Battle Plans: Ravens @ Redskins

Offense

1. Control the Blitzkrieg

The biggest staple of Washington’s defense is their all-out blitz game. The Redskins will show a lot of aggressive looks – at times showing Cover 0 where there is no safety help over the top. In other instances, they will bluff the blitz and have the hovering A gap blitzers fan out to clog the inside passing lanes.

For Joe Flacco to be successful, he’ll need an assortment of quick-hitting blitz beaters at his disposal. The ball must be out of his hand quickly and decisively. Moreover, before he releases the ball, he’ll have to be careful to make sure a linebacker doesn’t drop into a spot he thought would be vacated. All in all, Flacco will need to be prepared to see all ends of the blitz spectrum.

2. Play Keep Away

One of the standout aspects of the Giants game plan against Washington was their ability to control the clock. The Giants won the battle by a little more than a seven-minute differential. This may not seem like a big deal, but they were able to limit RG3’s snaps on offense, and keep the game a low-scoring affair.

The Ravens will need to sustain offensive drives in a similar manner if they want to keep the red-hot rookie quarterback on the sidelines. That means finding a way to convert third downs by running the ball and using the short passing game as an extension to the running game.

3. Red Zone Efficiency

It’s amazing to think that after lighting up the Raiders for 55 points, the Baltimore offense has scored just three touchdowns in the weeks after. Offensive drives have stalled for a variety of reasons, including penalties, sacks and poor short-yardage execution.

Whatever the case, the Ravens will have to get their act together when they get inside of the red area. Field goals won’t be enough to compete against a suddenly explosive Washington offense.

Defense

1. Don’t Chase the Dive

Much has been made about Robert Griffin III (RG3) and his ability to orchestrate the read-option offense. From a technique standpoint, the concept is simple. If the edge defender chases the running back on an inside move, RG3 can keep the ball himself and run off tackle. If the edge defender stays true, RG3 can hand the ball off and the back will have more space to get rolling downhill.

Again, it’s a simple concept, yet a nightmare to defend. For the Ravens, the onus will be on the OLBs to hold their ground on the edges and let the ILBs take care of rookie Alfred Morris on the inside handoff. If everyone sticks to their assignments and they don’t over pursue, it’ll be tougher sledding for Morris and RG3.

2. Keep your Eye on the Prize

Perhaps the toughest aspect of defending Washington’s version of the read-option is the deceptive ball-handling skills of RG3. His play-action fake is hard to decipher, and he has mastered the ability to hit passes over the middle off of the play-fake. In fact, even when biting linebackers have enough recovery speed to undercut RG3’s throws, he gets enough velocity on the ball to fit it in a tight window.

The best way for the linebackers to defend this play is be prepared to turn their hips and disrupt the inside passing lanes. If the inside backers bite too hard on the inside fake, RG3 will have a field day throwing the ball behind them.

3. Don’t Lose your Man

RG3 doesn’t just put a front seven in a bind. He’s equally dangerous against secondaries. With his ability to get outside of the pocket and buy time with his legs, the rookie flamethrower will extend routes for his receivers.

When RG3 starts to scramble, it’ll be imperative for the back end defenders to stick with their coverage responsibilities. If they break their coverage responsibilities to run down RG3, he will make them pay down the field.

One-on-One Matchup of the Week

Torrey Smith versus DeAngelo Hall

Of all of the Washington defenders, Hall is perhaps the most enigmatic. He can look like a shutdown corner on one play and absolutely overrated on the next. His coverage skills are on the decline, but he still has impressive ball skills and anticipation. Smith is back to being a more consistent factor in the passing attack. He has the speed to make Hall pay for being too aggressive.

This entry was posted in Battle Plans, Blog View, Featured by Dev Panchwagh. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dev Panchwagh

Dev Panchwagh
Dev Panchwagh is a versatile analyst who breaks down the Xs and Os of the game and has been a columnist/analyst for Ravens24x7.com since the summer of 2004. In his regular season column Battle Plans, Dev highlights the Ravens' keys to success against each upcoming opponent. Dev started modestly as a sports...more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Hot off the street

RAVENS LINKS: What Flacco Needs to Be

Five Things That Need to Go Right for The Ravens in 2014 Phil Gentile of the Purple Reign Show lists five things that the Ravens have to do in 2014. The 5th thing - and the most important thing - h...read more

Former Teammate Takes Swipe at Ray Rice

The Ray Rice backlash is not going away anytime soon. When he travels to other stadiums the activists will follow and vitriolic fans with nothing better to do with their sad little lives will make ...read more

Which Raven Is Ranked 3rd Best 3-4 OLB in the NFL?

Does anyone want to take a guess as to who Pro Football Focus (PFF) has ranked as their third best 3-4 outside linebacker through three preseason games? Anyone? Here’s a hint: The last time he...read more

Campanaro Set For Preseason Finale in NOLA

For three years in high school, Ravens rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro dazzled on the football field under the Friday Night Lights at River Hill High School in a quiet section of Clarksville, M...read more

Ravens QB’s Turn to a New Color

Quarterbacks throughout the league almost always wear a third color during practices – a color that stands out and apart from those worn by the offense and the defense. The idea, mostly for the b...read more

View More