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Original Issue

How to Handle the Hogs

Defensive tackle, Philadelphia Eagles

I know, if a herd of Buffalo met a penful of Hogs, the hogs would get ground into bacon. But in the NFL the Hogs, as the Redskins offensive linemen are known, are a different breed. I like the Hogs in Super Bowl XXVI because I think they'll wear down the Bills, especially with Buffalo's three-man defensive front. You need some real beef up front to counteract Washington's offensive line. We have a lot of size, and that's a big reason why, in our last six games with the Skins combined, we held them to less than three yards a carry. For the Bills to have a shot, here's what they must do:

1. STUDY. It's too cold to go out in Minneapolis anyway, Cornelius. Get in that film room, Bruce—and I don't mean to watch The Prince of Tides. It's so crucial to know the Redskins' formations and what they might do out of them because you can't read their linemen. Some guys get in their stances and give away what they're going to do when the play starts, but the Hogs are the best in the league at disguising their intentions. You think they're going to pull the tackle each time on their counter-gap running play? Wrong. Sometimes they pull the tight end.

2. PENETRATE. Since the Skins almost always keep a tight end in to block, they have six terrific blockers up front. I mean, their tight ends are tackles playing tight end. So it's a mismatch for the defense at the line of scrimmage, and somebody has got to knife through there and disrupt the play. Maybe Jeff Wright, the Bills nosetackle, can get some penetration. Somebody better get some. Either that or Cornelius Bennett better have a great day pursuing plays from behind.

3. STOP THE COUNTER-GAP. I've watched film of the Redskins for five years, and I've seen them run this play over and over and kill teams with it year after year. If the play works, they run it five times in a row. They just say, "We dare you to stop it." If they decide to run it at Bruce Smith, they'll probably try Jim Lachey, the left tackle, one-on-one with him; Raleigh McKenzie, the left guard, on Wright; and the center, Jeff Bostic, on Leon Seals. That would leave the right side of the line, Mark Schlereth and Joe Jacoby, to pull to the left and try to clear a path for the back. The Bills have to take out Schlereth or Jacoby to be able to stop the play. If they can't, they're in for a long day. My advice? Blitz linebackers into the gaps to try to disrupt the thing.



The 6'6", 294-pound Lachey could be a tall order for Smith (78).



Penetration by the Bears disrupted the Skins in October.