Through the first two weeks of the season, Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman has gone 46-for-77 in passing attempts, good for 57 percent completion.
While some of those incompletions can be attributed to pressure, coverage, and route running, some have been a product of the passes being tipped at the line of scrimmage. At only 6-1, is Grossman’s height a disadvantage?
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan doesn’t think so.
“I personally don’t believe that tipped balls have much to do with height,” he said. “Even tall guys don’t really throw over people, they throw through windows.”
In the NFL, a defender only has so much time to get to the quarterback. If it’s a quick release or good protection, the pressure will likely not reach home, which turns blitzers into coverage defender.
“I think the defensive line in that game got a little tired inside and weren’t rushing as hard,” Shanahan explained. “They have some really tall players with long arms. Sometimes when they were up the field, Rex got up there in the pocket a lot. That’s when it’s tough and you’re throwing right through people.”
Head coach Mike Shanahan explained that this is a strategy that he anticipates on offense and coaches on defense as well.
“A lot of defensive linemen do it,” he said. “We do it. Most teams do if they can’t get any quick penetration. Key the quarterback’s eyes, and the great ones are able to knock [the passes] down, sometimes knock them up in the air and possibly get an interception.”
That’s precisely what happened to outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan in Week 1 against the Giants. After his initial rush was delayed and his blocker went low, he got his hands high and walked away with six points.
So what does that mean for Grossman’s approach?
“Anytime you throw the ball 40-something times a game, and you’ve got guys that are 6-8 or 6-9 on that defensive front, it happens quite often,” said head coach Shanahan. ” It happened against the Giants too. You’ve got to find a little alley in there.”
Kyle Shanahan agreed, saying: “I don’t think he has that problem all of the time. They did a good job tipping our balls, but hopefully it will be better this week.”
Check out offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s full Cowboys preview press conference below:
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