Talking Offense with Dirtbag #1
Jon Jansen is one of the most technically sound offensive linemen in the game today. He is excellent in pass protection, but is especially known as a powerful run blocker. Jansen sat down with theHogs.net to analyze his team's progress so far in the 2004 season.
The Redskins are off to a 2-4 start this season. While the defense has been spectacular, the offense is still coming together. With an offensive mastermind like Coach Gibbs and the talent the Redskins have on that side of the ball, it's only a matter of time before it starts clicking.
"It has been a slow process," Jansen said of the offense. "The coaches are continuing to be patient and teach every way possible. It is a complex offense with lots of formations, shifts and motions."
Coming into the season, the running game looked to be the strength of the team. The Redskins have a good offensive line and an all-pro running back. With Coach Gibbs and his staff, the team's rushing attack will continue to improve.
The passing game has taken longer to gel than expected. With the naked eye, the pass protection seems to be good and the receivers appear to be open, but the timing has not been there, especially on the deep passes. The passing game will get better with time, as well.
"It is going to take some time to get the timing and teamwork down. When it does happen though it will be a very consistent offense."
That is the hallmark of a Joe Gibbs team. Consistency is the key to success. When the teams of the first Joe Gibbs era were on the field, you knew what to expect. Good execution, good decision-making and a strong effort came through on every play.
Another trademark of Joe Gibbs is the dedication to protecting the quarterback. This is in stark contrast with the philosophy of the Steve Spurrier regime. While the offensive line took most of the heat for the brutal beating Patrick Ramsey received, the scope of blame lies not only with the offensive line, but the entire offensive unit.
"The QB is protected by more than just the o-line" Jansen said on the subject. "Defenses are very creative in rushing the passer and sometimes bring as many as 9 or 10 guys on one blitz. When this happens you have to rely on the running backs and TE's to block, and the receivers to get open. This offense is centered around protecting the QB."
Jansen was one of the most consistent players on the offensive line. With his injury, the team was forced to rely on Kenyatta Jones who was a former starter for the New England Patriots and 19-year veteran Ray Brown, the only player on the team to play for Coach Gibbs in his first tenure.
"They have done a fine job of doing what the coaches have asked them to do and together they will do a good job filling in for the year." Jansen said of his fellow Dirtbags.
Besides the offensive line, one of the keys to the offense is a good, smart H-back. The H-back a hybrid position created by fusing a tight end and fullback, and is responsible for lead blocking on running plays, picking up blitzes on passing plays, and occasionally making big catches in the middle of the field. The Redskins drafted Chris Cooley to be the H-back of the future, but his football intelligence, his dedication to his craft and his sure hands have elevated the rookie to the starting line-up faster than anyone expected. Cooley came in to the season well known for his ability to catch the ball, but it's his improved blocking that has made him the starter.
"When any player arrives in the NFL they have to take their game to another level. To do this you have to work at every facet of your position. He has been willing to do that and I think he has already developed into a good player, and will continue to get better and better," Jansen said of Cooley.
All of these things are part of the reason Coach Gibbs was so successful in his first stint in Washington. The one talent of Joe Gibbs which not only equated to success in football, but also in NASCAR, is his ability to surround himself with all the right people and his ability to get the most out of those people.
One of the most important people in his football career has been Joe Bugel. Coach Bugel will go down in history as one of the best offensive line coaches ever. Bugel took relatively unknown linemen and turned them into the Hogs, one of the most dominant lines in history. He is now working towards turning the Dirtbags into the next dominant line.
When asked about Coach Bugel, Jansen said: "I think he makes a world of difference. He is a tremendous teacher and motivator. Coach Gibbs makes every position important, but coach Bugel makes the O-line special."
In todays NFL, the coaches mean more than ever. The salary cap makes it difficult to keep a core group of players together which make consistency from year-to-year difficult. Coach Gibbs is still the only coach in NFL history to win three super bowls with three different quarterbacks and three different running backs. The one constant in those super bowl seasons can be summed up in two words -- the Hogs.
Jon Jansen and the rest of the Dirtbags will eventually be remembered in Redskins' lore along side of the Hogs. It's only a matter of time.
This article was released on 2004-10-24.
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