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No. 1 Thing for Defense Is Third Down

During the preseason, defensive coordinator Greg Blache expressed frustration about opponents' third-down efficiency against the first-team defense. You have to get off the field on third down, the saying goes, to be a good team defensively and Blache buys into that in a big way.

So it was no surprise that Blache was disappointed at the Giants' success on third downs in the first half of the opener. New York converted four-of-seven third downs while taking a 17-0 lead and a 17-7 halftime lead. The Giants converted on third down only twice in the second half, finishing at six of 13 overall. But the game was decided in the first 30 minutes.

"We weren't good on third down. That's one thing we have to do. We have to be better on third down," Blache said. "We missed tackles, we had penalties, but the No. 1 thing was third down. Some of it's a credit to them. But a lot of the onus is on us."

Coaches and players must do a better job to improve on third down in Sunday's FedEx Field opener against the St. Louis Rams, Blache said.

"We've got to do a better job of disguising, we've got to do a better job of executing and we've got to do a better job of recognizing what's happening," he said. "The third-down stuff, there weren't any surprises. They did some nice stuff in their early-down stuff. But on third down, there weren't any surprises."

By Jason Reid  |  September 16, 2009; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Comments

BeantownGreg1,
I didn't say Witten wasn't good, I just don't like any player that plays for the Cowgirls. I think a traditional tight end lends more to the running game and can also be an option in the passing game. I think the new standard for tight end height is 6'6" or above. You want someone who you bring in on red zone packages who can block on the off tackle or can slide into a pass route towering over defenders.

Posted by: RedSkinHead

Posted by: RedSkinHead | September 16, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

FIRST to say all we need is better play-calling!

Posted by: chasgiffen | September 16, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

MAYBE YOU SHOULD UTILIZE THE BLITZ.

Posted by: rexforab | September 16, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Turk is worth a look, but I don't think we are in dire need of Olineman.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 16, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

" ... Sellers's new contract, ... , runs through 2014. ..."

Five years for a 34 year old full back? I love Mike Sellers as much as the next guy, but long term contracts for guys on the other side of their primes is what gets the Skins in trouble. He just had an on-field, out-cold concussion last year.

p.s. Please don't tell Sellers that I'm suggesting his new contract might not be a good idea. I value my own life.

Posted by: dcsween | September 16, 2009 3:27 PM

cL, drulz this one.

Posted by: dcsween | September 16, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

rsh, like him or not, he's one of the top te's in the league...regardless of the team he plays for....

man I hope this team comes out pissed off on Sunday...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 16, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

The Skins third down defense in their own red zone did pretty well as I recall (admittedly, a little fuzzy). They should do that on regular third downs.

Posted by: dcsween | September 16, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

beantwon

"...man I hope this team comes out pissed off on Sunday..."

If they are, we'll get a week of "Lambs--not Rams--have been slaughtered" puns all next week.

Not that that's a bad thing....

Posted by: MistaMoe | September 16, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

dc, while the contract might say 2014, like Fletchers deal is probably more like a 2 year deal starting 2010. Mikes play has picked up, he's not slowing down seemingly....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 16, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Turk is worth a look, but I don't think we are in dire need of O-lineman ...

Posted by: 4thFloor | September 16, 2009

Whazzzat? Are you in the same decade? I just watched a team with the youngest, least experienced offensive line barely miss beating one of the NFL's big powers the Patriots? If not for franchise QB Brady they would have won that game? Look at their performance with Trent Edwards at QB versus the Skins? AND they just switched offensive coordinators in pre-season!?

Posted by: periculum | September 16, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't really matter how long the contract is. Only the signing is guaranteed.

Posted by: SeanTizzy2DaHizzy | September 16, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

sween- I think this extension works out to small beans. 600K to sign...400K option bonus, which they'll convert to signing bonus...that's $1 mil, prorate over 5 years...(hang on, math...carry the 1....add the 2...), that's like, 7 Euros a year on the cap.

Posted by: 4-12 | September 16, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Clearly Snyder is thinking no-cap next year with that Sellers extension.

Posted by: periculum | September 16, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Turk Mcbride is a defensive linemen, which is what I think 4th meant to write.....easy peric....medicate...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 16, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Blatche how about u become more flexible in your coaching...I will say it again Fred Smoot is not a free safety. where is Kareem moore. where is Tyron where is marko mithcell zorny these guys played a total of 1 da*mn Snap ! i mean come on use these young guys. Red skins is the oldest teamin the league

Posted by: chinngy23 | September 16, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Lorenzo Neal still plays fullback at like 40 years old. We can get 2 more productive years out of big Mike with minimal cap hit if he is released before 2014. Good signing, keep the guy happy.

Now make the fans happy and stomp the piss out of StL on Sunday.

Posted by: ToddStinkston | September 16, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"Five years for a 34 year old fullback?"


This reminds of of how the titans let Lorenzo Neal go even after he'd proven his worth.

Or how the iggles dropped B Dawkins--a player more integral to their system than Sellars is to ours--because he had reached that point where decline is around the corner.

Too, given his ability to run and youth, couldn't Fred Davis serve as a lead back, H-back or third down hands guy out of the backfield?

Posted by: MistaMoe | September 16, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

if the front 4 cannot put pressure on the QB then the defense is going to be in trouble because we have week corners and they have been exposed. They SUCK! why can other teams get pressure on the QB and we cannot. why dont we blitz more. are other front 4's that much better than the skins. if im a QB and i can get the time Manning had tyo throw the football i would be all pro also he had no pressure at all.. NONE

Posted by: tareil | September 16, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

talent_evaluator

On hiring Russ Grimm:

"And, how many franchises are there, in your judgment, that a potential HC would consider a perfect opportunity?"


Consider Steve Spagnuolo and the Redskins from a few years ago....

If I'm Grimm, the situation in Carolina with the Panthers is what bears interest.

Posted by: MistaMoe | September 16, 2009 2:38 PM |

Spagnuolo was the HOT coach. He could afford to turn down a job knowing there are others coming. Grimm? Not so much. He's already had a few interviews and no offers.

Carolina bears interest? Maybe, but not for Grimm. That's Cowher's job.

And you didn't even answer the question that you pasted in. How many franchises can offer the perfect opportunity for a new HC?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 16, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

25.1 million watch Redskins-Giants

NEW YORK -- The Sunday afternoon doubleheader game between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants was the most-watched opening game on record.

According to Nielsen Media Research, the Fox broadcast drew 25.1 million viewers. Nielsen records date back to 1987.

New York's 23-17 victory outdrew two prime-time NBC games: the season opener Thursday between the Tennessee Titans and Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers (21.1 million viewers), and the Sunday evening game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears (20.9 million).

ESPN's Monday night doubleheader drew the two largest audiences on cable TV this year: 14 million for Bills-Patriots, and 11.9 million for Chargers-Raiders.

Posted by: TheJury | September 16, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

which is what I think 4th meant to write.....easy peric....medicate...

I'll start with Port, maybe 2-3 quart ...

Posted by: periculum | September 16, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

From the Times, discrepancy on how far out Sellers was extended, versus what was posted by Reid:

Redskins 360
SubscribeThe Redskins just confirmed that they've extended Pro Bowl fullback Mike Sellers' contract for two years. The 34-year-old Sellers received a $600,000 signing bonus and a $400,000 option bonus on the deal which will keep him in Washington through 2012.

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 16, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

If I were Blache, I would play with the rookie OT's head a little. I'd put big Al out there facing him. I'd line up three guys outside of him and make him guess which one he should block. I'd put Orakpo and Haynesworth out there against him. Wouldn't mind seeing a little 3-4 with Orakpo and Wilson on the outside, Fletcher and McIntosh inside. I'd bring Orakpo and Wilson on the blitz in that package.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | September 16, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

For the Skins Grimm offers a bit more than he would to most teams:

HOF offensive lineman that went to superbowls ...
Maybe he just fits? And they do need an OL, desperately need an OL along with a suitable offense.

Kind of like Richie Petitbone, all-pro safety with the Bears, Rams, and then the Skins. He just fit.

The problem again? Is Daniel M. Snyder and Vinnie Cerrato.

Posted by: periculum | September 16, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Port is gross..

Posted by: chrislarry | September 16, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Hayneworth at DE with 3 guys lined up outside of him. Sounds like a recipe for disaster by allowing Steven Jackson to run wild to the other side. Brilliant.

Posted by: ToddStinkston | September 16, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Me likey port. Wuzwrong w/ port?

I've been running out of sweet vermouth lately too...

Dirty Martinis last nite!

Posted by: DikShuttle | September 16, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

ToddStinkston,
Did you see the Giants use this against Samuels? It worked to perfection. One guy is coming clean and that's the guy who snuffs your running back.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | September 16, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

They need to f'n blitz!

Posted by: Salinas1 | September 16, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The Rams QB and WRs are probably just as good as the QB and WRs we saw in week 1. Thing is, the Rams OL isn't as good as the OL we saw in week 1.

Our DL needs to dominate in the trenches -- and we've got the talent to do it.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | September 16, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I can't be 100% sure, but it looks like the Redskins can simply cut Sellers a couple years down the road with minimal to no cap hit. The length of the contract is no more than appeasement to Sellers.

Posted by: psps23 | September 16, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

wonder how many blog posts can be generated from this topic....4-5?

Posted by: the_shocker1 | September 16, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Port is gross..
Posted by: chrislarry | September 16, 2009

Depends on the Port. Some from Portugal are often referred to as exquisite. Personally I prefer a heady Arneis, Gruner Vetliner ... good ... pretty potent, very dry ... dry as dust not sweet.

Posted by: periculum | September 16, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Re: Sellers, if you're going to put it THAT way ... then this is an OUTRAGE AND AN INSULT! This guy just went to the PRO BOWL and THIS measley contract is the best they could offer?!?!?!

[Does that sound any better?]

Posted by: dcsween | September 16, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

personally.... and nothing against Albert but if i am an owner with $100mil i do not give it to one man but i spread it around to get 5/6 good players. and Mr. Hall def. does not get $50mil based on the way he plays..... our corners have no man on man capabilities they play scared out there and their tackling skills are terrible.

Posted by: tareil | September 16, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: brian58 | September 16, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

That's better sween. It's clear the FO didn't know what they were doing, you just took the wrong angle on the first attempt.

Posted by: psps23 | September 16, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

1) Try tackling

2) Try playing the DB's closer than 15 yards from the WR they are trying to cover

3) Mix in a blitz

problem solved.

Posted by: McMetal | September 16, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Steven Jackson is more dangerous than Brandon Jacobs because he is faster, not as bulky, and can change directions better.

That said, Skins made the necessary roster move to solve the ONLY thing that kept them from winning, specifically, Donnie Avery's TD off Leigh Torrence's momentary lapse of fantasticularity.

Posted by: dcsween | September 16, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Our DL needs to dominate in the trenches -- and we've got the talent to do it.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | September 16, 2009

I think they did. Starting with Haynesworth. its the system that he's in. Still think you will see him rotating in at defensive end more and more as they did in Tennessee to take full advantage of his talent.

Quick passes to receivers underneath: linebackers and defensive backs. The linebackers and corners are a work in progress. This is Hall's first year in Blache's defense. We may see Wilson sliding in for Rocky Mac as his knees betray him. Its going to be different, there will be adjustments. We'll have to hope for the best.

On offense its different. With an decaying/aging line and little to no competent depth? I don't see how they will manage to make it through a 16 game season? It doesn't matter how many receivers you have, whether Portis is in the game or not, whether Campbell throws, scrambles or hands off, as long at that is the weak link.
I just don't see how that can ever get better.

Posted by: periculum | September 16, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Don't make much difference how well the D handles their 3rd down situations. 3-n-out O-feces will get em back out there all the sooner anyways.

Posted by: Vic1 | September 16, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

..., you just took the wrong angle on the first attempt.

Posted by: psps23 | September 16, 2009 4:06 PM

And now you know the reasons for my failure to launch in my career as a defensive back.

Posted by: dcsween | September 16, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

personally.... and nothing against Albert but if i am an owner with $100mil i do not give it to one man but i spread it around to get 5/6 good players.

Basically what the Giants did.

Snyder's strategy is different: sign high impact players just coming into or in their prime under age 28. Haynesworth, Hall.

No one will believe it, but I buy into and agree with that strategy. The problem is he doesn't apply it team wide. {Looking at the desperate straits of the OL}

Posted by: periculum | September 16, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

personally.... and nothing against Albert but if i am an owner with $100mil i do not give it to one man but i spread it around to get 5/6 good players.

Posted by: tareil | September 16, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

That's also assuming there are 5/6 good players available who are willing to take the fraction (remember $100 mil is just the fabled contract amount. Big Al is only guaranteed $40 mil if I remember correctly)

Posted by: redskirt_ | September 16, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

That's also assuming there are 5/6 good players available who are willing to take the fraction (remember $100 mil is just the fabled contract amount.

Posted by: redskirt_ | September 16, 2009 4:18 PM

As I recall, $20 million buys you Brandon Lloyd, ARE, Adam Archuletta. And that was a few years ago before prices went up.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 16, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"As I recall, $20 million buys you Brandon Lloyd, ARE, Adam Archuletta. And that was a few years ago before prices went up.

Posted by: talent_evaluator"

Actually, they were $30 million apiece.

Lloyd, Archuleta, and ARE -- or Haynesworth?

Posted by: psps23 | September 16, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I only drink port with scrapple.

Posted by: chasgiffen | September 16, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I drink scrapple....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 16, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"As I recall, $20 million buys you Brandon Lloyd, ARE, Adam Archuletta. And that was a few years ago before prices went up.

Posted by: talent_evaluator"

Actually, they were $30 million apiece.

Lloyd, Archuleta, and ARE -- or Haynesworth?

Posted by: psps23 | September 16, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Ha, I suppose then tareil should have said "If I'm the owner, and HAVE A GM WITH AN EYE FOR TALENT" (sorry I don't know how to do bolds and italics)

Posted by: redskirt_ | September 16, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

If Rice, ends up showing that he still has something left in the tank after his season in the UFL should the skins offer him a contract for 1/2 the season + next year?

Posted by: alex35332 | September 16, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

al, Rice who?? please don't say Jerry.

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 16, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"The number one thing for defense is third down..."

Also for the offense. Don't know if it's number one -- maybe just top 3.

Somebody wrote that the game was over in the first 30 minutes -- that's an oversimplification. Games often fall into two distinct halves, and a bad first half is easily overcome, especially against a team that doesn't score much themselves (like NY).

There were several examples last weekend of teams that really were handled in terms of time of possession and yet managed to stay close and win (or in Buffalo's case, should have won).

Posted by: Samson151 | September 16, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

my thoughts exactly, Greg

Posted by: redskirt_ | September 16, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat!

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | September 16, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 16, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"MAYBE YOU SHOULD UTILIZE THE BLITZ."

Lol, exactly.

"Gee, I have the best d-lineman in football in #92 and I don't wanna blitz behind him."

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | September 16, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

OK this guy's officially an idiot.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/don_banks/09/16/week.2.3/index.html

The skins had their problems on Sunday to be sure but he has them as one of the seven worst teams in the league. He has the skins behind both the Bengals and Broncos who both looked awful among others.

Posted by: skinswest | September 16, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

PsPs,

Great post!!!!!

CLEGG

Posted by: michael_b_clegg | September 16, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The embarrassing Giants loss is far enough behind to consider a couple promising signs from the game. Let me know what you think of these and if you noticed any others.

1. Two turnovers by the defense.

We averaged only one per game last year (18 total( and it seemed that we never got one deep in opponent's territory to create the short field. Last Sunday, we did (although the Offense only converted a field goal. If we can average 2 per game, that would take our total from 18 to 32 and probably a few more wins.

2. Randel-El looked as deadly as some predicted in the slot.

Cooley has always been a weapon over the middle, but many people have been wishing the skins could move MK or DT to the flanker so Randle El could operate in the slot. It was one game, but it certainly looked like the combo of Cooley and Randel El operating over the middle gave the Giants serious problems. When we weren't shooting ourselves in the foot, we moved the ball almost at through the air.

Posted by: mhaslup1 | September 16, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

When I over drink, i produce scrapple.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | September 16, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

The defense played decent. It's the offense that's woeful. Really, really awful

Posted by: nadeemsx | September 16, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

This scrapple nonsense, is it sold in mainstream grocery stores or do I need to look for a pig farmer in a truck on the side of the road? Most every animal/vegetable part is sold out of a cooler on a truck in the south. Unless, its puppies, then you have to go to the Walmart parking lot. Pretty sure that's a law.

Posted by: will_ga | September 16, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Agreed that the Redskins running game is busted, but to me thats as a result of the lack of down field passing to get the 8 guys out of the box.

Posted by: BeantownGreg1

I don't think it's an either/or situation. Sure, not having a downfield threat is part of the problem, as is the utter reliance on zone blocking schemes.

You can add in lack of halftime adjustments, bad blocking by WRs and TEs, bad playcalling, lack of a change of a pace back (or even a "pace" back), ignoring a hurry up which would limit DL rotation and tire out their lineman, etc etc etc.

Oh yeah, the Giants have a terrific DLine, too.

The only misdirection I've seen in the last few days is Zorn trying to make teh Media think it's the Defense" that really needs the improvement.

Posted by: TheCork | September 16, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Can you guys just relax? They played one of the best four teams in football, on the road, this week. In the preseason they played the other three. You have absolutely no idea how good the defense, or offense will be over 16 games this year. Take a pill if you need one.

Posted by: groundhogdayguy | September 16, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Will, if you are in Ga it's possible you won't find it in a grocer. Scrapple is regional dish that originated in Pa.

Posted by: learnedhand1 | September 16, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins should be blitzing and causing havoc, mayhem and chaos every down! Who cares if the other team beat beat them once or twice, after a couple of sacks and shoves to the QB, he will be looking over his shoulder for the rest of the game!

Posted by: JohnWWW | September 16, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Blache is a moron. He plays a contain defense most of the time and he hates to attack the QB. So his defenders really never get in synch anytime they have to blitz. No one blitzes less and no one blitzes more ineffectively than Blache's Redskins.

And as to the corners giving the WRs too much cushion...if we could see that on TV, why the hell couldn't Blache see that from the sidelines and address it? I for one am not a Blache fan. He's about as good as Mike Nolan was for us.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 16, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

NFC East Football.
There are only 8 possessions a game.
1 by each team in each quarter played.
Long clock eating drives that make the defense hurt in the 4th quarter, when you run the ball al la CPortis.
Giants, Partiots,Steelers even Tampa Bay with Dilfer keep the opposing offenses off the feild.
A good offense that keeps the ball for more than 2 minutes and three and outs; using good plays and probing for weeknesses and exploiting them especially in the second half.
How about a hot WR/FR/TE/RB for JC on 3rd downs.
No one's talked about that either.

I don't know about you but I say AH in the backfeild most of the game. We need to play to win big games not play to lose them entirely different mind sets.

JReid welcome to DC. I want a bit more perspective from the insider.
Cooley Blocking - how can you be a wildman that does not block?
How about trust between the coach and QB in big games.
In case that anyone forget that this is why you play is to get to big games and win them. How do we beat the both teams in the NFC championship game and play the champs tough for a while then not make the playoffs. Not making big plays when it counts thus producing winning time.

Posted by: zariah | September 16, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

putting it on the D, after that end -around call?????

Posted by: pabrian2003 | September 16, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

This isn't really all that complex.

You don't give quarterbacks 4 seconds to throw the football.

Blache's scheme is too passive. We were promised a more upbeat tempo with Haynesworth, Orakpo, Carter and the return of Hall and Rogers at corner but that is NOT what we saw in Week 1.

Posted by: leopard09 | September 16, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The game was decided "in the first 30 minutes"? Reid, are you kidding? If any, I mean ANY game is decided in the first 30 minutes then you might as well kiss the season goodbye. This is a 60 minute game! The problem with the 'Skins of late is that they act like it's won or lost in the first 30 minutes. Remember Gibbs 1? What made him a Hall of Fame coach was his (and his staffs) ability to adapt to the circumstances of the game. His teams made adjustments during the game and especially at halftime, came out and usually won the battle in the second half. That's what winning teams do.

Posted by: tapscott_k | September 16, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Jason,

The strange part is that when they were in 3rd and short and ran, we stopped them. When they were 3rd and 3-4 yards or more they spanked us with the pass.

So much for third and long.

Posted by: Redskinrex | September 16, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

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