The Bengals square off against the Redskins on Sunday, and while much of the focus will rightfully be on slowing down rookie sensation Robert Griffin III, Danny Amendola’s 15 receptions against the Redskins defense should be a ray of hope for Bengals fans.
The Redskins zone defense was the football equivalent of a playground for a quick, smart and explosive slot receiver like Amendola. These are all qualities that apply to Hawkins (see The Rise of Andrew Hawkins for more), but the Bengals have the added benefit of an elite receiver in A.J. Green.
While Amendola was able to have his monster performance as the best receiver on the Rams, Hawkins has Green to stretch the defense vertically and create more room underneath to find holes in coverage.
Another take away from the Rams’ victory of the Redskins is the loss of outside linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker. With the loss of two important members of their front seven, the Redskins found themselves blitzing often to make up for the loss of pass pressure.
The quick passes and extra room to work in the middle of the field can be taken advantage of in the same way that the Rams did. Another West Coast offense team, the Rams employed play action, bootlegs, crossing routes, coverage-based progressions and hot reads to Amendola in the areas vacated by the blitzers to put together several sustained drives against the Redskins.