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O line has a hand in Redskins' improvement

Because management did not adequately address internal concerns about the offensive line during the offseason, the unit's poor performance has been the biggest single factor in the Redskins' 3-9 season, according to many in the organization.

But the patchwork line has performed better recently, which has contributed to the improvement on offense during a three-game losing streak. Coach Jim Zorn's staff deserves a lot of credit for making major revisions in the weekly game plans in an attempt to overcome the deficiencies of the group that owner Daniel Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, provided for them.

The Redskins have all but eliminated seven-step drops from the passing game because of the line's inability to protect quarterback Jason Campbell (only three quarterbacks have been sacked more this season) on plays that involve deep drops and long-developing patterns. In the 33-30 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Redskins only called one play that included a seven-step drop.

While primarily running three- and five-step drop plays against the Saints, Campbell had easily his best game of the season. He set season-highs with 367 yards passing, three touchdowns (he had one interception) and a 111.9 passer rating. And for the first time this season, Campbell was not sacked.

"Any quarterback in this league, if they have time to sit back there, can carve up a defense," Campbell said. "The guys did a great job giving me time to go through my progressions and look downfield. I had the type of time you need to let guys make their moves, get open and get the ball to them.

"We've had a lot of injuries on the line and guys going in an out, and I think the coaches have done a really good job making some adjustments that are helping us. They've done the things we needed to do to try to get going. And they've also made some changes with who we've got in there, and those guys are doing a great job."

Although Mike Williams struggled against edge rushers as a tackle, he has been a pleasant surprise at guard. The Redskins wanted a bigger, more physical player at right guard, and Williams has been effective at the position, especially drive blocking on running plays. "He's a beast," defensive end/strong-side linebacker Chris Wilson said.

Said Campbell: "It's hard for them to move Big Mike in there. He's been doing a good job for us."

The late-season addition of veteran tackle Levi Jones also has helped to bolster the group in pass protection, players said. As for the running game, offensive line coach Joe Bugel has simplified things in the run-blocking scheme, providing a boost as well, and the backs who followed Clinton Portis this season have displayed more of a burst. That combination had led to an improved rushing attack.

"It has been a tough year, but the good thing is that guys have all stuck together and you see guys improving," Campbell said. "We lost a lot when [left tackle Chris Samuels and right guard Randy Thomas] went down for the season, and we had to count on guys who were in a tough position.

"But they kept working hard and they kept doing whatever they were asked to do. The coaches really have done a good job making good changes to help the guys, so all of that has really come together to help us be more productive as an offense. As a quarterback, you really like to see this."

Bridges update

Speaking of offensive linemen, Jeremy Bridges is a player whose stock is rising, according to Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. Bridges, who was cut by the Redskins on Sept. 5, signed with the Cardinals three days later. Gosselin cites Bridges' performance against Minnesota's Jared Allen last Sunday as evidence.

By Jason Reid  |  December 10, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Next: Gray's tale of 2 DBs and double-moves

Comments

First to say that Jreid is reading my comments and then posting about the same subject (Jeremy Bridges).....

Posted by: dlhaze1 | December 10, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I added the Bridges note. Meant to do it earlier this morning, but I had to go to a meeting.

Posted by: CindyBoren | December 10, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

dl-

I watched the Sunday night game and marveled at the job Bridges did on Allen. So we tried him @ RG and he couldn't make the team and he shut out the best DE in the game at LT. Interesting.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 10, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Coach Jim Zorn's staff deserves a lot of credit for making major revisions in the weekly game plans in an attempt to overcome the deficiencies of the group that owner Daniel Snyder and Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, provided for them.
JReid


This would have been easier if the coaches would not have cut Bridges.

Posted by: Skins930 | December 10, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

btw dl-

Bridge's play has been discussed all week.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 10, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the old meeting excuse……..thanks Cindy, I kid.

Diesel, I couldn’t believe how well Bridges played, but I didn’t realize he shut out Allen completely until I read that this morning. Allen must have been drinking before the game again. Anyway, as usual with the skins, “one man’s trash…….”

Posted by: dlhaze1 | December 10, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Skins should keep all of the OL expect for RT and Samuels.. draft 2 OL and w/ the first pick draft Mark Ingram. Keep JC for another year and if possible draft a QB to sit behind JC. Also, draft a safety to move LL back close to the line.

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

dl-

I watched the Sunday night game and marveled at the job Bridges did on Allen. So we tried him @ RG and he couldn't make the team and he shut out the best DE in the game at LT. Interesting.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 10, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

we were all set with batiste.... I blame coaches for this one. Was very surprised when we cut JB. Just like I was very surprised we didn't sign Levi much earlier. Wouldve helped at Carolina. It's an indictment on the coaches and vinny. JReid doesn't like to criticize zorn or swish though. Not sure why on swish, but the zorn crush is because he liked JLa's soccer shirt last year. Smartest compliment jz ever made.

Posted by: AdamCr | December 10, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Skins should keep all of the OL expect for RT and Samuels.. draft 2 OL and w/ the first pick draft Mark Ingram. Keep JC for another year and if possible draft a QB to sit behind JC. Also, draft a safety to move LL back close to the line.

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Like those ideas, except Mark Ingram isn't eligible for the draft, I believe....

Posted by: mattylight | December 10, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: dlhaze1 | December 10, 2009 12:52 PM

Pretty sure Vinny was prematurely patting himself on the back for finding BMW on Doc's couch.

Vinny was picturing all those Espn E'60 and game day specials about how he turned a 450lb draft bust into a guy finally realizing his potential.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 10, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Skins should keep all of the OL expect for RT and Samuels.. draft 2 OL and w/ the first pick draft Mark Ingram. Keep JC for another year and if possible draft a QB to sit behind JC. Also, draft a safety to move LL back close to the line.

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Also, folks by me saying draft a running back first (mark ingram) that means no more PORTIS!

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Like those ideas, except Mark Ingram isn't eligible for the draft, I believe....

Posted by: mattylight | December 10, 2009 1:00 PM

Ingram is only a soph.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 10, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Like those ideas, except Mark Ingram isn't eligible for the draft, I believe....

Posted by: mattylight | December 10, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I think your right. Well, it sounds good..lol

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Like those ideas, except Mark Ingram isn't eligible for the draft, I believe....

Posted by: mattylight | December 10, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I think your right. Well, it sounds good..lol


Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Still with the rest of our needs, I'd rather get a running back in a future draft. Now, if he's coming out next year (which I'm sure he will be barring injury), I'd be interested, depending on where he's slated to go in the 1st round...

Posted by: mattylight | December 10, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

We need EVERYTHING...I'd draft best available with our pick...if not trade back.

Schefter reported that Campbell will not be back.

Posted by: rickyroge | December 10, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, I don't think we should just draft a OL with our first pick. I feel like in this draft some way we could get 2 quality OL in this draft without it being our first pick.

And, do anybody think drafting Taylor Mays would be a bad idea?

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: AdamCr | December 10, 2009 1:00 PM

Batiste is another guy with a story, ex cop. It's easy to root for a guy like that but he's struggled when he has played and I want my OL to be known for playing football, not their past employer.

I'd prefer former All-American or Outland Trophy winner to ex cop.


Posted by: Diesel44 | December 10, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

We need EVERYTHING...I'd draft best available with our pick...if not trade back.

Schefter reported that Campbell will not be back.

Posted by: rickyroge | December 10, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Was this recently or awhile back?

Posted by: mattylight | December 10, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Like those ideas, except Mark Ingram isn't eligible for the draft, I believe....

Posted by: mattylight | December 10, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I think your right. Well, it sounds good..lol


Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Still with the rest of our needs, I'd rather get a running back in a future draft. Now, if he's coming out next year (which I'm sure he will be barring injury), I'd be interested, depending on where he's slated to go in the 1st round...

Posted by: mattylight | December 10, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse


I haven't really paid attention to C football this year, but boy for him to a soph he's a beast.

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

bad news from the Times:

All-Pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Pro Bowl fullback Mike Sellers both just told me that they won't play Sunday at Oakland.

"I'm a no-go. You can print that," said Haynesworth, who'll miss a third game in four with a sprained left ankle that he reinjured during the fourth quarter last Sunday against New Orleans.

"I want to play, but I just can't," said Sellers, who was rushed to the hospital with bleeding in his left thigh that began in the locker room after the loss to the Saints. "I had 60 ccs of fluid drained from the thigh and it's still really swollen. There's still more fluid in there. I'll be back, but not this week."

With tight end Chris Cooley (ankle), left tackle Chris Samuels (neck) and running back Clinton Portis (concussion) on injured reserve and cornerback DeAngelo Hall questionable at best with back spasms

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 10, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

It tortures me to have to wait the rest of this year out, then have to hear all the rumors leading up to the draft in April. If I knew we were drafting for O line this year I would feel great, but with dumb and dumber running the show, getting a pretty boy QB in round 1 looks more and more like a reality than a bad dream.

Posted by: FedorEm | December 10, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Draft:

1. If Okung is there, take him.
2. If Okung is gone but Suh is there, take Suh.
3. If neither are there, try and trade down to Carolina, Buffalo, or Seattle (someone looking for a QB).. pick up the #10 pick or so. Draft Spiller, Baluga in 2nd, and another OL with our new 3rd rounder.
4. If no one will trade up, I say get Spiller anyway.

Posted by: Rypien11 | December 10, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

bad news from the Times:

All-Pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and Pro Bowl fullback Mike Sellers both just told me that they won't play Sunday at Oakland.

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 10, 2009 1:18 PM

We'll how the DL holds up. If da Raiders are able to get their ground game going, LL and CR stand no chance against double moves off of playaction.

Posted by: TWISI | December 10, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Sellers is a no-go?

Then spread the offense out. There should be no less than 3 receivers on the field on every play.

Campbell should throw the ball 35+ times. Hopefully it won't be in garbage time.

Posted by: RedDMV | December 10, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why everyone insists on doling out credit for "improvement" during a season-long losing streak. A loss is a loss -- and nothing else -- and when you string a bunch of losses together, those responsible for it can rightfully be called losers.

I'm tired of hearing all of this BS about "moral victories," "fighting spirit" and other such Cerrato-isms and Zorn-zen-isms. It's nothing more than a blatantly obvious attempt to avoid addressing and dealing with a cold and hard truth -- this is a team of losers, led by losers, and coached by losers. And if there's anyone who can take any comfort in any of that, well then they must be losers too.

Posted by: Vic1 | December 10, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, you can't blame VC and snyder 4 lookin at other QB. My opinion on JC is he's a good QB, but he's has no clutch in game situation and that matter in the NFL. Not how many yards you pass for our TD you throw..it about winning the game. Everybody wants to blame the kicker for losing thst game, but JC had a chance to win it and threw a INT. In my opinion get some OL line with some picks draft a QB or RB with the first pick, throw in a safety.

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 10, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Ryp-

I agree with 1, 2, 3, 4- I would add Eric Berry to that mix.

It's early but all indications are that Buluga will be in the mix as the second OT taken and most likely won't last to the 2nd. Either way the OL needs to be addressed in the 1st or 2nd rd.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 10, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

red, for a bama, you're spot on with that post....

JC needs to throw for 300 yards MINIMUM....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 10, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

If Sellers doesn't play then Rock should be getting his work @ FB.

Posted by: League-Source | December 10, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

If Sellers doesn't play then Rock should be getting his work @ FB.

Posted by: League-Source

Mr do everything L Alexander will play FB Sunday. Something else for Rock to whine about.

Posted by: Curzon417 | December 10, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

If Sellers doesn't play then Rock should be getting his work @ FB.

Posted by: League-Source | December 10, 2009 1:36 PM

Probably Yoda, Rock's a little guy. I'd say go away from this formation except in short yardage situations.

I agree with Red...spread the field, let JC sling it and mix in a few screens and draws.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 10, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

it about winning the game. Everybody wants to blame the kicker for losing thst game, but JC had a chance to win it and threw a INT.

Posted by: taylormade218

Except that Campbell drove the Skins into the red zone with passes and in a position for a 2 score lead ... and the play calling went run, run, run, run, run, run, missed FG.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 10, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

red, for a bama, you're spot on with that post....
JC needs to throw for 300 yards MINIMUM....
Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 10, 2009 1:33 PM

That could be trouble….everything I read says that the raiders can be run on, but not thrown on. One thing for sure is that whoever Ashamouaganamia covers won’t get any catches; probably Moss.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | December 10, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

fwiw, Raiders WR, Heyward-Bey has speed like Darrell Green and his hands like Nancy Reagan ...

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 10, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Probably Yoda, Rock's a little guy. I'd say go away from this formation except in short yardage situations.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 10, 2009 1:42 PM |

Maybe, but last week when Sellers went down they said on the tube that Rock was the backup FB. It was a mute point in that game since Sellers was the last 'Skin to touch the ball.

Posted by: League-Source | December 10, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

beepers creepers

Posted by: dlhaze1 | December 10, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Except that Campbell drove the Skins into the red zone with passes and in a position for a 2 score lead ... and the play calling went run, run, run, run, run, run, missed FG.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 10, 2009 1:44 PM

Don't understand how some can't see that coaching is the real difference in these losses. Whether you're looking at red zone play calling, use of TO, clock management, two minute offense or use of personnel, coaching is not getting it done.

Posted by: Skins930 | December 10, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"With tight end Chris Cooley (ankle), left tackle Chris Samuels (neck) and running back Clinton Portis (concussion) on injured reserve and cornerback DeAngelo Hall questionable at best with back spasms"

Great, now let's add 2 more pro-bowlers to the injured list. Seriously, has any team suffered more injuries to top-level players as the Redskins....ever?

Posted by: psps23 | December 10, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

As soon as we cut Bridges in favor of keeping Mason, I knew that was a huge mistake. We barely ever gave anyone other than Betts and Portis any carries (see TJ Duckett experiment) keeping Mason was a huge error as and reactive to the fans sentiment...no one else picked up Mason when we wound up cutting him, and Bridges was snagged immediately by a team that realizes the value of good O Linemen.

Posted by: MadeRED | December 10, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

To Vic1,

If you can't understand why having two freak plays go against you, having two ciritcal miscalls by the refs on reviews, suffering from a missed 23 yard field goal, and playing with a makeshift offensive line and doing as well as the Skins did Sunday doesn't make them losers, then you, my friend are A LOSER.

Posted by: richardshaker | December 10, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

You do realize we are talking about 1 good game he's had with Arizona. He doesn't even start and Jared Allen was getting chipped and doubled with a tight end. And we take this report from a Dallas newspaper who probably still think the Cowgirls are good. Please stop taking the bait.

Posted by: I_95 | December 10, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Probably someone in the organization needs to lay out a vision to improve this part of the team in clear language rather than trying to sign another defensive star or a quarterback or a running back or another wide receiver. The Redskins needs to replace one or more of the existing players with Stars on the offensive line to pull this together. A first round draft choice would be great as well as a strong free agent signing-hopefully someone that could play elsewhere in the league. This must be a priority or we will be right back here next year with a bunch of injuries from old guys who can no longer take the punishment of the NFL. three wins might look good if the offensive line is not rebuilt completely.

Posted by: HelloNewman1 | December 10, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

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