They say that the sideline is a defenders best friend. Old Man Sideline never missed a tackle or blew a coverage.DeAngelo Hall could be missing his best friend a lot this season.The veteran cornerback, who is entering his entering his ninth season, has been getting a great deal of work at the slot cornerback position after having played on the outside for most of his career.I'm getting a lot of reps out there as the nickel, Hall said. I'm feeling comfortable I'm feeling good.Calling the slot corner the nickel makes it sound like its a substitute position that should be filled by a lesser player. That used to be the case. However, the game has changed with teams going into three-wide sets on first and 10 about as often as they do on third and eight.Greg Cosell of NFL Films wrote the followingKeep in mind teams also run three-wide groups in normal down and distance situations as a regular feature of their offense. What burden does that place on the defense, as it specifically relates to the slot corner? It means he has three responsibilities: cover man (the most apparent), blitzer and run defender (not talked about enough). Those are three distinct skill sets, but they are all required of a slot corner.In short, the position cant be an afterthought. No longer can you get away with throwing your third-best cornerback out there and hoping that he can hold it down. Thats what the Redskins tried to last year by putting Kevin Barnes in the slot. The results were mixed at best. Barnes was benched late in the year in favor of Byron Westbrook, who is no longer with the team.Hall recognizes the challenge involved in the playing the slot including the loss of the reliable chalk line.There's a lot more room out there is the slot, he said. The receiver's got two ways to go, you've got to cover the whole field as opposed to playing corner where you can go, that's the sideline.You can see your friend over there, the sideline, you've got help sometimes. It's definitely a lot easier as opposed to playing nickel but we've got a lot of things with the nickel where you've got a chance to go our and have some fun, too.Among the fun things Hall will get to do if he plays the slot would be, as Cosell noted, blitzing the quarterback.I don't have but one career sack so it's going to be interesting to see if I get around the quarterback, said Hall.It also will be interesting to see how this plays out. The teams of the NFC East and many of the rest of the teams on the Redskins schedule are loaded at receiver and the Redskins are going to need to put their cornerbacks in spots that best utilize their talents. If that means teaching a veteran like Hall new tricks that is what they will need to do.
When you’re fighting for a playoff spot, it’s not only about what happens to you. It’s also about what happens to the teams you’re competing against for that playoff spot. And one of the Redskins’ main competitors got some very bad news this morning.
The Giants, who are in the No. 5 spot in the NFC, the first wild card spot, got word today that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has had sports hernia surgery. The recovery time is at least four weeks, probably more like six. The Giants’ season is likely to be over by the time six weeks elapse, barring a playoff run without one of their best defensive players.
Pierre-Paul has helped solidify what was a shaky Giants defense last year. He has seven sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He has been heating up down the stretch with 5.5 sacks in his last three games.
His loss is a big blow for the Giants. They are a game ahead of the Buccaneers, who hold the No. 6 spot, and a game and a half ahead of the Redskins, who are currently seventh.
The Redskins play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins have to pick up just one game on the Giants over the next three to have a shot at passing them in the season finale.
The chances of that happening looked pretty good with Washington playing playing three teams with losing records in the Eagles, Panthers, and Bears and the Giants going against division leaders Dallas and Detroit in addition to the Eagles. With the Giants now without Pierre-Paul, the Redskins’ probabilities got tilted in their direction a little bit more.
Just finishing ahead of the Giants wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot but it would come close. It would mean that the Redskins would have at least nine wins and the Redskins’ tie means that two teams would have to get to 10 wins to knock them out of the playoffs. The Bucs have to win three more games to get to nine wins and the Packers and Vikings would have to run the table.
CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.
Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley.
The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.
In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs.
As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.
As the Redskins power run game vanished, so did their prospects for winning the game.
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