"The Swinging Gate"
Lately I’ve been feeling that despite the Redskins’ miserable play, maybe Jim Zorn shouldn’t get the ax. The team had been playing hard, the defense has been fine all season, and it’s really not Zorn’s fault if the offensive line is wracked by injuries. What was needed, it seemed, was a basic sense of calm and continuity paired with an effort to repair the o-line. That would give us a situation in which Zorn, Jason Campbell, etc. could be fairly evaluated.
Then came last night’s game against the Giants, which is frankly painful to think about. In particular, consider the “swinging gate” fiasco:
This is a play where your field goal kicking team switches, before the snap, out of their regular formation into the formation seen above. All your blockers are over to the side, ready to block for a screen pass. The only way for this to possibly work is to confuse and surprise the defense. But when the Skins were getting ready to execute, Tom Coughlin called a time out. No more element of surprise. A lot of the players may not have had any idea of what a “swinging gate” was or how to respond appropriately. But briefed during the time out, there was no way to catch them unawares. Then Zorn called the play anyway! The result was an interception.
According to Wikipedia, not only does this play not fly at the pro level, you can’t do it in big time college football either. They say “The latest execution of the play in a collegiate game was on October 11, 2007, in a Football Championship Subdivision game by Central Connecticut State Blue Devils against the Albany Great Danes.”