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A Closer Look: Redskins Running Game

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 11, 2012 – 6:39 am

The Washington Redskins made one of the most aggressive moves of the 2012 NFL Draft, agreeing in mid-March to send three 1st-round picks and a 2nd-round pick to St. Louis in order to move up from the #6 spot to the #2 spot. The target was QB Robert Griffin III, and the Redskins eventually got their man.

Griffin III is off to a solid start for Washington. He’s completing 69.1% of his passes - tops in the NFL – and he ranks 6th in the NFL with a passer rating of 101.0. Through 5 games, it appears the Redskins made a wise choice in making Griffin III their QB of the future, and as a result their passing game should continue to improve.

For the moment, though, the Redskins offense begins and ends with their running game. Griffin III is a part of that running game, and so is another member of the Redskins 2012 draft class. The Redskins running game is the topic of today’s A Closer Look feature…

Producing Results
The Redskins enter Week 6 of the NFL season as one of the NFL’s top rushing teams. They rank 7th in attempts (159), 4th in yards (813) and yards per game (162.6), 3rd in yards per attempt (5.1), tied for 3rd in rushing TDs (8) and 2nd in explosive runs (runs of 10+ yards) with 29. Those numbers would be even better if not for a substandard performance last week against a very good Atlanta Falcons defense. The Redskins had season-lows in many rushing categories, and prior to that performance they notched 2 rushing TDs in each game and hadn’t ran fewer than 29 times in any contest.

Rookie Workhorse
The workhorse in the Redskins running game is another rookie, and a drastically less-celebrated rookie heading into the 2012 draft at that. Now, however, Redskins fans are celebrating Alfred Morris. Washington selected Morris with a 6th-round pick last April, and the Florida Atlantic product wasted no time taking charge of the team’s RB position. Morris rushed for 96 yards and 2 TDs on 28 carries in Week 1, and now Morris joins only Eric Dickerson as rookies who’ve rushed for 75+ yards in each of their first five games. Morris has 100+ rushing yards in each of the last two games, averages 4.9 yards per carry and has found the end zone 4 times.

Credit Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan for once against finding a diamond in the rough at RB late in the draft – he’s done that several times in his career, most notably while coaching the Denver Broncos.

And when looking at the Redskins rushing game, don’t forget about RG3. The Redskins rookie passer is a true dual threat. He averages 5.7 yards per rush on 42 attempts and has matched Morris’ total of 4 rushing TDs. Griffin III is a genuine threat as a ball-carrier. Of the Redskins 813 rushing yards, Morris accounts for 60% (491 yards) and Griffin III accounts for 29.6% (241 yards), and no other Redskins player has more than 7 rushing attempts.

Men Up Front
We can’t talk about the Redskins productive ground game without crediting their offensive line. The Redskins have started the same five offensive linemen all season, and the camaraderie generated from that consistency is paying dividends. Former 4th overall pick (2010) Trent Williams starts at LT and former Viking Kory Lichtensteiger starts at LG. Sixth-year veteran Will Montgomery anchors the line at center, Chris Chester starts at RG and Tyler Polumbus starts at RT. Most of the names aren’t household, but the group is gutty and they’re playing well right now.

Trends
No team runs to the right more than Washington – the Redskins have run the ball 67 times for 312 yards (4.7 yards per carry) behind Chester and Polumbus. But only three teams have run up the middle fewer times than Washington – they have 25 carries for 106 yards (4.2 per carry) running between the guards.

A Good Matchup
The Redskins running game against the Vikings rush defense is a great matchup. We’ve chronicled the Redskins productive running game above, but keep in mind that the Vikings have been tough against the run this season. The Vikings rank 2nd in yards per carry allowed (3.2) and 6th in rushing yards per game allowed (78.6), and they’ve yet to surrender a rushing TD to a RB (Matthew Stafford scored a rushing TD in Week 4).


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 37 Comments »


37 Responses to “A Closer Look: Redskins Running Game”

  1. By Muskyfever on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    HAHA first post

  2. By Muskyfever on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Clearly if we seel the edge on the right for most of the game we should ahve a great chance of getting this done and pulling out the W

  3. By JE on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Any way to get the ball in Havins hands is clearly vital to the sucess of our offense. I think passing the ball to our running backs is something we need to do more often as well. Clear out underneath and throw the ball to AP and Toby.

  4. By JE on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Great news about Simpson!! We need him on the field. His deep threat is what this team has been missing for way to long. Run the ball until they bring one safety up in the box,then throw it deep to Simpson!!!Repeat as needed.!!

  5. By vikingbob136 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    We shouldn’t have any problem shutting down their running game.
    Hope A.P. runs for over 200 when he returns to the scene of his busted up knee.

  6. By Muskyfever on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    To JE and Vikingsbob136 –

    I totally agree JE we need to start getting throwing the ball underneath to AP and Toby. That is something we are missing and I think would get the Dead skins to stack the box so Ponder can go deep… GOOD CALL on that.

    Vikingbob – They have a pretty stout rund D also, only allowing 80 yrds average on the ground per game. usually when a team like them or us have a good run game, they are usually pretty stout on the Dfensive side of the run. I think AP will break 100 yrds as he is a special player… But I think 200 is pushing it pretty far.

  7. By BlueBird7 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Mr. Alfred Morris, meet Jared Allen. (crunch) (Fumble)

  8. By saddy on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    We have to be careful about Morris RB, he runs to the right and runs to the left behind big offensive linemen, not so much up the middle and if you don’t put enough body in bringing him down, he might have a huge game against us.

    We have to just keep Rg3 in the pocket, best way is to treat both like a RB and send one spy Antoine to the right and one spy to the left may be Jamarca every play and have the CB’s and Harrison Smith and LB’s hold their own.

  9. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Gap discipline on D, will be huge for the Vikings in this game…

    Allen and Robison will need to contain the running game…And keep RG3 from scrambling early in this game…

    I don’t think the Vikings will be waiting for the Skins to bring there safeties up in the box when they are on offense…

    I believe the Skins will dare the Vikings to throw the ball early in this game…Stuffing the running game…And spying Harvin…By having at least an 8 man front early in this game…

    Here is the key for the Vikings success this Sunday…imo

    Simpson and Rudolf should play huge roles this weekend…AP should have a good game…If the Vikings do well through the air, against a poor pass defense of the Skins…

    I hope the Vikings can get off to a fast start…And quiet the hostile environment they will be playing in this week…

    Lets hope they get into a quick rhythm early with the pass to help set up the run with AP…

    Skins run D is good…There pass D is poor…

    Lets see how the Vikings attack the Skins ???…Will the Vikings trust Ponder early…To get in rhythm with the pa ssing game ???…

  10. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    If there was a game this season, for the Vikings to take a shot down the field DEEP for Simpson on the very first play of the game…

    THIS IS THAT GAME !!!…

    Shanahan will be totally expecting run on the first play of the game…And will sell out his defense early in that first series of play against the run…

    Loosen up that Skins defense on the first play of the game Musgrave….

    TAKE A SHOT !!!…First play of the game..

    You will catch the Skins flat footed…

  11. By DeerTracks on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    OTKalil

    I see you and some of the others have been doing your homework.

    Some of new ones (Hiding under names I have never seen before)
    are puting out some interesting comments..Just who are they?

    Only the Shadow Knows.

  12. By JE on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Ilike that call OTK. Go deep right out of the gate. As i said before,go deep,run deep patterns and if not there throw the ball to the running backs . Peterson has quietly become a pretty good reciever out of the backfield.Gerhart always has been. Throw the ball to the running backs please!!!

  13. By BlueBird7 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    passing

  14. By BlueBird7 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    OTKalil2012

    Just found out you can say”passing”.

  15. By Baba Kluwe on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    They got Alfred Morris with the pick we gave them for McNabb.

  16. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Cool…passing works now also…Along with Christian…

    Super !!!… ; )

  17. By BlueBird7 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    JE is correct. Pass the ball to Peterson and Gerhart, in addition to Harvin!

    The Redskins are noted for just stopping the normal run, besides they will be waiting for Peterson or Gerhart running up the middle.

  18. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    JE…Yep…Screens to AP and Gerhart need to come into play more…

    Harvin will be seeing tight coverage in this game…If the Vikings can’t get other players involved in the passing game….

    I look for Rudolf to see more looks early in this game also…

  19. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Carlson might finally see some “pa sses” thrown his way in this game…

    Is “pa sses” going to make it also ???…

    No…But we are getting there… ; )

  20. By JE on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    This will be a true test for our Dline. Gap control is key against a QB like RGIII. They love to roll him out of the pocket so this is going to be a test for our defensive ends. VIKINGS..31 REDSKINS..20

  21. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    I will go…

    Vikings 28 ~ Skins 17…

    Here is a prediction for Spencer…

    Cook gets his first interception in this game…

  22. By DRS. on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    The Vikings have the talent, now use it and they shall win. Coaches do not be hesitant to use all the plays in your play book. Trust your men to do the correct thing, and remember to lead when they mess up. You are the Coach, not their friend.

  23. By JE on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Just watched first take on espn and they all thought RGIII should sit out this week and Lomus Brown thought that he would not play. Will we see RGIII or will it be the other rookie Kirk Cousins?? Cousins is pretty good and can really make plays passing the ball. Thinking the Vikings should be prepared for either of these guys to get the start.

  24. By DRS. on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Go Vikings on to victory, here is a call to arms, and all have a great day.

  25. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    I said earlier this week…

    No way…Would I play RG3 this week..RG3 was hit hard last week…And had that “deer in the headlights” look on his face the rest of that game…

    Some fans like Shanahan…I do not…Shanahan in my opinion will ruin RG3 from becoming a GREAT QB…

    Shanahan’s game planning already has had RG3 taking WAY to many hits early in his career !!!…

    QB’s are not supposed to RUN with the football !!…

    Running QB’s spend more time sitting on the bench nursing injuries, than making plays for their teams on the field !!!

    Thank goodness Ponder is learning that…Or at least getting better in those situations…The Vikings are protecting their new franchise QB…And doing a great job in that respect !!!….

    Shanahan on the other hand, physically destroys all the players he has playing for him…

    And expect no less, when it comes to RG3…

    Best thing that could happen for the Skins and RG3 after this season…

    Is get a NEW head coach in Washington…

  26. By JE on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Yea Ponder seems to really be playing smart football in more ways than one. Hes doing a great job of sliding when hes forced to run the ball. Notice i said “when he is FORCED to run the ball”. Coaching staff doing a good job and Ponder understanding that you cant help the team if you cant play because your hurt.

  27. By Muskyfever on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    I completely agree with you OTK. I think Shannahan is hands down the most selfish coach in the NFL, as long as he is winning he could care less who he hurts or when. Whether it is on his team or the other.. He just flat dosen’t care. thats how he was in Denver too.

    Personally I would not play my new rookie QB either, but I bet you that he will play because Shannahan is to upsessed with winning and will never let it die. Terrible coach, I wish Goodell would see these things and kick him out of the league. I think he is just awful… Just my opinion, but I will hold to it under any conversation

  28. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Sure…I may complain about the offense being a little to conservative at times…And blame the coaching staff for that…

    The Vikings do take care of their players right !!!…

    And the coaching staff and fans should take a great deal of pride in that…And this young team and coaching staff are growing together !!!…

    With Spielman doing a great job at GM, and our scouting dept…

    And how about the Vikings owners…In Zygi and Mark Wilf !!!…And a new stadium coming in a few years…

    THANK YOU !!!…Vikings organization !!!…

    This Vikings organization that is really understanding the TEAM concept…Across the board…

    All working together as one !!!

  29. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    It is also GREAT…

    There has been NO negative press on any players of late…

    Keep up the FANTASTIC job there Vikings players !!…

    YES !!!!…It matters…

    STAY OUT OF TROUBLE !!!…

  30. By OTKalil2012 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Nice job Les Frazier !!…

    Keeping this team focused…

    ___________

    Enough with sunshine reports…Because the weather is turning in Redskin territory…

    And out from the grey mist, comes the Viking hoard…Carrying swords of steel and blood stained shields !!!…

    GO VIKINGS !!!

  31. By vikingbob136 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Herm Edwards says” Don’t sleep on those Vikings, they are contenders NOT
    pretenders!’
    Message to Frazier- Play to win the game!!!

  32. By RichardA1 on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    Good! we will have the whole left side to do the J.Allen Lasso Dance for all players after they Sack C-3PO, R2D2 what ever his name is, oh yeah RG3

  33. By vikes or die on Oct 11, 2012 | Reply

    The skins are very good team, but we are riding high and are beginning to impose our will offensively and defensively. If we keep playing with that ” we are going to kick your ass attitude,” we can beat any team in the league. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the over all talent on this team. And the scary part is, is that the team is still evolving. Great job to the coaches and players!! Go Vikes!

  34. By Troutdaddy on Oct 12, 2012 | Reply

    I think that it is going to be a great passing day for the Vikes this Sunday. Ponder is going to get an opportunity to make some big plays I think. I do not think it is going to be an easy running day at all. I think that the Skins are going to cram the middle a lot and so Peterson, Harvin and Gearhart are going to have to use their edges more and get to the outside if our O-line can make some room. I would love to see Allen get 2-3 sacks this game and throw away being “So close” each week to that quest. You can tell he is frustrated that he hasn’t produced more. sacks but the fact is that he is one of the reasons that our D has been amazing as he is pressuring the QB into others areas and then others get the sack. Any time you are coming off of a record-breaking year then you know you have a lot riding on you to produce. I think that we should just people just jusy quit counting as he is going to continue to play well and bring others around him up as well. So as much as I want to see him get more sacks, I would just rather him play with the intensity and focus on solid play and more tackles.

  35. By liito on Oct 12, 2012 | Reply

    Minus Harvin, on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0= no respect to 10= feared, how would opposing teams rate the Vikings wide receiving corp?

  36. By animal26 on Oct 14, 2012 | Reply

    OTKalil2012: I love it. Poetry in motion. That was just awesome. GO Vikings. SKOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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