Offseason Playbook: Redskins

A look at Washington's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: March 9, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Robert GriffinAP Photo/Patrick SemanskyThe success of the Redskins in 2013 will hinge on the health of Robert Griffin III.

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- This is a very clearly defined offense under Mike Shanahan and he has done a terrific job of adjusting his scheme to the personnel that he has on hand, especially quarterback Robert Griffin III. This is a zone blocking running game up front that requires athletic offensive linemen and a one-cut-and-go approach by the backs. In the past Shanahan has been willing to use a running back-by-committee approach, but he found a workhorse back in 2012 sixth-round pick Alfred Morris. Morris can not only handle a heavy workload, but he is also a perfect fit in Washington's zone blocking scheme. The run game is very important because the Redskins' passing game really works off of it.

RG III loves the play-action/bootleg package, which leads to rollouts and waggles and a lot of simpler half-field reads. But he is certainly capable of staying in the pocket and he has really done a better job of recognizing and beating the blitz. It is a West Coast attack with a few more deep shots than you might think -- often off of play-action. This is an offense that seems to have an answer for anything a defense throws at it.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.