The FOX crew on Sunday made mention of the following play during their telecast last Sunday, in which the Redskins lined up 4 defenders in a cluster on one side of the ball on a crucial 3rd and 2 late in the 2nd quarter. You could kind of see it from the sideline view during the game, but I was interested in getting a second look when the NFL made the “All-22” available. Here’s what that play looked like pre-snap. The Redskins sure do have that one little area of the field covered. No way Cam Newton is getting a first down there:
Unfortunately, and excuse me if this analysis is overly simplistic, but the Panthers have a 5-to-4 numbers advantage (not including the QB) on the other side:
So Cam Newton runs that way and the Panthers easily pick up the first down. Candy from a baby:
I can understand if you’re the Redskins and it’s 3rd and 12. You’re going to get a numbers advantage on one side by sending a blitz on an obvious passing situation, but that alignment makes zero sense on 3rd and 2, particularly against a running QB like Cam Newton.
OK, moving on. From the offensive side of the ball, on 3rd and Goal from the 4, the Redskins ran an odd formation. I actually like the play call here, but hate the personnel.
Here’s the simple design of the play:
The Redskins have 4 receivers lined up to the right, one to the left. At the snap, Brandon Banks will move backwards to take a quick screen from Robert Griffin III. Logan Paulsen, Santana Moss, and Josh Morgan will block for Banks:
Here, Banks will receive the pass, and all 3 Redskins receivers grouped to the outside will engage on their men, while safety Charles Godfrey (circled) will come free:
Paulsen and Morgan do a good job of blocking on their guys, but Santana Moss is unable to wall off Panthers CB Captain Munnerlyn to the inside (circled), which might allow Banks to get to the pylon. Meanwhile, Godfrey is closing on Banks:
Banks is slowed by Munnerlyn, and tackled by Godfrey well short of the end zone:
My two gripes on this play:
- I don’t understand the fascination of trying to get the ball in the hands of Brandon Banks in the regular offense. On the season he has 6 catches for 7 yards, a fumble, and a long of 6. For his career he has 9 catches for 27 yards. It’s not like we’re talking about a guy like Devin Hester that is so electric that it makes sense to get him the ball on offense on occasion. We’re talking about a pretty average returner here. But worse, why would you use him in a tight confined space like this? If it makes sense to use Banks in your regular offense at all, it would be in between the 40’s, where you might get him in space, playing to his strengths. In tight, Banks is not a guy that’s going to break many tackles or have a tough run to the goal line.
- Why is Santana Moss being utilized as a lead blocker here? The effort that Moss is going to give you as a blocker is nice and all, but he’s not the best option. Where’s Niles Paul? Aren’t these the kinds of roles that suit his skill set?