This was a tough one to write. I’m going to take you through the top five plays for the Washington Redskins in the 2008 season. Now, it shouldn’t be difficult, right? I mean considering they may have only run five offensive plays all year. Of course, that’s an exaggeration, but ‘Skins fans know what I mean.
My number five play is a passing play, and one of the few that worked for the Redskins. Jason Campbell is under center, with Clinton Portis being the lone man in the back-field. Santana Moss stands a few feet from the left of the offensive line, with two receivers split out to the right. The inside receiver comes in motion from right to left and goes out wide. When the ball is snapped, all receivers go long except for Moss. Chris Cooley, the tight end, crosses over the middle going left. Moss comes short, over the middle going right. With the whole field cleared out, speedy Moss catches Campbell’s pass and is able to use his quick moves and speed to gain good yardage every time.
Against the New Orleans Saints in week 2, it worked for a nice 27-yard pick-up. In weeks 1 and 7 this play went for touchdowns. In the season opener against the New York Giants it put the Redskins on the board just before halftime on a short 12-yard strike to Moss sprinting his way to a touchdown. And in week 7 against the Cleveland Browns it put the ‘Skins up two scores on a nice little 18-yard touchdown, with Moss spinning his way past the defender and into the end zone.
My number four play of 2008 has to be the halfback draw. This play resulted in many big gains for Portis. He also recorded two touchdowns off the draw. Whether he lined up by himself in the back-field, or behind big Mike Sellers, the draw gave Portis big chunks of his 1,487 total rushing yards.
Yes, they did run the draw play in strange situations, for example on 3rd and long. However, when used properly, this was an effective play for the ‘Skins.
The success of my number three play is once again attributed to Moss’ speed, and Campbell’s ability to dodge a pass rush. It’s a simple strategy of Campbell noticing an obvious blitz before the play starts. Yes, it’s hard to plan this, but it helped the Redskins score on some of their longest pass plays of the year.
Campbell walks up under center, notices an upcoming blitz from the defensive set-up, then calls an audible. In his mind, he’s just hoping he can get away from the man blitzing in order to throw the bomb to Moss. Once the ball is snapped, a pass rusher comes from Campbell’s right, untouched. Campbell drops back, and once he sees the man blitzing he makes one simple step forward, dropping his right shoulder just a little bit to avoid the defender grabbing his jersey. He then steps into the pocket and rockets one to a streaking Moss, who can pretty much beat any corner with his raw speed.
This play was seen in week 2 against the Saints, and proved to be the game winning 67-yard touchdown as Moss put the Redskins up 29-24 after the extra point. It also helped the ‘Skins seal a victory against the Detroit Lions in week 8, as Campbell connected with Moss for a 50-yard score, putting his team up 25-17.
In Washington’s week 4 match-up against the Dallas Cowboys, Campbell did the same move against defensive end DeMarcus Ware, and hit Moss on a couple long gains, putting the Redskins in scoring position.
My number two play, though it only worked twice and wasn’t called a whole lot, was a genius call in my opinion. The play was set-up with two receivers split out to the right, none on the left. Portis and Mike Sellers are in I-formation in the back-field.
Randle El, the inside receiver, goes in motion from right to left. He stops just as he passes Chris Cooley on the left. Campbell gets the snap, fakes the hand off to Portis moving left behind Mike Sellers. Cooley shows run block, then releases to cut across the middle. Meanwhile, Randle El runs to the backfield and grabs the hand off from Campbell. Running right, Randle El looks as if he will take off and run with it, then stops just before the line of scrimmage, finding Cooley wide open.
It’s not too often you see an end around pass to a tight end. Usually it’s to a streaking wide receiver down field. This play caught the Eagles off guard in week 5, as Randle El connected with Cooley for an 18-yard touchdown putting the Redskins up 15-14.
My number one play of 2008 will shock some people. It’s a simple one, but before all of the injuries to the left side of the offensive line, it was a hand off to Clinton Portis running to the left. The Redskins setting up in I-formation, Portis behind fullback Mike Sellers, running left worked majority of the time. It worked for gains of 31 in week 4 against Dallas, 27 in week 5 against Philly, 29 in week 6 against the Rams, 27 against Cleveland in week 7, and 31 against Detroit in week 8. Not to mention three of his nine touchdowns came from running left. Portis must have been licking his lips every time he heard a run to the left called in the huddle.
And there you have it. My top 5 plays from the Redskins’ 2008 season. I sure hope this season I have some more passing plays to put on this list, or a few more trick plays. Give me something fun, maybe Campbell hitting Devin Thomas for a few TD’s, or Malcolm Kelly!