NFL Nation: Terrence Williams

Lack of pressure hurts Redskins again

December, 23, 2013
The Washington Redskins failed to apply enough pressure on Tony Romo throughout the game Sunday, but especially on the final drive. In the past they have taken more chances against him by blitzing in late-game situations. It failed in a loss at Dallas two years ago. It worked in forcing an interception in last season's regular-season finale.

But there were no blitzes on the final drive. And the Redskins’ four-man rush failed, once again, to produce. Romo was never even hit on the final series. Is that Jim Haslett’s fault? Don’t know; I do know that in the past coach Mike Shanahan will make defensive calls -- or at least say what he wants run.

Anyway, here’s a look at Dallas’ winning drive and how much time Romo had to throw.
  • [+] EnlargeTony Romo
    Greg Fiume/Getty ImagesTony Romo's ability to extend plays hurt the Redskins on Dallas' game-winning touchdown drive.
    First-and-10, Dallas 13-yard line. The Redskins rush four, with linebacker Darryl Tapp, aligned on the left outside Ryan Kerrigan, stunting to the middle. Romo unloaded a pass to receiver Terrance Williams in 2.4 seconds. Romo was not close to being hit.
  • Second-and-10, Dallas 13: Tapp lined up on the right side, this time with Kerrigan still on the left. Both looped inside through the interior. Both actually had decent push, too, but the ends -- Barry Cofield and Chris Baker -- failed to generate any push, so the pocket remained clean enough. After 3.8 seconds, Romo connected with Williams, facing man coverage from corner David Amerson, for 15 yards.
  • First-and-10, Dallas 28: Tapp again was on the right side. He tried a spin move against left tackle Tyron Smith, but it did nothing. There was little pressure. But after 3.3 seconds, Romo threw incomplete to Dez Bryant as cornerback DeAngelo Hall tipped the ball away.
  • Second-and-10, Dallas 28: This was the killer, but it shows why extending a play is so vital. The Redskins showed seven at the line, as they had done a couple times throughout the game. They had run various plays off this look, which resulted in pressures or at least some confusion by the Dallas front. Not this time. Tapp aligned over the right guard and about a half yard deeper than the others along the front and just inside Kerrigan. Safety Brandon Meriweather was outside Kerrigan. But they only rushed four, with Kerrigan and Tapp running a little stunt. Kerrigan moved to the inside, but Tapp did not get too wide nor did he generate any push. With no contain rush on the outside, Romo could escape to his right and, after 5.1 seconds, unleash a 51-yard pass to Williams. It did not help that cornerback Josh Wilson slipped and fell on the play.
  • First-and-10, Redskins’ 21: Tough one to defend with any amount of rushers as Romo threw a smoke route to Bryant on the right side (in 0.9 seconds). Hall missed the tackle and Bryant gained 17 yards.
  • Fourth-and-goal, Redskins’ 10: This was a basic four-man rush, with all four running straight up field. There was no real pressure, but Romo did not have any open targets, either. Baker started to drive the right guard back for the start of a solid rush. But Baker lost his footing and a gap was created for Romo to run through. Kerrigan was lined up wide left and was chipped by the running back. He then rushed contain. Meanwhile, after Baker fell, Romo ran through the opening and hit DeMarco Murray for the winning touchdown. Romo extended the play for 5.0 seconds.

Examining Patriots' WR options

March, 21, 2013
If the season started today, the New England Patriots' starting receivers would be Donald Jones and Danny Amendola. It’s fair to say that is not good enough for the Patriots to try to make another Super Bowl run next season.

New England has to upgrade its thin group of receivers. It can come via the draft or with what’s left in free agency.

Let’s take a look at who is available:

Emmanuel Sanders

2012 stats: 44 receptions, 626 yards, one TD

Thoughts: The Patriots hosted a visit with Sanders and are considering an offer sheet for the restricted free agent of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sanders would be a nice find for New England. The Steelers have a tight salary cap and would be hard-pressed to match a good offer. If Pittsburgh cannot match, it would cost New England a third-round pick. The Patriots are keeping this option in mind.

Julian Edelman

2012 stats: 21 receptions, 235 yards, three TDs

Thoughts: Edelman was showing solid growth in New England last season. He’s a terror on special teams and was making strides as a slot receiver. But both roles have been filled by New England in free agency. The Patriots signed return specialist Leon Washington to take over the kick return duties, and Amendola to fill the slot. There might not be a role left for Edelman in New England except to add depth.

Brandon Lloyd

2012 stats: 74 receptions, 911, four TDs

Thoughts: Yes, the Patriots just released Lloyd. But the reasons were financial, not schematic. New England wanted Lloyd on the roster, but simply did not want to pay him a $3 million roster bonus. The sides could not reach a resolution in time and parted ways. Lloyd’s priority is to see if he can get a sizable contract elsewhere. But if nothing attractive comes to fruition, it’s not impossible for Lloyd and the Patriots to talk about a reunion at a team-friendly rate.

NFL draft

Thoughts: It's not a top-heavy draft for receivers this year. But there is depth available for New England, which has the No. 29 overall pick. Receivers such as Cal’s Keenan Allen and Baylor's Terrance Williams are possibilities. The issue with the draft is New England is in “win-now” mode. The Patriots don’t have a year or two to wait for a rookie to get up to speed. They need to draft one of the most NFL-ready prospects at receiver.