It’s great to go what works for you but if you do the same thing over and over again in the NFL, someone eventually will burn you for it.
That’s what happened to the Redskins and Jim Haslett on the first play from scrimmage against the Bengals. Cincinnati came out in the Wildcat formation with rookie wide receiver Mohammad Sanu lined up to take the snap. Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden knew exactly how the Redskins would react to this formation.
Gruden knew that at the snap, all 11 Redskins defenders would be within about seven yards of the line of scrimmage. How did he know this?
“I was just watching their wildcat reel,” Gruden told SiriusXM NFL radio earlier this week. “And every wildcat snap they had, they played Cover-0. And I’ve been waiting for it.”
Sanu, of course, launched a 78-yard touchdown pass to A. J. Green on the play and the Redskins played from behind most of the game.
Haslett and the Redskins should heed this from Chris Brown of Smart Football. “The best advice I’ve heard for self-scouting is to identify and counter what you ‘always’ and ‘never’ do . . . if you don’t notice your ‘always’ and ‘nevers,’ someone else will.”
Sometimes even if a defense isn’t the very best one to run against a particular formation, you should run it anyway from time to time. Because if don’t vary your looks, someone will figure that out and make you pay.