…then Gibbs should win by 50! Yes, the Redskins beat the Pats and Tom Brady the last time we played them in 2003. In fact, we’ve beaten them every time we’ve played them since 1972. I’m banking that at least half my readers weren’t even born then. The Pats have beaten every team in the league since the last time they beat the Redskins. We’ve beaten them six straight times. We own the Pats.
With that in mind, think about this, too. In the last two years, the Colts have beaten the Pats 3 times. They have published the blue print for beating the Pats, and it is available for all to read. Here are those keys:
1) Pressure Tom Brady with your front four only- If you blitz Brady, he will kill you. Most of the routes that the Pats play are mostly short and they spread the field. If you blitz, Brady will just throw to the open man and no matter how good you are at playing zone, you will leave someone open. On the other hand, if you pressure Brady with your front four, he doesn’t have the mobility to get too far out of the pocket. He will occasionally force throws in this situation. Admittedly, not as much as most of the QBs in the NFL, but some.
2) Stop the run- Force them to be one dimensional. So you can pin your ears back on the passing downs more often.
3) Take advantage of their lack of speed on defense- The Pats linebackers are big, smart, great pass rushers, great tacklers, and they anticipate incredibly well (even when not cheating). But they are on the slow side. While Junior Seau used to be the fastest linebacker anyone had ever seen, he is now a slower, bulkier version of himself. Bruschi is also big but a tad slow. The fact is they anticipate so well sometimes it doesn’t matter. But you have to expose this weakness. Run outside. Force them to move laterally. Also atack the deep middle of the field while also sending someone deep on the sideline. Force the linebackers to play with depth.
4) The CBs jump routes- Asante Samuel is the best CB I’ve ever seen at jumping the short routes. Better than Deion, better than even Darrell Green. But unlike Green and Prime Time, Samuel can get burned on the double move. The pump and go will catch him, but only if the score is close enough that the CBs are interested in jumping the short route.
When you look at the Colts lineup, they’ve got all the pieces in place.
Two great rushing DEs in Mathis and Freeney. Check.
Run stopping d-lineman. Well until this year, Corey Simon and run filling RBs. Check.
Wide Receivers and TEs that can challenge deep both in the middle and outside. RBs that can break it outside. Check and check.
Wide Receivers that are threats both short and deep. Check.
The Redskins don’t quite fit the template perfectly, but we do pretty well. Andre Carter has been a monster this year. He will force the Pats to rethink their coverage schemes. It is a shame that we don’t have someone on the other side to cause real chaos. We do stop the run brilliantly and with only only seven in the box.
On offense, Portis can get outside and Cooley, Randle-El, and Moss can challenge deep. And Moss has a killer double move. We can do this.
The key is in execution and in finding a way to have balance on offense. Part of our problem the last few weeks is that people know we have more problem on the right because of all the injuries. While Wade’s pass protection has been outstanding, his run blocking has been less good. When Heyer is in, he’s a monster on run blocking, but his pass protection is weak. If we can find a way to establish the run on the right at least enough so that first down isn’t always an exercise in futility, we can start establishing the deeper passing routes.
The Pats run a lot of zone blitzes where they pull a lineman back in coverage. This is very disruptive to some of our bread and butter routes where we set up short throws and down field blocking. We will have to be a more vertical team. On the other hand, zone blitzing teams are very vulnerable to draw plays. While we don’t run as many draw plays as some teams, Clinton Portis is a great draw runner. He’s quick to the hole and such a good pass blocker that teams have to respect that we are passing when they see him set up in a pass blocking set.
If the Redskins win this weekend, I believe you will see Cooley catching at least one deep post route. Moss and Randle-El will catch passes and break them. You will see Portis break a couple of long (10+ yards) runs on the outside. Andre Carter will have a couple of sacks and Brady with throw a couple of INTs to Taylor and Fletcher.
In other words, if we do what we do, and we do it our best. We can win this game. Hail Skins!