X's & O's with Eddie Mason

Joe Gibbs is trying to do too much with the offense. Early in the season they were running a lot of counter trey and it was a non-productive offense. Last week against Detroit they went to the zone play and that fit Clinton Portis -- he's their only playmaker and they're not using him enough.

They came out pass-run against Cincinnati and I was like, What are you doing? That wasn't smart football. Why pay a guy that much money and then not put him in a situation where he can do what he does best?

But there was one play in particular that to me helped get Mark Brunell benched and showed what was wrong with the offense. In the first quarter they lined up with a bunch-trip formation where they had Rod Gardner, Taylor Jacobs and Ladell Betts all stacked up behind each other. That play is no good. The Bengals were in zone coverage. If they had been in man defense that play might have worked but because Cincinnati was in quarters coverage -- the outside linebacker shaded outside of the bunch set and takes the widest guy, the safety takes the deepest and the corner takes the second deepest guy. Then Mark tries to throw the ball into double coverage. The thing was, Ladell Betts, I won't say he had the linebacker beat but it would have been much better to throw to him than to try and force the ball to Rod. It was plays like that that caused Mark to get benched.

No plays stood out defensively, but there's one thing to take notice of. Early in the season we talked about teams figuring out the tendency and to scheme for coach Williams they will design zone blocking packages to defend against that blitz.

There was a third down situation where the Bengals took a shot at the end zone. The Redskins linemen ran stunts and I saw all different movement up front. I felt like the Bengals were able to design a scheme so they didn't have to man block. When you have a lot of guys coming off different angles sometimes you have guys chasing guys around. But the quickest way to the quarterback is up the middle and if you protect the middle and create a pocket you'll protect him.

Cincinnati did a tremendous job in zone protection against a blitzing scheme and I think you'll see that more down the stretch. And if the defense's production drops, then it will be a really long season.


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