Thursday, September 07, 2006

Guest Post: Thirty-Six Inches

We post good takes

Periodically, we will be posting up guest takes from Curly R readers. If you have a take, send it to the Curly R email address. Today's guest take is from Rob King, a lifelong Redskins fan who wishes that, as long as the Redskins are going to be the Yankees of the NFL, all that money'd buy a Super Bowl now and again.


Can One Yard be Indicative of a Season to Come?

Those who followed the Joe Gibbs Redskins of the 1980s knew exactly what to expect when the Skins offense needed 1 yard. No matter how many plays in the playbook or what percentage of that playbook was “available”…everyone including those lined up on the other side of the ball knew what was coming. It didn’t matter which back was carrying the ball or which QB was handing off the ball, everyone knew the ball was going straight up the gut. And it was basically a guaranteed 1st down or more.

Why is it important to dwell on the ghosts of Redskins past, even though Buges and Gibbs are once again on the sideline? Because it doesn’t matter who the Offense Coordinator is, nor how many play are in the playbook, nor how many receivers, or backs for that matter, are lined up, when one yard is required Gibbs still only recognizes one option – straight up the gut.

So, this brings us to [the Ravens game] Thursday night and the Skins last chance to build some momentum before the much hyped ’06 season begins. And it also brought a 1st half 3rd and 1 around midfield, which would have kept the Skins from their standard preseason 3 & out. No need to guess or question what was called. Except the result was not what the DC fans have learned to take for granted from a Joe Bugel coached O-Line.

1 yard, 36 inches, and in a pre-season that has lacked any memorable moments, was an opportunity for the O-Line to take a step forward – literally – because that was all that was required. The Skins line needed to step one-yard forward and allow a back to gain 36 inches. Well, this tangent wouldn’t be necessary, although many others still would be, if the following Skins play hadn’t required a Punt.

That is the thing, Gibbs will take a lot away from this one play, because no matter who is on the field or how many times the play is practiced, one yard represents a team’s willingness to be stronger for one critical moment – essentially a couple of seconds. And it says a lot to a couple of old-school dinosaur coaches when their squad cannot muster the fortitude to move the line 1 yard. They know, better than anyone, that no number of gimmicks or plethora of play options will sustain a 16 game NFL season, without the ability to perform the basic fundamentals well. And it does not get anymore fundamental than the need to move the defensive backwards 36 inches.


Well said, Rob. I guess that 2% of the offensive playbook Al Saunders keeps telling us about includes the 3rd-and-1-for-no-gain. Hang in there. Four days until the opener.

Kansas fencepost: Don Palmer