Sitting here thinking and reading twitter, something keeps showing up. How much the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins have struggled this season. We asked Anthony Brown from www.redskinshogheaven.com to help us and see if there is any similarity between the two teams.
Obviously the biggest connection from the start is the Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak philosophies when it comes to running and offense.
So Anthony, lets start with what are the Redskins biggest issues right now?
In the past 24 hours? Broken relationships. Nobody but three people know where the real breaks are -- Mike Shanahan, GM Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder. In the last 5 games, the Redskins have gone from the most stable coaching staff to a dumpster fire.
On a football basis, the defense never meshed over 4 years well with the conversion to the 3-4 alignment. The secondary never had the right talent. The pass rush we expected this season never materialized.
Special teams, ugh. I want to blame Keith Burns who is on his first assignment as a Teams coordinator. That could be unfair, but last season under Danny Smith Teams covered kicks and tackled much better. It's inconceivable to give up 300 yards and two scores to special teams play in one game.
We have talent in place that are fair to good role-players but are not long-term solutions. The salary cap sanction (known around here as the great train robbery of 2012) is a clear factor in this. And then there is...
Robert Griffin III's knee injury that has been a 12 month train wreck. It really does look like nobody took the offseason/preseason seriously until he declared himself 100 percent.
In a word, yes.
What are we calling the "Shanahan offense?" Is it the read option mix that freezes offenses for play-action like we say last year? that was fresh and new when we had a genuine duel threat quarterback to run it. If it's the Shanahan-flavored West Coast Offense with a mobile QB who gets the ball in the hands of an edge rusher and a variety of middle distant receivers, yes I believe that's still current too, with healthy performers.
The RG3 offense had a higher mix of read option because of Robert Griffin's unique gifts. Defenders knew what he was doing. He made them pay for wrong choices. This year the Redskins called read option less because of Griffins injury and defenses focused more on stopping Alfred Morris.
But you tell me. Did the Texans offense work when your horses were healthy? I'm out of touch on that.
To me the Texan offense needed "everyone" healthy to be sufficient. Foster being out this year didn't help, and despite him playing early he never had big games like his breakout year in 2010.
More than anything the Kubiak and Dennison offense became very predictable, and was more of a crossing route passing selection with very little vertical game. Throw in the fact with a non mobile QB the bootleg game helped zero holding backside defensive ends/OLBs on running plays to open up the cut back lane.
8 years of the Kubiak/Denver inspired offense, nothing really changed. They introduced the pistol this season with Schaub, but he wasn't scaring anyone with the run game. That was the big wrinkle for the offense?
I don't know about Washington, but does it feel like a broken record when the offense hits the field? Run the ball control the clock and get a lead and try to hold on? No "offensive" killer instinct?
Eight years in one place and defenses can read your minds as well as your offense. Kubiak is an acorn from the Shanahan coaching tree. I would not say the philosophy is out of date. There are parallels.
Quarterback play has been less effective, but for different reasons.
One great wide receiver is not enough. (Pierre Garcon is on pace to break Art Monk's season-season reception record.)
Our blocking schemes are not holding a pocket long enough and not opening enough holes for Morris.
So yes, in the last five games, it feels like defenses are on to us.
What's the fix? Change to another scheme?
That is what is gong to happen in Houston.
One question on your quarterback, has RG3 showed issues sitting in the pocket and reading the blitz? Also, from watching the offense has RG3 ever changed the play at the line of scrimmage?
RG called changes in protection schemes. I didn't see a lot of changing the play. Not sure Kyle Shanahan let him or that he was ready to do it.
yes he has had issues sitting in the pocket. Quite often the interior line was collapsing. His bigger learning curve was reading coverage. He's become proficient at reading two receivers. He still runs sometimes and misses open receivers.
In most ways, yes. And yet, he was very flexible weaving read option into his scheme last season and it was a spectacular success. Old school emerged when he followed the NFL tenant that if a player says he's good to go, the he plays. Example: RGIII in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter of the Seattle playoff game.
So here's a question for you. If Kirk Cousins plays well, would the Texans have an interest?
I hope not. Big issues is who is going to be the head coach here. Obviously Kubiak not being here makes a world of difference, and Rick Dennsion's (offensive coordinator) day seem to be numbered.
Cousins looks the part but the Texans need to find their own guy, now if RG3 is available, then there might be something to discuss.
We are distracted in DC. Sorry for not replying sooner.
Interesting you say that. Some Redskins fans are suggesting the team keep Cousins and trade Griffin. (I'm not one of them by the way.) What's your best guess at what a team would offer for Griffin and would offer for Cousins?
A local radio talk jockey suggested packaging Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan and Kirk Cousins and trading for a first round and pick to be named later. Is that appealing or what?
The short list involves Whisenhunt. Lovie Smith and Bill O'Brien for starters. David Shaw was on that list but apparently he wants to stay at Stanford.
As for your "deal" the only one I would consider is Kyle Shanahan, he had a good track record in Houston before going to DC.
So from our discussion, do you see any correlation with the struggles of both teams, with the connection between Kubiak and Shanahan?
Let me ask a few questions.
Was Kubiak in complete control of the roster, line-up, free agent signings, Draft, coaching staff?
Did the McNair's influence football operations?
Did the McNair's relationship with (star) players have a negative influence in the locker room? Favored players and those anonymous little people?
Did your GM report to the coach or to the owner?
From a distance, I only see Kubiak as an acorn in Shanahan's coaching tree. Not sure what more to make of that.
Let me answer these questions with what is known.
Kubiak had plenty of say on the roster, from what we have heard a 50/50 call on all moves with General Manager Rick Smith.
Mr. McNair has stayed away from personnel decisions until recently, and the biggest one known is that he was Case Keenum to be the quarterback until the season is done.
McNair, to me, shows special treatment to one player and that is Andre Johnson. As far as the city of Houston and me that is fine.
It feels that Kubiak had Rick Smith running plenty of the personnel decisions through him. There have been rumors of some potential moves and deals that were not signed off by Kubiak, which has gotten the team to this point.
So does that line up with anything happening in DC?
Czar Mikovich is in charge of EVERYTHING, from roster, to draft picks to line-ups to schemes to message.
Until recently, he accepted credit for McNabb and for the trade that landed RGIII. Now there are planted stories that he was not all in on either move. (???)
The Texans sound like blended control, unlike the Redskins.
Funny thing is, I believe Shanahan would have kept his job until all the character assassination in the past two weeks. There must have been something to the rumors of favored treatment of Griffin, but coaches don't win p-sn matches with owners.
So far, the only connection I see is an offensive scheme and similarities of the player-types that thrive in it. Both teams have QB issues for vastly different reasons.
Shanahan twice dropped Kubiak's name in his press conference today. I believe Kyle longs to come back to Houston.
Recapture past success.
Has recently told DC media he wished they would stop evaluating him by his last name. Then story he has decided to move on from coaching with Mike. Kyle disagreed with decision to bench Griffin. Was not consulted, he says. Seems frustrated that fingers are pointing at him as root of problems between Griffin and coaches.
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