Saturday, November 1st, 2014 Detroit Lions’ Inside the Numbers: Eight Man Blitz Means Precision Key for Matthew Stafford | National Sports Journal

Detroit Lions’ Inside the Numbers: Eight Man Blitz Means Precision Key for Matthew Stafford

Filed under: Football |

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In researching the defensive exploits of the Washington Redskins this week, the most interesting revelation was brought forth by a scouting report from those representing the Detroit Lions’ chief NFC North rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

On PocketDoppler.com’s segment “From the Far Hash,” the intimidating, somewhat excessive blitz packages of the Redskins were examined prior to the Packers’ game last weekend. Inside that piece, several diagrams display how Washington, led by their defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, love to blitz from all angles and all positions, no matter what quarterback they face.

Most stunningly, in numerical terms, the Redskins even like to bring eight men at once. Eight? Surely, in a pass-happy league like the NFL, that extreme cannot prove a successful move. However, in the past few years, we’ve seen some explosive plays out of Washington’s defense. Thursday, it was detailed how Ryan Kerrigan, a roving linebacker turned psychotic-blitzing play maker, is a player the Lions’ offensive line must account for every second on Sunday.

How might Detroit attack the Redskins defense knowing they like to bring pressure with seven and eight men? As Pocket Doppler said, quick passing is the major key to success. It worked, as Aaron Rodgers torched Washington for 480 yards passing with that approach. Though Chip Kelly’s frenetic offense didn’t do the same statistically the week before, the Eagles used speed to make life miserable for the Redskins’ defense.

Though the Lions aren’t usually a team mentioned in the same breath as speed, Matthew Stafford has a chance this week to add to Washington’s pain with some precision passing. With pressure coming up front, plenty of man to man opportunities should be present for Calvin Johnson deep down the field or in the slot. Without linebacker attention at times over the middle, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell could feast on screen passes as well, meaning Detroit should have plenty of chances to move the ball and come up with big plays. 33 and 71 points

All of that depends on the protection of the line and Stafford’s ability to make good decisions fast under duress. Considering how many players the Redskins will commit to pressuring him, the numerical commitment of Washington’s blitz and Detroit’s response will dictate the outcome of Sunday’s game.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on this site’s Twitter @detroitlions101

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