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Need to Know: Five things the Redskins can learn from the conference title games

Jan 20, 2014, 6:51 AM EDT

Peyton-Manning-vs-Pats

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 20, 50 days before NFL free agency starts.

Nickel coverage

Here are five things the Redskins can learn from yesterday’s conference championship games:

1. A quarterback needs weapons, the more the better—Tom Brady just didn’t have anyone to throw to. Peyton Manning has several good options. The Redskins can’t say, hey, we have this one guy or these two guys, we’re good. An NFL team needs to keep on collecting playmakers.

2. Use the QB boot near the goal line—Rarely did the Redskins use the mobility of Robert Griffin III to create opportunities near the goal line. The quarterback that did yesterday was, oddly enough, Manning. In the second quarter he faked a handoff going left and rolled right, creating a nice hole in the defense for Jacob Tamme. He caught Manning’s pass for the TD.

3. On offense, you have to do both—Last week the narrative was that all of this passing stuff is overrated since all four winners in the divisional round ran the ball more than they passed it. Yesterday the Broncos called 43 passes and 28 runs. The Seahawks also called more passing plays (29) than rushing plays (26), opposite of their pattern for most of the season. Different games call for different strategies and if you’re going to navigate your way through the playoffs and to the Super Bowl you have to be able to emphasize whatever works.

4. Don’t be afraid of “retread” coaches—Many Redskins fans seemed to have an irrational fear of getting another head coach who had been fired or walked away at some point. Three of the four coaches in the final four teams fit that description and two once-fired coaches, John Fox (Carolina) and Pete Carroll (Jets, Patriots), will face off in New Jersey. We hope that the Redskins are set for a while at the head coaching spot with Jay Gruden but when another search is underway keep this in mind.

5. A mobile QB doesn’t have to run—Colin Kaepernick was the 49ers offense. He passed for 153 yards and ran for 130, accounting for 92 percent of San Francisco’s total yards. Russell Wilson netted zero yards rushing but he kept pass plays alive with his legs over and over. It might be better for the Redskins to use Griffin more like the Seahawks used Wilson than modeling him after Kaepernick.

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Timeline

—It’s been 22 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 230 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 30; Offseason workouts start 77; NFL Draft 108

In case you missed it

  1. aprilwalker2013 - Jan 20, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Very good points Rich!! Well said!! Really like comparison of QB play! We got one that can play like both, prefer Wilson style also!! HTTR

  2. kenlinkins - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    5B. What can happen when an O-Line and QB trust each other. Manning standing in the pocket, Brady sliding to his right, Wilson knowing his linemen will start moving left and right when he breaks cover, Kaepernick rolling out or moving into lanes. All having no fear of calling running plays when teams show a 6 or 7 man front, all forgetting a break down on the line knowing it will happen and knowing ways to turn that pressure into a positive by using screens, draws, dump offs and wheel routes.Knowing that if you have 7 minutes on the clock and you are down by 2 TD’s you are not out of the game. Being able to manage a field position game starts with trusting your line which is something we have not seen in DC for 4 years. The QB and O-Line play in both games on Sunday were fun to watch!

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