Bills vs. Redskins : Defensive Scouting Report

 

Courtesy of NFL.com

Courtesy of NFL.com

Redskins Offense Vs. Bills Defense

Game three of the preseason is upon us and the Bills are set to take on the Washington Redskins on Friday night. The third game of the preseason most resembles a regular season game. Projected starters typically play into the third quarter. Teams like to treat this game as if it is the regular season, therefore there is some game planning that takes place.

Since the teams are going to gameplan a bit, I wanted to do a scouting report on the Redskins’ offense. Now obviously, the sample size and personnel that are on film is quite varied since it is preseason. There are a lot of guys that have contributed for the Redskins who would not normally be on the field in a regular season game. With that said, let’s take a look at what the Redskins have shown on film thus far.

 

Redskins Run Game

Head Coach Jay Gruden’s overall run game philosophy is very similar to Greg Roman’s. The Redskins want to be a physical running team, but the run blocking scheme they want to use is not in line with Roman’s. Gruden wants to be a run-first team and physical at the point of attack, but they want to do it with the zone running scheme. The Redskins’ offensive line is very athletic and they like to take advantage of those guys up front.

Their base runs are the inside and outside zone runs. The zone running scheme, as you may know, tries to stretch the defense horizontally. This allows their offensive lineman to use their athleticism to create blocking angles and to get to the second level. This play set works well against stout front sevens because it tests their ability to move laterally while maintaining their gap integrity.

Nose tackle Damon Harrison departed for the Giants this past offseason, so there is a big hole to fill up the middle on the Jets’ defense. The Redskins exploited it last game. They ran the ball 13 times (26 total runs called) inside (inside=from guard to guard) according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). Most of those runs were zone runs, where the aiming point for the RB is typically the outside shoulder of the guard (inside zone) or outside the tight end (outside zone). The back presses those aiming points and then must make a decision to bounce it, bang it or bend it (sick of me writing that yet?). In this game, the Redskins appeared to bang it, or get up inside the hole and get downhill. The backs compiled 47 yards (30 after contact) inside. You can see why they love running inside, their starting back Matt Jones is 6’2″, 232 pounds and he runs a 4.6 forty.

 

Good news for the Bills defense is that Jones injured his shoulder in that game and will probably miss the remainder of the preseason. Word is that former Georgia Bulldog Keith Marshall and Rob Kelley will see most of the workload.

Williams vs. RB Thompson on 3rd and 13…..

 

Marshall is the uber talented back (4.31 40 time) who could create issues if the Bills don’t stay in their run lanes. He caused four missed tackles in this game.

Look at their offensive lineman move and get to the second level.

 

I expect to see the Redskins attack the Bills defense from the inside out just like they did to the Jets. They know that Marcell Dareus is gone and that the Bills have an undersized Corbin Bryant starting over the center.

 

Redskins Passing Game

Starting Quarterback Kirk Cousins has only thrown 5 passes all preseason but he is expected to play at least a half tomorrow night. Gruden has some speedy wide receivers, guys that can stretch the defensive vertically, but also run away from defensive backs on crossing routes.

In last season’s matchup, Cousins torched the Bills for 4 TDs. The QB wasn’t rattled when the Bills blitzed and he didn’t make a mistake when not pressured. The Redskins’ Head Coach stated the following on Monday:

“I think we’ll get Kirk some really good reps, hopefully get him in a rhythm, get him out of there after the half or the third quarter. “

In the game versus the Jets, the Redskins attempted 36 passes between two QBs; Colt Mccoy and Nate Sudfeld. Seven of those attempts were over 20+ yards, and only three were completed. The problem being that of two of those went for touchdowns.In the game versus the Jets, Mccoy struggled when he was under pressure posting a 46.9 QB rating, throwing 1 interception and he was sacked two times. Rookie Sudfeld struggled when the Jets played coverage and forced him to go through progressions. He posted a 55.6 QB rating and a -2.5 PFF grade when he was not under pressure.

Mccoy struggled when he was under pressure posting a 46.9 QB rating, throwing 1 interception and he was sacked two times. Rookie Sudfeld struggled when the Jets played coverage and forced him to go through progressions. He posted a 55.6 QB rating and a -2.5 PFF grade when he was not under pressure.

As far as the Redskins game plan, I expect them to try and move the ball on the ground and use a heavy dose of play action. This is something that Cousins did 107 times last season.

 

Look for Cousins, Mccoy and Sudfeld to primarily attack the middle of the field with their passing game. Versus the Jets, a team that plays a similar defensive scheme the Redskins threw 16 passes out of 36 to the middle of the field. If you look at Cousins’ 2015 campaign he attempted 301 passes out of 516 from 0-9 yards, they were a short passing team. Even more telling is that 147 of those 301 passes were to the middle of the field. So 147 passes were to the middle of the field from 0-9 yards the most of any quadrant on the field.

 

So the Bills can expect Cousins and the other Redskins’  QBs to hit the top of their drop and get rid of it.

 

I would be surprised if they let their QB stand back there in an attempt to push the ball deep. There is too much at stake. Last season 18/25 pass attempts versus the Bills were outside the numbers. It was contrary to what their normal plan of attack was and it worked because the Bills weren’t at full strength in the secondary. I don’t see that working in this game. Buffalo will have Stephon Gilmore playing along with Ronald Darby. The Bills secondary is much better and I expect them to contain the Redskins passing game.

Overall, I believe the Bills defense will be able to contain the rushing game of the Washington Redskins and keep them in 3rd and long situations. The Redskins and Gruden like to attack the middle of the field, so the Bills linebackers will be tested. Communication will be key when the offense sends quick, small receivers through the second level. I expect the Redskins to test the corners a few times. The Bills easily have the upper hand in that matchup. All in all, an improved Bills secondary should be able to lock down the receiving threats of the Redskins. In my opinion, I believe that the Bills defense has the upper hand versus the Redskins offense.

 

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