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Willie Parker's Return Sends Mewelde Moore To The Sidelines In the Running Game

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It's already Thursday so I don't want to spend too much time looking backwards at the Washington Redskins game, but I wanted to quickly write then open up the floor to y'all about the running game. Specifically, how we deploy our two primary ball carriers - Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore.

First, to their respective lines from Monday night:

vs WAS / 11.3.08 Rushing Receiving
Rush Yards Avg TD Rec Yards Avg TD
Willie Parker 21 70 3.3 1 0 0 0 0

vs WAS / 11.3.08 Rushing Receiving
Rush Yards Avg TD Rec Yards Avg TD
Mewelde Moore 4 -2 -0.5 0 3 45 15.0 0

After perusing the play-by-play from Monday night, my suspicion was confirmed that we all but abandoned the inside running game with Willie Parker back in there. Now, without rewatching the tape, it's impossible to say which of the runs listed as 'right guard' or 'left guard' should be classified as 'up the middle', but of the 21 carries Parker got, only two of them are listed as 'up the middle'. One was for four yards, the other for just 1 yard. Instead, Bruce Arians had Parker run outiside on the edges more frequently. And he had some nice success for his first game back. I thought his cuts looked fairly sharp and confident, and he seemed to have some of that early season 'pop' in his step that allows him to make the first guy miss then break to the edge. I thought Parker could have done a better job committing to an angle and squirting ahead for a few extra tough yards on several occassions, but that's about it in terms of critiques.

But I write this because I thought that we underutilized Mewelde Moore in the running game on Monday. What I've been most impressed about with Moore has been his ability to pick up tough yards up the gut. He's no Brandon Jacobs or anything. But he's shown a remarkable ability to find a little seam and avoid big hits up the middle. Ever noticed that even when he does get stood up in the middle, he never gets driven backwards on those types of plays that end up with 6 defenders jumping onto of the ball carrier? He's deceptively strong both with his hands and in his lower body.

Moving forward, regardless of who's playing QB for us, I think it might behoove us to commit to the running game a bit more. And that might mean attacking with the running game in ways that don't necessarily fit conventional wisdom. As in, utilizing your scat back in the power running game up the middle. On Moore's four carries Monday night, all were to the outside and all were snuffed out by a suspecting fast defense. What I'd like to see instead his a few more instances each game (4-6 rushes at least) where we put Moore back there on 1st and 2nd down and call his number. I think defenses won't be ready for it first of all, and secondly, I think it would take advantage of what I feel is one of Moore's unheralded qualities: his ability to pick up modest but tough yards in traffic up the middle. Against a Indianapolis team that is fairly soft against the run up the gut yet sufficiently fast in their LB crew, it might be even wiser to find ways to mix up the diversity of our rushing attack.