Back to Smash Mouth Football; The Burton Factor

Could we see the return of a smash mouth brand of football back in Washington? Interim HC Bill Callahan has been transparent regarding his desire to have a commitment to the run game with Adrian Peterson as the feature back. Peterson responded to the challenge last week against Miami, to the tune of 118 yards rushing on 23 carries with a 5.13 ypc average. 

Other than 2 impressive touchdown receptions by, potential OROY candidate, Terry McLaurin, the team needed every one of Peterson’s hard-earned yards to stay competitive versus Miami. This week’s signing of fullback Michael Burton was music to old-school Redskins fans’ ears. Burton, the 2015 5th round selection of Detroit could play a valuable role this weekend.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions

Burton was asked by NBC Sports Washington what his thoughts were on the advantage of having a fullback, which is rare in today’s game.

“They don’t see it in practice all the time,” he explained. “When you play that team that hasn’t seen it, it’s difficult to prepare for that in a week… I think it just adds another element to the offense.” 

Callahan has maintained that although rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins has shown signs of growth, after getting all the first teams reps during Wednesday’s practice, he would stick with veteran Case Keenum as the starting quarterback.

It’s imperative that the Redskins continue to show a dedication to the run with Keenum displaying his continued limitations as a signal caller. Former HC Jay Gruden‘s run scheme, relied on their tight ends to open up running lanes and was a massive failure.

Although outside linebacker Ryan Anderson occasionally lined up as a fullback, in short yardage/goal line situations, it was often a tell of the play to come. As Burton mentioned, having an extra back behind center can add an element to this offense and create deception. Pass plays coming off play-action, in particular, could lead to big chunk plays. Having Burton along with Peterson in the backfield, in this scenario, could provide Keenum more time to survey the field and most importantly, open up more running lanes for Peterson.

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With the 49er’s vaunted defense coming to town, Washington will need to do all they can to pick up significant yards on 1st and 2nd downs. The tape reveals a San Fran defense who’ll bring pressure early and often with rookie pass rusher Nick Bosa leading the way.

Many don’t believe that the Redskins stands a chance versus the 5-0 49ers, who are a 10-point favorite over Washington. Some will be focusing on the pre-game ceremony in which former Redskins’ LT Chris Samuels will be inducted into the Redskins’ Ring of Fame. However, all eyes should be focused on fullback Michael Burton who could be the key to a successful run-game against the 49ers.

By Adam Aniba

#HTTR🏹🏈

Follow on Twitter @TheBandGreport

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*The Tar Heel Steal‪‬

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