X's & O's with Eddie Mason

In the first half the Redskins had a good mix of run and pass. But in the second half the Browns started bringing eight men in the box and it looked like they're like, 'You're not going to run the ball against us.' But against this front you can't continue to run those sit-down routes and that's what they were doing. You have to stretch the field. The playcalling did not use the receivers like they should have been used.

Another problem is that they didn't score in the red zone and that was playcalling, too.

I don't understand why they didn't run a screen down in the red zone. What I'm seeing right now from the Redskins is that Coach Gibbs is so concerned with protection that they're not getting anybody out and they don't have that safety valve, that dumpoff guy. On one play they kept two tight ends in and the tailback to block. And the Browns weren't even blitzing and they still couldn't get the ball off because the receivers couldn't get open. The only time they get open is when they're stretching the field; that's playing to their strength.

But that brings me to one play in the red zone, when they tried to throw to Chris Cooley. That was definitely a critical play because if they score a touchdown there it's a different game. And it comes back to playcalling.

I had problems with that play. First of all, the Browns were in a zone defense. The Redskins had Mark roll out to his left, which is his strength -- it's hard for him to roll right and throw.

But the Browns already had a linebacker sitting in that zone. He sat there for a second, then got pressure in Brunell's face and Mark couldn't see anyone.

As a linebacker, you're taught to sit back in a zone like that and once you check your zone and you know it's a dead area, then you blitz the quarterback. That's what happened on that play.

On this play the Redskins had two tight ends and two receivers. They sent Chris out and the linebacker was all over that. Mark rolls left and now it's four on two on that side. Rod ran an out route and now it's a busted play, but Mark can't see him and he takes a shot at Chris and they don't make the play.

If I'm in that situation, based on facing a zone defense, I'm looking at the backside of the play. The other play was dead from the jump. Rod motioned inside and that cuts the split down. Now defenders don't have as much space to defend and then they're throwing to the short side of the field.

I tell Ladell to chip the end, who's already in pass rush mode. Teams do this play all the time; they roll out away from the pressure and throw back to the other side. Ladell would have walked into the end zone.

Then there are mental breakdowns. On the play where Cleveland threw to the fullback and he went for about 20 yards, Shawn Springs doubled up on the same man that Antonio Pierce had. But the fullback was supposed to be Shawn's man to the flat. That play cost them and that was basic, elementary stuff. You can't make mental mistakes like that. There were several times when they had players matched up on the same guy and one guy was running wide open.

Eddie Mason is the co-director of M.A.S.E Training, which trains athletes both spiritually and physically. For more information go to masetraining.com.


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