The NFL: Where Size Matters

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The NFL: Where Size Matters
We're three weeks into the NFL Season and there are two things that are apparent for the Washington Redskins. 1) They have no semblance of a running game 2) They're ranked dead last in red zone touchdowns. In recent years, the burgundy and gold are no strangers to offensive woes as their running game and red zone offense has been dismal at best.




The Redskin's feature tailback, Clinton Portis no longer possesses the burst that he displayed in Denver and seems to have questionable balance. This could be a major caveat as well when assessing the teams futile running game. Lack of creative play-calling could also be a factor in red-zone offense. The derivation of these issues may be hard to determine but perhaps one thing is being overlooked. In the NFL, size matters.



Two key areas where the Skins lack size are at Center and Wide-receiver. Center Casey Rabach has been praised (primarily by Skins personnel) for his ability to make line calls and his superior football intellect. My apologies if I'm overlooking his seemingly invaluable worth to the team but he's usually the first to fall in between snaps and the last to reach the huddle after the whistle. Based on observation, Rabach rarely wins individual battles in the trenches. Rabach doesn't have the size or power to get the necessary "push" that it takes to create holes for running backs. Consequently, the respective runner usually has to bounce any vertical running play to the outside normally yielding negative results. Don't get me wrong, Casey appears to be a stand-up guy with an awesome pedigree. I mean if he was a cub scout leader guess whose kid would be first in line at registration. Playing Center in the NFL however, requires a little more than being an intellectually endowed, nice guy. The team seems to be comfortable with Casey's play and haven't acquired a young prospective back-up to eventually supplant him. (Very Redskinesque)



Santana Moss has been the Redskins primary "go to" receiver for the past few seasons and that doesn't appear to have changed for 2010. Santana is about 5'8 (although listed at 5'10) and is one of the shortest starting receivers in the league. When Moss was acquired in a trade from the New York Jets, the Jets used him as a slot receiver. The Redskins decided he would be their "number 1" and the rest was history.If Moss gets a step on the opposing cornerback he's likely to be performing a touchdown dance shortly thereafter. When Santana's pressed at the line of scrimmage by larger cornerbacks, he's usually easily re-routed and taken out of the play.



Many have argued about the necessity or even the advantages of big receivers. It's true that a large receiver isn't automatically synonymous with a good receiver. However, a larger target makes the respective quarterback's job a lot easier. For example, if you're in the red zone (hey we might be on to something) and need a touchdown, a 6'4 receiver would probably have a distinct advantage over a 5'11 corner back. Not exactly nuclear physics. The Skins would prefer however, to throw fade patterns to Moss, Anthony Armstrong and Joey Galloway (all under 6 feet tall). Maybe the size of the receivers and the team's red-zone futility are just part of a chilling coincidence. Large receivers also play a part in creating space while blocking for running backs. I'm not sure what Santana Moss and Joey Galloway's bench press numbers are but perhaps their inability to block larger corners, explains why the Skins never have success on running plays to the outside. Those that don't believe size matters in the NFL, could be in denial or perhaps just coaching the Redskins.
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