage which allowed Betts some running room that Portis never saw.

I do wonder where Cooley, Davis and Kelly were though. You have to think Kelly would have caught that ball Thomas dropped in the 1st Qtr.
 
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Yusuf06

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Something else that would be nice with so many teams keying on Portis is the old Gibbs trick of faking it to the back and running a naked bootleg with the QB. Campbell has the wheels for it and doing it once or twice successfully might create a bit of room in the middle for Portis later on.
I had that same thought during the game. Now that's the kind of creativity we need. Not the "cutesy" gadget stuff.

Besides, it's becoming clearer to me with each passing week that with Heyer starting, we have the same problem we did last year, i.e., we can't run well on the right side. Like it or not, it looks like we're going to have to be a passing team in order to have much of a chance this year.
 

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