Establish the run? Not so fast.
The Redskins’ preference to pass instead of run early during the last two games is a topic that interests me. Recall that Washington ran only five times compared to 13 pass dropbacks in the first half against Detroit. You know my humble opinion on the matter.
I asked several people about this today. Most players are taking the the PC approach and saying that they’re happy to do whatever coach Jim Zorn calls. I’ll get to them in a moment.
Zorn says he wants to run more, but not necessarily at the expense of passing. He just wants the offense to run more plays so he can balance things out. It’s not exactly a strategic thing with him.
"Our offensive line really started coming off the ball [in the second half vs. Detroit]," Zorn said. "That’s what I want to continue. I want to continue the physical presence of our run game on the field. We’re not going to become Ground Chuck, Ground Jim, but we are going to run the ball and mix it up."
Earlier, I asked for his assessment of the Redskins’ run blocking this season.
"Very good," he said. "I’ve been really frustrated with our run game just from not being able to call enough runs. Some of that has been, even last game, we had 18 plays in the first half. I called five runs. We got better in our run game in the second half, and I wish I would have had more plays to call in the first half."
Not sure I agree with his assessment of the blocking, but I digress.
As for players’ preferences, none wants to rock the boat on this.
Clinton Portis, who has taken his displeasure with this issue public in the past, didn’t do that today. I was eager to hear his take on the matter today because he carried only four (!) times in the first half on Sunday against Detroit. Did you see his face at halftime? If looks could kill…
"I think teams are getting more possession than we’ve got, and they’re up," Portis said today. "We come out with halftime with the opportunity to get that possession back. Whatever the coach calls, we’ve got to go out and execute it."
OK, then. The offensive linemen I spoke too, though, didn’t hold back as much. Of course, they always prefer to run because they can be more proactive instead of reactive in their blocking.
"Obviously, the division we’re in, we need to be a hard-nosed team that run the ball, stop the run and make plays in the passing game," center Casey Rabach said. "That’s what has won for us since I’ve been here."
T Chris Samuels added: "It makes us comfortable. I like to pound guys. I don’t particularly like sitting on my heels pass protecting. I’d rather come off and hit the guy. But whatever he calls we’ve got to man up and do it."
I’m extremely eager to see how the run-pass balance plays out on Sunday. Considering the offense’s woeful production so far, you’d expect something to change. This might be the logical place to start.