Greg Blache Unveils a Softer, Gentler Approach To Defending Rookie QB's

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Greg Blache Unveils a Softer, Gentler Approach To Defending Rookie QB's
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Following one of the most embarrassing losses in recent franchise history Redskin nation will be looking many places to heap the blame.  Coach Jim Zorn and quarterback Jason Campbell will probably bear the majority of it.

While they certainly played their parts in Sunday’s debacle, the person that deserves the most blame is defensive coordinator Greg Blache.

For a person who has such a good coaching resume and led the defense to a very good showing last year, he really showed an amazing lack of understanding of basic football concepts.

Greg Blache gave rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford the time to gain confidence.  Every basic coaching course will teach that the best game plan to use against an inexperienced quarterback is to bring heavy blitzes and force him into making a mistake.

Greg Blache must have skipped the introductory coaching classes.

Most coaches will study game film to determine what formations have been most effective against the Lions this year.  New Orleans and Minnesota certainly provided enough of a blueprint.  They pressured Stafford into five interceptions and allowed only one touchdown pass.

Greg Blache must have skipped the film session.

Instead he decided that playing prevent defense the entire game would be more effective.  He was right.  His scheme certainly prevented a Redskin victory.

This may have been the worst defensive coaching job I have ever witnessed.  He rushed four people almost the entire game.  He had speed rusher Brian Orakpo playing coverage over 60 percent of the game, including the critical 24-yard pass play on the Lions’ last drive that helped them seal the victory.

He had the cornerbacks playing eight to 10 yards off of the receivers on several 3d-and-2 situations.  How does that make any sense to anyone?

The Lions were certainly grateful.  When Stafford saw the amount of space that the Redskins were giving on these plays he checked down to easy three-yard button hook pitch and catches.

I have never witnessed a defense play as conservative against a rookie quarterback in my life.  The Redskins never came close to getting any pressure on Stafford with just four pass rushers.  As a result, Stafford had time to find the seems in the secondary.

I don’t care if you drop back 11 players into coverage.  A professional wide receiver will eventually get open, and a professional quarterback will eventually find him.

Greg Blache wasn’t the only person who was at fault yesterday.  He was just the most glaring reason for this loss.  Here is a list of (dis)honorable mentions.

 

Fred Smoot

You should be ashamed of yourself.  You were scared to hit a rookie quarterback! 

On a 3rd-and-13 on the Lions’ first scoring drive Smoot had a perfect shot to tackle Stafford short of the marker and force a field goal.  Instead he threw a timid alligator armed attempt at a tackle with his eyes closed that I had previously only seen performed by wide receivers who are scared to catch a pass over the middle.

The result was that Stafford flew by him and Detroit scored a touchdown later in the drive.

Smoot and fellow cornerback DeAngelo Hall bear a striking resemblance to Deion Sanders (minus the interception returns for touchdowns).  This leads to a question that is equally as confusing as the question of why a coach wouldn’t blitz a rookie quarterback.

Why do you play defense if you are scared to hit someone?

 

Clinton Portis

Hey Clinton, the game was yesterday, in case you forgot.

I know that the offensive line isn’t opening up holes very well and that Portis isn’t being called on very much.  But when he did get carries he showed no burst or power.

The Clinton Portis that I am used to seeing is a player who excels at getting underneath tacklers and falling forward for four yards even when no hole is open.  That guy didn’t play yesterday.

From his body language to his facial expressions it was very evident that Portis is very angry with the coach, the scheme, and his reduced role in the offense.  It is clearly affecting the way he plays.

I’m not sure which reality is correct, but either choice is a bad one for the Redskins.  The choices are either that Portis is disgruntled and playing without heart, or that age and wear are finally catching up to him.

Either way, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Redskins go in another direction at running back next year.  The 1,400 rushing yards Portis needs to become the all-time Redskins rushing leader are looking like a pipe dream.  That in itself is an amazing testament to how low this team’s expectations have become.

 

Jim Zorn

Decisions, decisions.

It’s amazing how often early coaching mistakes come back to haunt a team later in a game.  If you take back Zorn’s decision to go for it on the first drive instead of kicking a field goal and his decision to accept a penalty instead of making Detroit attempt a 50-yard field goal the Redskins win the game.

Zorn’s two crucial errors cost the Redskins seven early points.  They lost by five.  You do the math.

 

Ladell Betts

How does a player who gets paid millions of dollars to spend his life concentrating on being the best football player he can be not understand basic football concepts?

Like getting out of bounds to preserve time during end of game scenarios!

Betts did this not once, but twice.

The first time was during the Redskins’ final scoring drive.  Betts caught a pass near the sidelines, had the first down, but decided to turn up field to gain one extra yard instead of getting out of bounds.  As a result, roughly 30 critical seconds were lost.

The second play occurred at the end of the game.  Betts caught a lateral, ran beyond the first down marker, and had time to step out of bounds with two seconds left.  Instead, he ran right into the waiting arms of two Detroit defenders.

I know the second situation was a tough play to make, but good players make those smart decisions.  The ones who can’t usually end up as backups on a 1-2 team that looks to be one of the league’s worst.

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