Expert's take: The leftovers (Part 2)

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
11:30
AM ET
After a week-long series, in which Louis Riddick provided analysis of various Redskins situations -- from the retention of Jim Haslett to whether or not the Redskins should re-sign Brian Orakpo -- there's still more in leftover form. This time Riddick, a former NFL player, scout and executive who is now part of ESPN's NFL Insiders, opines on a variety of topics. Earlier Monday, I did the same with former NFL scout, and current ESPN NFL scout, Matt Williamson. You can read his leftover takes here.

Here's Riddick on:

Jay Gruden:“It’ll be interesting to see how he is able to distill confidence in that team. What stood out to me in his press conference was how he wanted guys to be confident and wanted guys to believe they could be winners, that they deserved to be winners and he wanted them to believe he would make them into winners. The mindset he takes as far as the approach he takes toward changing that mindset is very important. It seems like he understands that and is aware of that. I like that. How much do the people at the management level allow him to run the team the way he sees fit and not undermine him knowingly or unknowingly and being conscious of that and allow him to establish his hold on the team and locker room will determine [that success].

“I don’t know much about his individual leadership style and how he interacts with players, but allowing him to do it his way will be important, very important. One thing I do know based on what he says is that he understands the place needs to feel good about themselves. There weren’t many reasons to feel good about themselves in the recent past. The psychology of the game is huge for me. Not enough attention is paid to it, not enough time and resources are committed to it. The teams doing it, you’re seeing results mainly with a Super Bowl championship. I believe in it wholeheartedly and other teams led by coaches from the same mold as Pete Carroll are trying to do the same thing. …I like that from what I’ve heard [from Gruden].”

Gruden’s offense: “His offense is fine. The one thing I’m interested to see is what profile he wants along the line. Cincinnati’s line is a big gap power blocking line. They don’t have anyone there that fits that profile other than Trent Williams. Will Gruden become a guy who’s more finesse zone blocking? They can’t trade out all four guys. Or will he say we need to massively overhaul this so I can get the run game I want here? The passing game, obviously they like to push the ball down the field and like to take shots off play action. Do they have a guy other than Pierre to get downfield?”

Copying Seattle’s defensive philosophy: “The whole concept of timing disruption at the line, ball skills down the field and rush the passer with ferocity have been mainstays of the NFL for years. It’s never gone away. It’s just not as sexy to talk about as it is throwing for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns and lighting up the scoreboard as we’ve seen Peyton Manning and Drew Brees do. It’s funny how it always comes back to you better play the style of defense Seattle plays, the style of defense the Ravens and Steelers have played historically. You better be able to rush the passer and tackle well and disrupt the ball and disrupt the offense at the line. You always need that. The Star Wars numbers are nice, but defense still wins, physicality still wins. You better make sure you have enough of that.

“Seattle doesn’t try to be that complex. They try to be simple enough -- not to make it elementary and easy to pick apart, but simple enough to where they’re supremely confident in what they’re doing and break down what you’re trying to do to them. They knew what was coming in the Super Bowl. All the rhetoric about Peyton able to do so many things with personnel variations and formations and there’s no way to handle all of this… They can only do so many things too. There are certain concepts tried and true from a route tree and run game perspective. There’s been so much emphasis on offense in recent years that people lost respect for what great defense is all about.”

In case you missed it

Here's what Williamson and Riddick had to say on Redskins' free agency, plus links to the other four articles in the series.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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