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First Quarter Fundamentals

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 18, 2011 – 1:43 pm

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Shortly before kickoff, the Redskins won the toss and elected to receive.  They did not, however, elect to drive the ball first.

On the first play from scrimmage at the 18-yard line, quarterback Rex Grossman hit cornerback Corey Webster way down the field on a failed flea flicker.  Because of the subsequent Giants’ field position, it essentially amounted to a punt.  After the defense held the Giants to zero yards, Giants actually did punt the ball, giving the Redskins the ball around the 25-yard line.

In a round about sort of way, the Redskins gained seven yards on that sequence.  I don’t recommend putting that in the playbook though.

From there, the Redskins marched 52 yards down the field and Graham Gano banged one through from 36 yards.  After another suffocating defensive effort, the Redskins had an early shot at momentum, but gave it back with another deep pick.

I can appreciate the aggression and creativity in the play call, but the results certainly weren’t what they were looking for.

If there’s anything fortuitous to be said about the interceptions, it’s that they were both deep down the field.  The Redskins defense has smothered the Giants’ offense so far, but they need to get off the field.

One matchup to keep an eye on for the rest of the afternoon is undrafted left tackle Willie Smith vs. Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.  Smith hasn’t gotten beaten since Andre Carter in the first quarter of last week, and he looks good against the Giants 4-3 front.  It’s difficult for some players to adjust to the 4-3 look after going against the 3-4 everyday in practice and most Sundays.

The Patriots aided in this preparation, as they run a base 4-3, but run plenty of packaged with only three down linemen.  Smith, left guard Maurice Hurt, and right tackle Tyler Polumbus will look to continue their success week against one of the best front sevens in the NFC.

For the record, when Pierre-Paul sacked Grossman in the first quarter, it was a botched communication in protection.  Not sure whose fault it was, but it wasn’t because Smith got beat.

Redskins looking physical and aggressive after the first quarter.  Manning has zero completions in the first quarter (zero-for-six).

Washington on top early: Redskins 3, Giants 0.


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