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Taking the Measure of New Pass-Protection Rules

Let me begin by saying that, for the most part, I trust Jim Zorn. Of all the coaches and managers I've covered in my career, I believe Zorn, more than any other, strives to be honest in his assessment of things when speaking with the media.

I qualify this only because there are some scenarios in which I could envision Zorn being less than forthright, especially with the scrutiny he is expected to face from ownership after the Redskins' 2-6 second-half collapse last season. That's just the nature of his position. On a day-to-day basis, however, my view is that Zorn is an honest cat.

So when Zorn was effusive in his praise for the first-team offensive line after last week's 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, I decided to focus on the line for my game report in the paper, particularly because of how the unit struggled throughout camp.

The Ravens applied significant pressure only once on Jason Campbell in the first-team offense's two series in the first quarter, and right guard Chad Rinehart seemed to hold up fairly well in place of starter Randy Thomas. In the group interview session afterward at M&T Bank Stadium, Zorn repeatedly expressed his excitement about the line's performance. He was even more expressive when I chatted privately with him after the group dispersed.

Since the game, however, I have begun to wonder how well the unit really played, especially considering that the Ravens' pass-rush star Terrell Suggs took the night off. I checked with others in the organization the last few days to gauge where things stand with the line, and everyone I spoke with supported Zorn's assessment. Several of these people have disagreed with Zorn's outlook on other topics we've previously discussed, so I know they're not just "yes men."

What I was told is that regardless of the potential impact Suggs could have had, the Redskins effectively handled the Ravens' package of blitzes and line stunts. In last season's 24-10 loss to Baltimore, Washington often appeared lost against the Ravens' pass rush. It was only a preseason game, but that's progress, I was told.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are up next on Saturday at FedEx Field, and they dominated the Redskins in a 23-6 victory last season at FedEx. The Redskins were 6-2 entering the game, but the Steelers' pass rush exposed glaring weaknesses in their pass-protection that ultimately undermined the season. Washington won only twice the rest of the way and missed the playoffs again.

During the offseason, the Redskins tweaked their pass-protection scheme to take some of the load of off Campbell in blitz adjustments and increase the involvement of running backs in protection. The new rules, which I wrote about yesterday, worked well against the Ravens, and the Steelers should provide another stern test.

As always with me, I like to see how stuff develops before declaring success or failure. That aside, I am convinced that Zorn still shoots straight despite the pressure he faces in only his second year as a head coach. And if the new rules really do help the Redskins' pass protection improve, then perhaps Zorn and Campbell could have a fighting chance.

By Jason Reid  |  August 18, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
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Next: Mike Williams Keeps 'Chopping' Weight Down

Comments

Primero.

Posted by: Rypien11 | August 18, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm either 1,2,3,4 or 5th who freakin cares !

Posted by: FIREJIMZORN | August 18, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I'M EITHER 1,2,3,4,5,OR FREAKING 6TH WHO CARES !!!!!1

Posted by: FIREJIMZORN | August 18, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

DOES ANYONE HAVE MARTY S. EMAIL ADD ?

Posted by: FIREJIMZORN | August 18, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Hurt his shoulder making a tackle against the Bungals on a Brunel INT, wasn't right the whole year. CP doesn't need to play in a single preseason game, he has already taken more than his share of punishment in the league, he is already over the 2,000 barrier and closing in on the 30 year wall, we should be sitting whenever and wherever we can the rest of his career.

Posted by: zjfr2 | August 18, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: zjfr2 | August 18, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

It must be groundhog day on Redskins Insider, because I feel like I read the samething every day...

-Terrell Suggs didn't play
-23-0
-offensive line struggle

same skit different day...

Posted by: ATLredskin | August 18, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Umm..What are the specifics of the new rules?

Posted by: ga8085 | August 18, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

West Coast Shotgun!!

Posted by: DikShuttle | August 18, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The Pittsburgh Steelers are up next on Saturday at FedEx Field, and they dominated the Redskins in a 23-6 victory last season at FedEx.

By Jason Reid | August 18, 2009; 10:30 AM ET

Is this considered a home game for the 'Skins or for the Steelers?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | August 18, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Apparently hurricane jokes about New Orleans are okay now. I guess enough time has gone by...

Posted by: skins1110 | August 18, 2009 12:44 AM

That may be so, but you will never hear the song "Walkin' On Sunshine" on New Orleans radio. That band is banned there.

Posted by: dcsween | August 18, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

It must be groundhog day on Redskins Insider, because I feel like I read the samething every day...

-Terrell Suggs didn't play
-23-0
-offensive line struggle

same skit different day...

Posted by: ATLredskin | August 18, 2009 10:49 AM

You left out the part about "last season's collapse after a 6-2 start." That means he hasn't written it enough yet, because one of us still can't repeat it.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | August 18, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I still don't think the team should be crowing about the play of the offensive line. The starters did okay but not fantastic in pass protection, but they didn't run block very well at all. If they cannot run the ball, teams will blitz more often and then the pass protection will again be in question. The bottom line on the offensive line play was they did not sustain drives and part of that had to do with the running game.

No one in the Redskins organization seems to want to talk about the performance of the backup offensive linemen which was just about awful. These are the guys that will step in when one of the oft injured offensive linemen go down, so there should be a lot of concern there. That the whole gang of backups underwhelmed should not take the heat off the backup offensive linemen.

Bottom line: This team is still seriously undermanned at offensive tackle. They have almost proven that Bridges and Rhinehart cannot play the tackle position. They should release Burley after the Steelers game if he does not improve because to this point he has been awful. It might be too early to call Williams' abdominal injury "nagging", but he is missing valuable reps that would help him scrape the rust off. Heyer did okay Thursday night, but he is one of those "oft-injured offensive linemen" that I mentioned earlier. Devin Clark is outclassed at the left tackle position but he might be okay for right tackle. Given the guards Rhinehart and Bridges are such poor options at right tackle, the team might want to start the search for another tackle to bring into camp.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | August 18, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

...... so you're saying there's a chance.

Alllllllriight!

Posted by: REDneckSKINhead | August 18, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

DOES ANYONE HAVE MARTY S. EMAIL ADD ?

Posted by: FIREJIMZORN | August 18, 2009 10:40 AM

OK, I give. What does "email ADD" mean? I mean Attention Deficit Disorder is rampant among RI posters starved for more Skins news ... that's what the hamster reference means. Is email ADD what happens when you keep asking for the same email over and over again?

Posted by: dcsween | August 18, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

sween gets the prize for dumbest question of the day.....email address perhaps?

Posted by: zjfr2 | August 18, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Favre on a plane to Minnesota right now... Another joyous week of non-stop Favreication about to begin on the 24/7 sports news cycle.

Posted by: 4-12 | August 18, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"So when Zorn was effusive in his praise for the first-team offensive line after last week's 23-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, I decided to focus on the line for my game report in the paper ...." -JReid

What you should have focused on was the thought bubble above his head that read "The reason I'm so effusive was because before the game I thought I was completely and totally screwed and absolutely going to lose my job because of the offensive line ... and now I'm only mostly screwed and only probably going to lose my job because of the offensive line."

Posted by: dcsween | August 18, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Sween -- he's asking for Marty's email address.

Show of hands: who thinks everyone should completely ignore FIREJIMZORN?

Posted by: outsider6 | August 18, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

4-12 I hope you are joking. He just needs to go some damn where and sit down. Damn!!!

Posted by: jm220 | August 18, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Who?

Posted by: mattsoundworld | August 18, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Is this the 'Redemption' PreSeason?

Also, why must the OLine continued to be knocked. And others (*Cough* QB *cough*) not focused on in a simialar fashion. The OLine will be back in top form. Bugel has less on his mind, we have possible 2 replacements. And another year in the system.

Remember, JC17 called out the pass protection last year, not the line. The line is calling it this year. That means JC17 is having some duties stripped of him so he can better focus.....

Posted by: 4thFloor | August 18, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Show of hands: who thinks everyone should completely ignore FIREJIMZORN?

Posted by: outsider6
+++++++++++++++++++++++

You aren't ignoring him yet? You, my friend, are in the minority.

Posted by: smurff1 | August 18, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: 4thFloor | August 18, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Wish I was joking jm...wish I was.

Posted by: 4-12 | August 18, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Report: Favre is expected to sign with Vikings today
Posted by Mike Florio on August 18, 2009 11:01 AM ET

WCCO has seen the WISN report, and raised it.

According to Mark Rosen of the Minneapolis/St. Paul CBS affiliate, Favre will sign a contract with the Vikings today.

Somewhere, Jay Glazer just yelled, "Bingo! Bingo! Eat it, ladies!"

Posted by: zjfr2 | August 18, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

wow - PC comments on a REDSKINS blog?!

Yes jokes involving the word hurricane are ok. Jokes about having to live in a govt. trailer for 3 years are probably still a little edgy, but hey, that's what makes 'em good.

I don't understand the 'walking on sunshine' bit - but the timing was excellent.

And that's the #1 rule of comedy....

...ti..

I mean time...

...timing...

[I didn't think that would work in print... it doesn't] [:-|

Posted by: DikShuttle | August 18, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

This blog never fails to amuse me.

And oh yeah some of you tick me off.

Posted by: RedCherokee | August 18, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

From RI: "I checked with others in the organization the last few days to gauge where things stand with the line, and everyone I spoke with supported Zorn's assessment. Several of these people have disagreed with Zorn's outlook on other topics we've previously discussed, so I know they're not just "yes men.""

Seriously, no one in his right mind would think that talking to anyone in the Skins org is going to give you a truthful assessment of how the line performed. Plus it was the first preseason game; the Balto DL had nothing to prove and the Skins OL was under the gun.

Posted by: TubularBells | August 18, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"Somewhere, Jay Glazer just yelled, "Bingo! Bingo! Eat it, ladies!""

Even a broken clock...

Posted by: smutsboy | August 18, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

and now I'm only mostly screwed and only probably going to lose my job because of the offensive line."

Posted by: dcsween | August 18, 2009 11:05 AM |

Really? He inherited the OL coach and the personnel (or lack of it as the case may be) is in the hands of Cerrato so the dude is going to lose his job over something he had 0 control over? How is that?

Posted by: TubularBells | August 18, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Report: Favre to get $12 million for one year
Posted by Mike Florio on August 18, 2009 11:24 AM ET
Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Vikings will pay Brett Favre $12 million for one season of football with the team.

That matches the amount Favre earned in 2008 with the Jets, and it's only $1 million less than what Favre was due to make under the final year of his contract, which the Jets acquired last year via trade.

Cole's report contradicts past suggestions that Favre would receive an incentive-based contract that paid him based on his ability to play and/or his success.

Posted by: zjfr2 | August 18, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Breaking News":

Looks like Favre is en route to Minnesota to sign a contract with the Vikes. Can't make this stuff up, people...

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 18, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

UGH - Favre to sign with Vikes. Seriously, can someone just kill him?

Posted by: Rypien11 | August 18, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

My hope is that they are going to pull an OL in when they make first cuts or after second Preseason game, when they can get rid of players they know wont fit or they just have a roster spot for them, like the WR/ LB/ DL slots, probably going to see some of the OL go away and we hope so.

I am most interested to seeing the young WR continue to develop. I also think we need to consider a LB that is going to be cap casualty or a veteran gets the boot in favor of a younger up and comer. I dont think our LB group will succeed this year, biggest glaring need to me right now is that and OL, obviously.

Either way, without us averaging 20 plus points a game or more, I think Zorn is gone, even if we make the playoffs and get booted quickly.

Hail Skins.

Posted by: mhartz1 | August 18, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Haynesworth can in the playoffs.

YOu add him to that rush attack and I think you have to seriously worry about the Vikes going deep into post season...

Posted by: DikShuttle | August 18, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I never liked Katrina and the Waves either.

If the Broncos FO is so messed up, does that mean we can trade Kid n Play straight up for B Marshall? Maybe that would make up for the TJ Duckett panic button trade and the Jason Taylor rope-a-dope trade.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | August 18, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

UGH - Favre to sign with Vikes. Seriously, can someone just kill him?

Posted by: Rypien11 | August 18, 2009 11:33 AM

He just might throw 7 TDs in a game this time around.

Posted by: RedCherokee | August 18, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

him being Fahrvhre, not haney. srry grammar-po-po

Posted by: DikShuttle | August 18, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

ah - got it.

thx.

forgot about the band....

Posted by: DikShuttle | August 18, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

him being Fahrvhre, not haney. srry grammar-po-po

Posted by: DikShuttle | August 18, 2009 11:41 AM

No more Kool-aid for you.

Posted by: RedCherokee | August 18, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

UGH - Favre to sign with Vikes. Seriously, can someone just kill him?

Posted by: Rypien11 | August 18, 2009 11:33 AM

Dude, I'm on the line with a professional hitman right now. If all goes well, he never leaves the airport.

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 18, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

My first round fantasy pick is Brett FAV-RUH...CHAMPIONSHIP!

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | August 18, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Really? He inherited the OL coach and the personnel (or lack of it as the case may be) is in the hands of Cerrato so the dude is going to lose his job over something he had 0 control over? How is that?

Posted by: TubularBells | August 18, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Instead of picking up several pass catchers every year in the draft, more than one O-lineman might have been a better plan!

Posted by: gre28man72 | August 18, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but Favre on the Vikes is scary. Hate him all you want, but with that running game and defense, they are clearly the favorite in the NFC North. This isn't the case of Favre joining a team that went 4-12 the year before, like he did with the Jets. That's a legitimate team that was really only missing two positions, WR and QB. They just addressed one of them (and the other could be addressed internally by their young draft picks, not unlike the Redskins).

Posted by: psps23 | August 18, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

He just might throw 7 TDs in a game this time around.

Posted by: RedCherokee | August 18, 2009 11:39 AM

And follow it up with a 6 int stinker the next week. I wouldn't come within a country mile of signing that little b*tch.

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 18, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Updated: August 18, 2009, 11:47 AM ET
Source: Favre to sign with Vikings
Comment Email Print Share ESPN.com news services

A source close to Brett Favre said the quarterback, pending a physical, will sign a contract with the Minnesota Vikings for between $10 million to $12 million, according to ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.

Vikings coach Brad Childress confirmed in an e-mail to The Associated Press Tuesday morning that Favre was traveling from Mississippi to meet with the team.

Asked if the plan was to sign Favre on Tuesday, Childress replied: "In a perfect world."

Favre, a longtime star in Green Bay, came out of retirement last season to play for the Jets. He retired again, only to then entertain the idea of joining the Vikings. Last month, Childress said the quarterback would stay retired.

The pronouncement now appears to be premature.

According to Mortensen, the Vikings had sent their private plane to Hattiesburg, Miss., and left with Favre on it at 10 a.m. ET. The plane is expected to land in Minneapolis at about noon ET; Favre is expected to take a physical later Tuesday.

Two television stations reported that Favre was seen boarding a plane Tuesday morning that was headed to Minneapolis.

Sources told WDAM in Hattiesburg that Favre had said: "We may know something by dinner."

According to Minneapolis television station WCCO, a high-level source also said that Favre is expected to sign a deal with the Vikings on Tuesday.

On Monday, Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, responding to the day's scuttlebutt that Favre was predicted to play in Minnesota this season, said he was not paying attention to any of the talk.

"I pretty much have said [Favre] probably will follow me even when I retire. I'll probably have to hear about it. I'm just trying to take care of my business, and I can't worry about that stuff," Jackson said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "If I let that stuff get to me, ain't no telling where I'd be right now. I just let it roll off my shoulder and just keep going. Just keep trying to get better."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Posted by: tabtool | August 18, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Dan Snyder use his corporate jet to hijack Favre's jet to Minnesota and sign Favre to a ridiculously large contract? This will have the double impact of providing a less mobile target for defenders passing through the offensive line of Walmart greeters, plus totally destroy the lonely little crumb that is Jason Campbell's ego. Zorn can defend the move by saying they view Campbell now as a hybrid right tackle/quarterback in his new Wild Hog formation.

When you are a Redskins fan, even the absurb sounds plausible...

Posted by: RedSkinHead | August 18, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't sign him either, brownie - but I would if I were the Vikes. Good move.

Hey, even shrunk-=head whatzis name likes the move.

Posted by: DikShuttle | August 18, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

someone needs to start a "hire a real GM ASAP, demote Vinnie and sequester Dan Synder from Redskins Operations" movement.......as a kick-off to this, perhaps, a la Detroit and their semi-boycott of Lions that got matt millen fired (pls 'skins don't hire matt millen though he'd be an improvement over vinnie......) , we pick a home game and boycott Dan........he has hosed several things.....over the years, over na dover--look at long-term-successful teams w\the classic (albeit not sexy) model of a GM and building from inside out (Giants, Eagles, Steelers, and yes, Ravens--and back in the 80's--Redskins )

Posted by: tabtool | August 18, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it, but Favre on the Vikes is scary. Hate him all you want, but with that running game and defense, they are clearly the favorite in the NFC North.

Posted by: psps23 | August 18, 2009 11:52 AM

Vikes could win that crap division even without Favre...they did it last year! Favre is WAAAAY overrated at this phase of his career. He kills you with INTs and he single-handedly tanked the Jets AND the Packers last year. He needs to go away and stay away.

I know it sounds crazy, but I think our old friend Sage Rosenfels would be pretty good for them this year. If you ask him to hand it off to AP, take care of the ball and hit those speedy receivers deep a few times a game I really think he could handle that for a year or two.

Posted by: brownwood26 | August 18, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | August 18, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The difference between the Jets and the Vikings? Even a blind idiot like Childress can see that Adrian Peterson is going to be the one carrying that offense, no matter who's at QB (as opposed to Thomas Jones vs. Brett Favre in NYJ).

The only question is how well can Favre and his WRs cohere this late in preseason.

And if it's between Favre and Rosenfels for being the guy to hand it off to Peterson/Taylor and throw a few deep routes per game, I'm taking Favre 7 days a week and twice on Sundays.

Posted by: psps23 | August 18, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey, did you guys know Terrell Suggs did not play in that preseason game against the Ravens? THIS IS COMPLETELY NEW INFORMATION - WOW!!!

Funny, I read a lot of Baltimore press after that game evaluating their performance, and I don't recall anyone harping on Haynesworth being out so obviously their offense is not really that good.

Seriously dude, let it go. The starting O-line played well in that game...get over it, already.

Posted by: McMetal | August 18, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Just a thought, why not packaget Randel El or the loser of the Thomas vs Kelly along with a future #5 pick for Brandon Marshall.

THOUGHTS??????????

Posted by: pk_1119 | August 19, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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