Learn From Eagles
September 21 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Fact of the matter is that the Redskins boast one of the most unconventional offenses in the league. Though they beat the 49ers in pre-season, there is little doubt that the exhibition bout will have no impact on the rematch. The Eagles defeated the Redskins with ease last week, and in so doing established a blue print on how to the beat the ‘Skins.
The most surprising part of Steve Spurrier’s high octane offense, is that it can be stopped with the same fundamentals used to stop all other offenses in the NFL - and actually is more susceptible to them than the West Coast style offense the 49ers play, because of the propensity of the long pass.
The biggest part of Spurrier’s offense is that it goes with the flow. Pass when you should run, and run when you should pass - this ultimately is the same idea as the West Coast Offense that Bill Walsh designed. The only way to account for this is for the defense to hold its point of attack and not over commit. Once a defense over commits against either of these offenses, two many wholes open up for a cutback style of play.
Aggressive pursuit of the quarterback is an extremely important step in defeating the Redskin’s, or any team’s offense. The problem with the ‘Skins offense is because the team likes to go deep, the extra second in the pocket is often enough time to disrupt the quarterback throw. Hence the defense needs to bring constant pressure all game.
Wining the field position battle is more important than you may think. When backed inside their redzone Spurrier’s offense will typically throw, which is against the common idea of running the ball to create some room. Forcing a throw so close to your endzone can often result in a game breaking turnover.
Finally the offense has to be able to generate first downs and keep the ball away from the Redskins. This is simple football. If the offense doesn’t have the ball, it’s much harder to score. Move down the field in 10 yard chunks and your team will be in good shape.
Spurrier’s offense can be beaten. It’s nothing that hasn’t been tried before. Its success at the college level was due mainly to exploiting the oppositions lack of talent at a certain area. Teams in the NFL are much more well rounded in terms of talent, hence they are harder to beat with the offense that the ‘Skins run.