Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Jun 2005

Redskins' Offense Is Put Under the Gun

It looks like Joe Gibbs is finally going to try the shotgun in 2005. What's amazing are the reasons he gave for not using it before now. What's more amazing is that last year's offense was from 1992. (free registration/bugmenot required)

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 20 Jun 2005

35 comments, Last at 28 Jun 2005, 2:23pm by B


by Justus (not verified) :: Mon, 06/20/2005 - 11:54pm

Those are the best excuses they can come up with not to use the shotgun? If that's it I'd expect to see it on every drive. But I don't for some reason.

by JasonK (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 12:46am

The main disadvantage not listed is that you can't do any running plays other than draws from the shotgun. (Maybe end-arounds?) The RB can't get any forward momentum going before he gets the ball.

It's pretty much a passing-downs-only formation, and some coaches don't think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages enough to offset the time and effort needed to scheme & coach it.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 2:09am

"Making it more difficult to hear the quarterback, who is farther from the line of scrimmage. This can cause problems in road games."

I don't buy this, especially when Peyton Manning backs up three or four yards sometimes so he can shout to his receivers and tackles.

One of the drawbacks I've heard of the shotgun that is rarely brought up is that because the QB can see more of the blitz he is often panicked a great deal more easily and is more willing to break the pocket. If Ramsey isn't good at reading defenses, which the article says at a point, is it really better to have him farther back where he might be more easily distracted from his downfield receivers? I'm curious what people think on this point.

by charles (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 3:01am

Redskins articles on FO, i love it. Hopefully gibbs has been looking on this site and noticed that the receiving DPAR and DVOA for his running backs and tight ends is terrible. Lead by star running back clinton portis and his -1.6 DPAR and -16 DVOA receiving. Only Cooley with a 9.7 DPAR and a 19.4 DVOA made any hay. More passes to Cooley and hopefully an improved pass catching portis will help guys like moss and patten get open more which will lead to more points and hopefully more wins.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 7:52am

Another disadvantage to the shotgun is that the QB has to take his eyes off the defense while the ball is being snapped. So, even if a three step drop from behind center isn't quicker, you get more time to look at the defense.

The shotgun is very useful in obvious passing downs, but it's not really hard to see why you wouldn't want to use it that often. Mix it in the game, and use it heavily on third and medium/long. Not using it at all, though, is kind of ridiculous.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 8:03am

I think the most important revelation from this article is that the Redskins have Steven Segal's character from Under Seige as their center.

by elhondo (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 9:22am

Not hearing the quarterback has plagued the skin's offensive line the last few years, though not as greatly under Gibbs. I can remember quite a few offsides penalties under Spurrier attributed to not being able to hear Ramsey.

by Jerry Garcia (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 11:14am

Chad Pennington will also be transitioning to the shotgun this year, due to their new OC. He was in the shotgun at Marshall when he threw to Randy Moss.... you think it will help Chad out at all?

by Loose On the Lead (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 11:55am

Sorry for the off-topic post, but I have a recurring problem with this part of the site. Where exactly is the link to the article? I can't find it.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 11:58am

Click the title: Redskins’ Offense Is Put Under the Gun.

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 11:58am

There's more, Trogdor. The Saints have the Steven Seagal character in the upcoming Onion movie as their special teams captain.

by Pat on the Back (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 12:16pm

In addition to draws, you can still run sweeps and pitches reasonably well out of the shotgun. You just lose the threat of running up the middle. That is part of the reason why the Steelers seldom put Roethlisberger in the shotgun, even though he ran it exclusively at Miami.

by Loose On the Lead (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 12:51pm

Click the title: Redskins’ Offense Is Put Under the Gun.

It's not clickable for me--not using Firefox, Safari, or IE. Yeah, I'm on a Mac, but I don't see why that should matter. Plus, it's not clickable from work, either, and that's on a Windows machine.

by Justus (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 1:17pm

When I follow links from the RSS feed I subscribe to they just point back to FO; I have to come to FO and then click the links to read off-site articles. Maybe that's the problem you're having?

by TMK (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 1:19pm

Or your blocker is reading the link as a pop-up, and therefore is blocking it. There should be either a a yellow triangle with an exclamation point or perhaps a red circle with a white bar in it at the bottom of your screen if that occurs.

by Loose On the Lead (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 2:00pm

First off, let me say I appreciate the help you guys are giving me, irrespective of whether it ultimately pays off.

When I follow links from the RSS feed I subscribe to they just point back to FO; I have to come to FO and then click the links to read off-site articles. Maybe that’s the problem you’re having??

Nope, that's not it. The link that isn't clickable is the one at the title of the page you're reading now.

Or your blocker is reading the link as a pop-up, and therefore is blocking it.

I'm pretty sure that's not it, either. For one thing, IE doesn't have a popup blocker. For another, I'm quite accustomed to the blockers in the other browsers, and even when the browsers identify something as a popup, it still appears clickable. It's just that when you click it, nothing appears to happen. By contrast, the title on this appears totally inert--for example, the mouse pointer doesn't change when it hovers over the title. Note that this is not the case for any other link on this same page. All the other links work. There is something different about the title.

I bet the title is coded differently somehow.

by Countertorque (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 2:01pm

Who are the other 2 teams that didn't use the shotgun last year?

Jerry, are you saying that the Jets were one of them?

Just curious.

by Loose On the Lead (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 2:14pm

Looks like I'd have won my bet. I just checked the Page Source (View->Page Source for me) and the title link is indeed coded differently. It doesn't start with "a href...." It begins with "h1". Now, I don't know HTML, so I can't say whether "h1" is nonstandard, but it sure doesn't work for me in four different browsers under two different OS's, and I doubt I'm the only person in the world having trouble with it.

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 2:20pm

The h1 tag just means it's a headline. That doesn't have anything to do with the a href tag. Click on my initials and see if that works. Are you sure your computer doesn't block the Washington Post for some reason?

by Led (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 2:29pm

Countertorque: That is correct, the Jets under Hackett did not use the shotgun at all. It was almost a religious principle with him. The two reasons given were (1) the passing game was structured carefully around the quarterback's drop and so the shotgun allegedly interfered with timing and (2) the fact that the QB has to take his eyes off the defense to catch the snap (as Whatever0 said). It really limited their options on 3rd and long.

by Loose On the Lead (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 2:47pm

MDS--Your initials are perfectly clickable. They bring me straight to the article. And I definitely don't have trouble reading the Post. I read it daily.

When I look at Page Source, I can do a Find to see if washingtonpost.com is anywhere in the code. Excluding the link you just added, it isn't.

by benjy (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 5:16pm

LotL: wow, um....weird. That's the first I've heard of this. Is anyone else experiencing the problem?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 5:38pm

"There’s more, Trogdor. The Saints have the Steven Seagal character in the upcoming Onion movie as their special teams captain."

Wow. Just, wow. How did I not know about this guy before now? That seems like the kind of incident I'd put in the Najeh Davenport pantheon. How did we not have a thread dedicated to this? How did I miss it? I know it's the Saints and therefore nobody cares, but still...

Also, there's an Onion movie? I'm really not sure how to feel about this. I love the Onion and all, but I can't help but worry that it would either be a letdown, not come across as well on film as in print, or become dated quickly, maybe before it opens. I'd feel the same about a Simpsons movie if one were ever made too. Of course, I thought the same about South Park, and that turned out to be one of my absolute favorites of all time, so as usual I have no idea what I'm talking about.

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 6:30pm

I had the same thoughts when I learned there would be an Onion movie, but when I found out it would include a character named Cock Puncher played by Steven Seagal, I figured it couldn't be all bad.

And yes, I feel a little bad that I never created a thread just for that Saints incident. I don't know that I'd put it up there with the Najeh Davenport incident (or with Peter King describing Davenport by using the same words as the girl used when she looked in her hamper: "what a load"), but it's still a good one.

by B.W. (not verified) :: Tue, 06/21/2005 - 11:32pm

LotL -- I've experienced the same problem as you (i.e., no link to access the article referred to by the FO post) and have determined that the missing-link problem happens when the page template used is for the site gateway ("index.php") or Outsider Ramblings ("ramblings.php"). However, the link to the article appears when the page template is for Extra Points ("articles.php"). To see what I mean, try these links:

Link to this entry using gateway template (index.php): this is the page that loads when referred from the RSS feed. Clicking the title of the post under the "Recent Ramblings" section does not go to washingtonpost.com, but to...

Permalink to this entry using Outsider Ramblings template (ramblings.php): the title contains no link to the washingtonpost.com article referred to by the post.

Permalink using Extra Points template (articles.php) : this should work; i.e., the post title should link to the referenced article. I reached this page by clicking on the link under the "Extra Points" section of the gateway page.

In short, I think the problem is with the design of the site's page templates, not with your browser or ad-blocking software.

by Vern (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 12:25pm

Re: 25, etc.

I've seen this too. BW nailed why it happens.

I will add that it's very easy to hit using Firefox's "dynamic bookmarks" feature for RSS because of the way the page opens. Happens with all three FO RSS feeds (Atom 0.3, RSS 2.0, RSS .92)

What you have to do is after you open the page from RSS link, then go up to the top right "Extra Points" box and re-click the same article to get it rendered into the proper page.

Also, you can visually tell whether you're on the "right" page by whether there is a right hand side column for advertisements. If it's not there and the article takes up the whole page, then it's being rendered in the Ramblings template and the title won't link.

(BTW this mis-directed entry link thing is actually a very common issue with RSS on many sites.)

by benjy (not verified) :: Wed, 06/22/2005 - 2:29pm

aha...OK, looks like we nailed it. I need to fix the RSS feed. All Extra Points articles (i.e. links to articles from around the Web) should only be viewed in the articles.php template. You know you're on the right page when the green banner above the title reads "EXTRA POINTS." If you find yourself on the wrong page with the right content (either index.php or ramblings.php), then just click the Extra Points navigation item in the top bar and find the article again.

Thanks, all, for your diligence. Me fix.

by David Keller (not verified) :: Thu, 06/23/2005 - 7:09pm

The shotgun is used in football, not in baseball.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 06/23/2005 - 7:17pm

"The shotgun is used in football, not in baseball."

This ain't the best independent football site on the web for nothing, folks. You can't get this level of analysis just anywhere.

by David Keller (not verified) :: Fri, 06/24/2005 - 5:57pm

I'm just saying I understand the difference between and baseball, and the use of the shotgun in football and the absence of it in baseball is one way to tell the difference between the two sports.

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 06/24/2005 - 6:02pm

Had he the oppurtunity, I'm sure Ty Cobb would have loved to use a shotgun in baseball.

by MDS (not verified) :: Fri, 06/24/2005 - 6:14pm

David, what inspired you to make that post? Did you really think there were people on this thread who couldn't tell the difference between football and baseball and needed help? And if so, did you really think the best way to explain the difference was that football has a formation called the "shotgun" and baseball doesn't?

by jimmo (not verified) :: Sat, 06/25/2005 - 2:34am

baseball uses a small round white ball, while a football is oval, and pointy....

by David Keller (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 1:58pm

Both baseball and football are considered sports today. You could include hockey and basketball too. But, of the four sports I've mentioned, only football uses the shotgun formation. Oddly enough, football is the only sport of the four in which tackling is permitted.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 06/28/2005 - 2:23pm

How do you tell baseball and hockey apart? Neither of them use the shotgun formation, and they don't permit tacklilng. Not only that, but both feature players holding sticks.