X's & O's with Eddie Mason

On the counter trey, Clinton is faster than the blockers. That's the whole issue. Back in the day when they had John Riggins the play could develop. He didn't run a 4.3 like Portis. Clinton beats blockers to the spot. This play works for guys who run a 4.6 or 4.7. It's easier for bigger runner to do that, when you're an in-between guy -- a guy can run some and has decent size.

The linemen for the Redskins -- Samuels, Dockery, Lennie -- are athletic, but when they're coming downhill that play takes a long time to develop and the linebacker, once he sees it a few times, it becomes like a clock in his head. They start getting downfield and get penetration. It's hard for linemen to block a linebacker in space like that. Yeah, you can cut-block a guy, but how many times will that work?

It used to be a slow-developing play where you would set guys off-balance and it was intended to be a power play. It was intended to get linemen out there and crush guys. But in today's league, that's an easy play to read as a linebacker.

A linebacker is taught to read between the triangle, the area between the guards and back to the running back and fullback. You open your vision up to see a guard is pulling and you know it's one of two things: either a screen or a counter. Maybe it's some kind of trick. With the Redskins, it's evident that when they pull that guard and that tackle around or the h-back, a good linebacker will see that action coming back and he may take one read step. But he'll be coming back and if a linebacker beats you to the spot, that play is dead. It's done.

No disrespect to the old school, but in the new generation of the NFL, the athleticism on defense has improved.

--Eddie Mason is the director of M.A.S.E. Training, along with Redskins receiver James Thrash. The goal is to train people physically and spiritually. For more information, go to http://www.masetraining.com.

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