As we approach this 2017 football season, three words stick out in my head: “Leave no doubt.” This Washington Redskins team at times last season played with a “leave no doubt” mentality. On the other hand, too many times they left us as a fan base with plenty of doubt – from the coaching staff, players, all the way up to the front office. Bad decisions, lack of effort and plays called with no confidence…that was last season.
This year I’m expecting this Washington Redskins team to play with a confidence or a swagger that leaves no doubt, against their weekly scheduled opponents throughout the league. Last season, the Redskins were one of the best performing teams from the 25-yard line all the way into the red zone. However, it seemed like once the Redskins were in scoring range, both the coaches and players lost confidence. The Redskins were calling questionable plays and executing like they were afraid, passing when the situation dictated running, making east-west plays (sideline-to-sideline) instead of attacking and allowing the offensive linemen to plow the road for our running backs.
This NFC East style of play is, was and always will be predicated on wearing the opposing defense down – smash-mouth football. Just think, every NFC East team that’s won it all have had one thing in common: a strong and aggressive run game. I can’t understand why it changed, but we see week to week throughout the NFL season teams abandoning the run. In this author’s eyes, having a strong run game will afford the Redskins the opportunity to control the clock and most importantly, to wear down the opponent’s defense. That’s how the Redskins can put the game in their favor.
With all that being said, I want to see a “leave no doubt” mentality throughout all three phases of the game (offense, defense and special teams) from this Redskins team we all love so much. The Redskins should allow the O-line to have its way with their opponent’s defense. O-linemen love to run block instead of pass blocking, simply because it allows O-linemen to impose their will on the defense. On pass plays, it’s more about holding your ground, picking up blitzers and forming a clean or workable pocket for the quarterback. O-linemen bring out their aggression on run plays. The Redskins should allow their O-linemen to be nasty this season rather than playing in a reactive mode.
The “leave no doubt” mentality also applies to the Redskins defense. They need to let the other team’s offense know and understand that they will be bringing pressure the entire game. The Redskins defense needs to do harder hitting, get more take aways and allow the offense to work from a short field.
I’m a realist. I understand that the other team is also composed of professional football players and they’ll find success from time to time. Win, lose or draw, this Redskins team needs to send a clear message every game throughout this 16-game marathon. The Redskins defense needs to hit as hard as the rules allow and bring it all game long. In other words, “leave no doubt” throughout the league. When other teams play against this 2017 Washington Redskins team, it should be a battle, a fight for every inch on the field.
Special Teams needs to execute lane dedication and discipline on punts, kickoffs and even field goals. As a matter of fact, when was the last time this Redskins team blocked an extra point or field goal? Redskins special teams needs to show aggression and immediate recognition of what’s happening on the field at all times, no lapses in judgment or lack of attention to details.
The beauty in all this is that every new season is an opportunity for the Redskins to correct the wrongs of the past. LEAVE NO DOUBT! Teams should know and understand that whenever they line up against this Washington Redskins team, it will be a fight to the finish. The Redskins must show total focus. Coaches can’t allow any second during the game to find them unsure or unprepared. We all saw lots of mistakes throughout the team and organization as a whole. For the Redskins, this year should be about plugging the holes, doing what is needed to succeed with a “leave no doubt” mentality. Hail to the Redskins!
2017 Free Agency: New York Giants sign free agent journeyman DT, Corbin Bryant