X's & O's with Eddie Mason

From an offensive standpoint, I don't want to be negative, but I have problems with the play calling in the red zone. The one play I had problems with was the third and 2 from Baltimore's 7 in the second quarter. The Redskins gave the ball to Ladell Betts and he was tackled for a loss.

On the play, the Redskins has Chris Cooley motion from a double tight end set on the right side. Laveranues Coles had a short split to the left side, so that already tells you it's probably going to be a run and both players are going to block down.

The problem with this play is that you're running to the short side of the field and you're already outflanked based on the scheme the Ravens were playing. They had their nose tackle shaded to the center's left.

Then there was a blown assignment because both the center and the left guard wound up blocking Ray Lewis. They had the right guard trying to scoop block the nose tackle. But he was wide open to make the play so the play was dead before it started because of the players' splits and the Redskins' tendencies.

That was just play calling. Why run that play against a defense like the Ravens who are known for team speed and athletic ability at outside linebacker? If they score a touchdown there it's a different game. To me, the fumble by Brunell was the biggest play in the game. But this play was the difference in the game.

The Redskins never got any pressure all day except from the blitz and that's what's hurting the Redskins down the stretch. And now teams are starting to protect against their tendencies and the Redskins could start getting exposed when they're in zone coverage's. If they don't get to the quarterback, they'll get picked apart and even the Ravens' offense was able to do that a couple times, especially when they needed to.

You just can't continue to blitz your defensive backs to get pressure. Now teams are starting to figure out the timing of their blitzes, who they're bringing and which guys are more prone to blitz and which sides they're blitzing from and who is disguising the blitz. When you live and die with it, yeah you'll make some plays but right now they're making fewer plays than they're giving up, especially when they need to make them.

It's well-known that anytime a team is in second and long or third and long, something is coming. Gregg is bringing the house. Offenses are now preparing for it. One blitz also showed the inexperience of some defensive backs when they blitz. When Fred Smoot blitzed and missed the sack, you'd say, 'Why didn't they cover that guy?' But a lot of times you put the onus on the quarterback and say, 'That's your man.' You either get the ball of before he gets there or you avoid him. You don't want to get hit by a defensive end so you let Smoot run free.

Offenses will sometimes gamble that a corner isn't going to get there. Most defensive backs aren't used to blitzing or sacking so more times than not, they'll miss that play. Ryan Clark missed the quarterback on a blitz later. In both cases, the Redskins weren't hurt.

But there's no way the Redskins can continue doing this and have success. It's not going to happen. They have to find someone who can rush the passer. I don't care how, they have to find someone. And as I've said before, Antonio and the other backups have played well, but you can't replace LaVar and Barrow. They're savvy veterans and Pro Bowl caliber players. When you're dealing with a big line like that it wears on your body. And they got worn down Sunday night.

EDITOR's NOTE: Mason, an ex-Redskin, is the co-founder of M.A.S.E Training, along with current Redskin James Thrash. For more information, go to masetraining.com.

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