Notes from around the NFC East: Thoughts on the Redskins’ Pistol formation, and a bunch of training camp reports

John Keim is reporting that RG3 holds the ball too long.  I’m going to do some remedial NFL math on that one:

Very shaky OL


Three of the best pass rushing teams in the league reside in your division


QB holds the ball too long


Unpleasant results

More good notes from Keim on the rest of the team here.  Actually, a number of the Redskins reporters are doing a great job.  Practice reports from the Washington Times’ Rich Campbell here, and from Real Redskins’ Rich Tandler here.

In case you haven’t heard, the Skins are looking to run the Pistol formation this year.  The idea of the Pistol has been swirling in my head for about a week now, and I don’t think I like it for the Skins.  I watched some tape of the Panthers last year, who tinkered a little with the Pistol formation.  From the very limited number of looks I got at their version, it looked impressive.

But there’s a difference (a big difference, in my opinion) between the Panthers running the Pistol and the Redskins running the Pistol. Cam Newton is 6’5, 245, and is built like a house.  The Panthers have one of the best RB tandems in the NFL in 5’9 215 DeAngelo Williams and 5’10 235 Jonathan Stewart.  They also added 5’9 245 bowling ball Mike Tolbert this offseason.  That is an absolutely nasty power running attack.  I don’t think the Redskins have appropriate personnel to pull it off.  I like Roy Helu and Evan Royster, but they are a far cry from Williams and Stewart, and Griffin is far from the bruising runner that Cam Newton is.  If RG3 is going to take some shots, I’d prefer they be of the “trying to make something out of nothing on a scramble” variety.  I wouldn’t be exposing him to hits on purpose.

More after the jump…

From Giants camp, 2nd year LB Jacquian Williams is impressing.  He’s also the player in the NFC East that I have the most trouble with, spelling-wise, so he has that going for him as well.  Giants camp has been difficult to keep up with, from my perspective.  See the links above for the Redskins’ beat writers, in which they give detailed round-ups of what they’re seeing at camp?  Plenty of that stuff for the Skins, Eagles, and Cowboys, but I haven’t found anyone doing that regularly at Giants camp.  Not sure why.  If any of you guys know of something I’m missing, please point me in the right direction.  I’ll be there next Monday, just FYI.

My buddy Lars is doing a great job out at Oxnard, taking in Cowboys camp.  His round-ups of the first three days of camp can be found here, here, and here.  Bonus points for Lars, who lives in Germany, and came all the way out to California to cover his team. (Golf clap).  Also, Raf at Cowboys Nation is grinding it out at Oxnard.  A ton of practice reports out of him as well.  Definitely worth the look.


  1. No Salsa says:

    Carr vs Cruz ,Its on!

  2. Joe D says:

    Vick, Mcnabb, Roethlisberger all held onto the ball too long. For big ben’s sake it’s either a sack or a clutch play, so it’s not necessarily a terrible thing. It is high risk/high reward, not a bad analysis that they are trying to get him to go through his reads before he just takes off and bolts… The NFL is going to try and hype RG3 to the next level just like they did with Vick while he was in ATl because those guys are excitin to watch… I think Skins will get a lo tof national draw becaose of him. Personally, I’m excited to watch the kid play

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      I think that ok for Big Ben, who is a moose that’ll just keep getting up. However, holding onto the ball too long is what has gotten Vick hurt. RG3’s body type is more like Vick’s than it is Big Ben’s

  3. ubrab says:


    The Pistol is not all about QB running the ball. IT’s about new rhythm and new run plays, shorter drops when passing the ball – Giving new looks to the defense. If Tyler Thigpen was able to run it successfully in KC, then I don’t see any reason for the Skins not to try it.

    The QB Dive up the middle at the Goal line might not be a regular play for them though, while it is for the Panthers and huge Cam.

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      Yes, but it also includes a lot a option runs as well. In Carolina, they ran some option out of the Pistol, with Newton and those 2 backs. I know that running the ball isn’t the only thing you do out of that look, but it’s a significant part of it. I haven’t been at their camp to see how many running looks they’re showing out of that set, but I’d have to assume that they have some designed runs in there for RG3, and I’m just not liking that.

  4. NYG_slater says:

    Ya if you wanna catch up on what happened at giants camp Garafolo is the beat reporter you wanna check out. Sadly, Ralph V and Patricia Traina seem to have gotten a bit vanilla in their reporting and commentary.

  5. Brandon Carr looks like he”s worth the 5o mil so far ,Im like wow Primetime has return 2 Big D

    1. JasonE says:

      Woo! Woo! All aboard the hyperbole train!

  6. Eric Nili says:

    Check out Pat Traina’s breakdown of Giants camp:

    Also, I enjoy reading your blog so keep up the good work.

  7. JZ says:

    This has gotten a little blown out of proportion. From the same article:

    “The first step is having a good feel for the timing of the routes and where to go with the ball against certain coverages,” quarterback Rex Grossman said. “His natural football instincts will take care of the things we’re seeing. That’s more important than getting the ball out of his hands quickly… Some days the coaches say we want you to still go through your reads, don’t worry about getting sacked because we want you to have the rep.”

    It seems to me that the “holding onto the ball too long” thing is more by design than anything else. It’s hard to tell what coaches are trying to emphasize on any particular drill, so until I see this issue pop up in an actual game, I don’t think it’s a real point of concern.

  8. WeGotLinemen says:

    From what I’ve read Griffin has been told to hold on to the ball and work through his progressions even if it would lead to a sack in a real game. I think they are trying to avoid conditioning him into cutting his reads short and trying to make plays with his legs.

    The impression I get is that the defense is dominating the o-line and if they made him get rid of the ball in time to avoid the rush he would never actually get to practice going through all the progressions.

    There is a lot of talk about him moving slowly and deliberately when he runs play action. It’s been talked about so consistantly that I wonder whether he is actually practising at 3/4 speed and trying to build up muscle memory. It’s a technique I’ve used in martial arts to deconstruct and rebuild technique. Slow everything down, get the motion absolutely perfect and then build up the speed.

    1. ^^^This

      Reports are that they have asked him to be very deliberate with his reads in the pocket, even with pressure in his face. I get the idea, as it will allow him to build a foundation of knowledge with which to work quicker off of in game situations. I’d rather hear that he is holding the ball and going through his progressions fully from the pocket than that he is taking off at the first sniff of pressure and trying to run for it.

      Too early to tell if this will be an issue or not. Good new is, we find out next Thursday!!!!


  9. BBI says:

    Mike Garafolo, of has pretty sweet practice round ups that go up around 4ish every day after practice. They are quite detailed and involve a little bit of analysis as well. Definitely a good source to check into.

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      Ok, thanks.

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