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How To Succeed in the Red Zone (Without Really Trying)

Posted by Jeremy Fuchs on September 16th, 2009 in Opinions Carolina+Panthers+v+New+York+Giants+JUkThlB-KKAl-300x200.jpg

 

There’s been lots of talk in Giants-land the past couple days aboutBig Blue’s inability to score in the red zone. It brings up thequestion: What’s the best way to succeed in the Red Zone? What’s thebest way to do it? We’ll explore:

 

When you’re in the red zone, the defense can pinch in. There’s not alot of room to work with, so the linebackers can, in effect, work asextra defensive lineman. If they read run, they can attack. If theyread pass, they can drop into coverage. So the key is to move thelinebackers. To spread them out. That’s where play action comes in. Ifthe linebackers bite on the play action, the tight end can usuallysneak through, either through the middle, or on a post route to thecorner. Better yet, if the safety bites, there could be more room.

 

If you can’t move the linebackers, you can focus on one-on-onematchups on the outside with the receivers and corners. You saw thiswork to perfection in the Super Bowl, when Eli threw to the winningtouchdown to Plax. Plax made a quick move inside, the corner bit, andPlax made history.

 

A third strategy is to run. That’s what the Giants were doingagainst the Redskins. Running up the gut won’t work against a team withstout defensive tackles, like Washington, or Minnesota. Running to theoutside could work, but again, the linebackers or safeties have to bemoved around. Running the ball in the red zone (unless on the goalline), is not my preferred strategy. Think about it: The defense hasless room to work with. So what are they going to do? Stack the line.Now, if you run on first and second downs, the defense will creep up,leaving room in the passing game.

 

The fourth, and final strategy, is to execute the jump ball. This isbest used closer to the end zone, about 10 yards and in. Most cornersare not taller than 6-2. If you get a 6-6 receiver, all you have to dois throw it high, and odds are, he’ll catch it.

 

So, how does this apply to the Giants? Easy. The best option for theGiants to employ is the play action, and the jump ball. Kevin Boss isan above average tight end. He’s pretty sure handed, too. If Giants dothe play fake to Jacobs, have Eli roll out, odds are Boss will be openin the corner, or streaking across the middle (note to video gamers:This play works REALLY well in Madden. Just saying.)

 

For the jump ball, the Giants have the best weapon: Ramses Barden.He’s 6-6: no corner (or safety) can out jump him. They just can’t. He’dbe perfect split out wide, and going into the corner. He might not makethe corner miss, but he’ll out jump him.

 

So those are four red zone strategies. Granted, it’s been one game.The Giants have time to improve, and they’re not facing AlbertHaynesworth this week. But, I believe these are strategies to employ togive the Giants points in the red zone.

 

 

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I don't know who Jeremy Fuchs is but apparently he doesn't watch too much Giants football. Eli has never been

 

able to execute the jump ball. He lacks the touch and fails miserably.

 

All it takes to be successful in the red zone is a little deception. Once you have the D moving the wrong way,

 

there's no time for them to recover. The time to do that is on first down though. This way, even if unsuccessful,

 

they're on their heels on 2nd and 3rd. Then you can shove it down their throats.

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I don't know who Jeremy Fuchs is but apparently he doesn't watch too much Giants football. Eli has never been

 

able to execute the jump ball. He lacks the touch and fails miserably.

 

All it takes to be successful in the red zone is a little deception. Once you have the D moving the wrong way,

 

there's no time for them to recover. The time to do that is on first down though. This way, even if unsuccessful,

 

they're on their heels on 2nd and 3rd. Then you can shove it down their throats.

 

I'd love to see some 3rd down playaction in the Red Zone, too...

 

And you're right, for how awesome people seem to think Burress and Shockey were to have in the Red Zone, Eli really could never execute the jump ball, fade route. I would venture a guess and say that Shockey caught most of his TD passes in the Red Zone on play action, even.

 

In general, that fade route is less than 50% success rate...there's too much working against you...the pass has to be perfect to the back shoulder, the receiver has to judge the sidelines correctly to keep his feet in bounds, and he must also "seal" if you will the defender so he can't make a play on the ball.

 

And I don't know Haynesworth's stat line, but he seemed to be a non-factor, at least IMO. We still rushed for over a hundred yards as a team and did what we wanted to do on offense.

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We barely made it over a 100 yards rushing as a team (103) and had a 3.3 ypc average, which isn't good. Brandon Jacobs had only 46 yards on 16 carries, a 2.9 average. Last year, Jacobs ran 42 times for 187 yards in two games against the Redskins, a 4.45 ypc average. Haynesworth made a big difference.

 

A guy like Haynesworth doesn't need a lot of tackles to be a big factor. He WAS a huge factor in slowing our running game because he occupies 2 offensive lineman just about every play, because no one lineman can block him even half of the time. When you have two guys dedicated to blocking you, that's one less blocker to engage a linebacker or defensive end and they end up getting the tackles. Haynesworth's dominance is the primary reason London Fletcher ended up with 18 tackles. London Fletcher has had only 2 other games in his 12 year career with that many tackles, and the last one was about 3 and a half years ago. It's not a coincidence. Haynesworth is a great player and his impact was quite apparent.

 

London Fletcher needs to take Haynesworth out for a steak dinner.

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We barely made it over a 100 yards rushing as a team (103) and had a 3.3 ypc average, which isn't good. Brandon Jacobs had only 46 yards on 16 carries, a 2.9 average. Last year, Jacobs ran 42 times for 187 yards in two games against the Redskins, a 4.45 ypc average. Haynesworth made a big difference.

 

A guy like Haynesworth doesn't need a lot of tackles to be a big factor. He WAS a huge factor in slowing our running game because he occupies 2 offensive lineman just about every play, because no one lineman can block him even half of the time. When you have two guys dedicated to blocking you, that's one less blocker to engage a linebacker or defensive end and they end up getting the tackles. Haynesworth's dominance is the primary reason London Fletcher ended up with 18 tackles. London Fletcher has had only 2 other games in his 12 year career with that many tackles, and the last one was about 3 and a half years ago. It's not a coincidence. Haynesworth is a great player and his impact was quite apparent.

 

London Fletcher needs to take Haynesworth out for a steak dinner.

How old is london fletcher? seems he's been around forever- wasn't he on the LA rams?

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And I don't know Haynesworth's stat line, but he seemed to be a non-factor, at least IMO. We still rushed for over a hundred yards as a team and did what we wanted to do on offense.

 

...All I know is I saw Haynesworth blowing up Seubert and O'Hara, time and time again. He was a HUGE factor...but the rest of their D is still nothing to write home about.

 

Lots of hype around Orakpo, where was he the whole game? Doing a Vernon Gholston impression?

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...All I know is I saw Haynesworth blowing up Seubert and O'Hara, time and time again. He was a HUGE factor...but the rest of their D is still nothing to write home about.

 

Lots of hype around Orakpo, where was he the whole game? Doing a Vernon Gholston impression?

 

Actually for some reason the coaches only played him about 20% of the game. I go to a Redskins message board from time to time and all of them were absolutely furious with the amount of time the coaches let Orakpo play.

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I think alot of it depends on how the respective lines are performing.

 

In the Washington game, the Giants had a better chance of moving a fire hydrant than moving Albert Haynesworth. In that case, play action, rolling out, etc., becomes more important.

 

But I recall last year, against the Ravens, the Giants didn't have to fake anyone out....the Giants line and Jacobs basically steamrolled over them....I think he had 70+ yards and 2 TDs in the 1st quarter alone.

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I alway wonder, always wondered why the Giants never use play action on first and Goals situations. God, Keep the defense guessing... Even if it's not successful... At least the defense won't think attack the line....

Correct...Imo. We don't have the power up front to move them out of the way.

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