Happy Thanksgiving

Before I get started, Thanksgiving is always a time to give thanks and one thing I'm thankful for, first and foremost, is my family -- my wife and kids. I'm also thankful for the opportunity to speak to the fans every week and share a little bit about football.

As well as about how important it is to be a strong man of faith and a man who tries to do the right thing. It's not about money and what you have, but it's the people you can share and your family and the love.

Now, onto football.

I've come to a realization this week about coach Joe Gibbs. I would never take anything away from him and what he's done in the past because he's a great coach. But to be honest, I really feel like he's been out of football a long time, but the game has evolved so much that he doesn't seem to have realized that there are so many exotic variations and defenses, so many things have changed that he has to get adjusted to. I don't know how long that's gonna take. He's surrounded by good coaches, but offensively some of them are rusty.

Back in the 1980s, defenses probably ran basic coverages. Now they have these exotic zone blitzes, safeties blitzing. Joe has never seemed comfortable with his play calling, like an Andy Reid is. You see how Andy manages the game. When you've been out of the game for a while you lose that second nature of calling plays. Most coaches in the league are going to those four and five wideout sets, or at least going three wides to try and open up the running game. It's not the same basic H-back. Joe is stuck so much on the H-back that it's killing him. It's good and all that, but Chris Cooley is an OK player. He's not Jeremy Shockey or Ton Gonzalez or even Kellen Winslow Jr. Their tight ends are just blockers.

They need to scrap that H-back stuff, it's not working. You're putting so many blockers in the game and sometimes using only one wideout. They did that a couple times against the Eagles and they had Clinton, Laveranues and Rod on the sidelines. You've got all your playmakers over there. You have all blockers and group force and it's not working. Open up the passing game. You've got the receiver depth to do that. Let's see if it can make things happen. They'd better do something because right now they're looking at five wins.

Now a couple thoughts:

When the offensive linemen can't hear the signals it makes a tremendous difference. Now you have a guy playing on his heels. Instead of their weight forward, now the tackles are trying to catch their blocks instead of driving their blocks. Especially in the run game, you want to drive into you blocks. They weren't able to do that against the Eagles because they were more focused on not jumping offisdes than on the guy in front of them. The defensive player already has the leverage and now he's beating them to the spot every time. The Redskins' linemen never got upfield to get the linebackers, that's why they were making so much penetration on the run.

Why not go to a silent count? There's not a coach in the league today who won't do a silent count in an away game. When I played for Coach Coughlin, he would have speakers brought out to practice and pump in the crowd noise. The QB and the linemen had to do silent counts. There's a clock in their head and they know how to respond. Basically, you come up to the line and when the center puts his hand on the ball, the linemen start counting in their heads. It could be a two, three-second count. That's the way it works. But the problem is it takes a lot of reps to do it and it takes a lot of trust in the quarterback to do it and it doesn't always work. In some ways, you're sacrificing your aggressive nature. That could hurt you against the run. But if you're in a passing mode, it's what you need to do.

The problem will be facing Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense, especially for the tackles. With Mark Wilson in there, it could get ugly. The toughest deal is for the outside guys. When you block a defensive end in a 4-3, they're big burly guys. The Steelers' guys, their linebackers, are athletic. What happens is, when you have a smaller guys who are more athletic, who use their hands, hit, engage and do a swim move. Ends usually don't do all that. It's hard to block a smaller, craftier athletic guy than a big burly end. And the Steelers' outside linebackers are tremendously athletic.


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