Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Play Todd Wade

Stephon you did great but Jim Johnson will bring the house

So Jon Jansen is done for the year, out with a dislocated ankle and a fractured fibula. Bigtime bummer and let's hope for a solid recovery and a return by Jon next season.

Now the team must address the right tackle position.

As we learned in the Todd Wade Experiment and the Stephon Heyer show, not every lineman can play every position but we also learned that the Redskins have good depth on the offensive line. Todd backs up two positions, Mike Pucillo backs up two positions, Stephon Heyer now backs up two as well. That leaves Jason Fabini to back up Randy Thomas at right guard.

Todd was inactive with his sore shoulder last Sunday because the team thought Chris Samuels would need the blow from being out of practice and Stephon is his backup. The team did not expect Jon to get hurt so they kept Todd out a week to heal up but he could have gone.

So Stephon went in and did a great job covering a position he had never played. In the second half the Redskins run game got stronger so anecdotally it might be easy to say keep going with what worked and start Stephon Monday at the Eagles.

But this would be a mistake. Todd should start at right tackle. Stephon should remain the backup at both tackle positions.

Why? Three reasons.

1. Todd has experience. He is a eight-year vet with 88 games experience, and a starter every year until his knee injury in 2005. He started the New Orleans game for Jon last season and drew praise from the coaches. He is the continuity at that spot, has seen a lot of looks from defenses and has presence of mind.

2. Stephon is a rookie. He may be a house (he's 6-6 325 lbs, Todd's 6-8 314 lbs) but he's a rook, it's Monday Night Football and the Eagles are going to be spoiling for a fight. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will throw everything at Stephon and despite his decent performance in preseason and last Sunday he's not familiar with that position and he will get blowed up by the Eagles.

3. Playing Stephon at that unfamiliar position forces the team to use a tight end in blocking more often than they would like. Chris Cooley was forced to hang back and block and only caught one pass and we saw more of Todd Yoder in the second half that we want. Forcing a tight end to block takes away a valuable target Jason Campbell needs to stay confident. If the Redskins can use the experience and size of Todd Wade to block the left side of the Eagles defensive line one on one then the tight ends are free to catch passes. Remember this is Al Saunders' offense where the tight end is a receiver and not Joe Gibbs' offense where the tight end is basically another lineman, with one eye and steel teeth (hello Don Warren).

I asked lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery about Todd versus Stephon at right tackle for next week's Monday Night Football game and this is what he had to say:

I think they're going to see just about everything Jim Johnson has

He's going to test their ability to recognize responsibility

That will come in the form of various blitz packages and stunts

I think the primary form of stunts will be various twists that cross the D tackles and ends as well as the linebackers and D ends

It will force Wade/Heyer to understand what their responsibility is

I also wouldn't be too surprised to see something like a D-end D-Tackle twist with a linebacker blitzing on a delay blitz right between them

I couldn't believe that Miami didn't do anything to confuse Heyer on Sunday

They blew a major opportunity there

He may have been able to handle it but....

Obviously anytime he messes-up Campbell is likely to take a hit

He'll only be able to take so many of those and everyone he takes will make him less comfortable and less able to move properly through his progressions - also fuck with his timing
If Wilbert Montgomery who is smart for an Eagles fan is thinking about this then you know Jim Johnson is.

Start Todd, bring Stephon along. Stephon is a potential solution longterm and the Redskins should throw the experienced reserve in there and let the rookie watch.

Todd Wade, a giant among men from here.