Sun Tzu Week 1: Drunken Cardinal Technique

Archive: Sun Tzu Washington Commanders

Welcome back, Shaolin Redskins fans. The bamboo is swaying gently in the summer breeze, the river glides gently past my small hut–and Steve Spurrier rules absolutely *triumphant* in his debut as Redskins coach!

Let us turn our attention to how the Ball Coach (or as we like to call him: Qiu Lei Yun Dong Jiao Lian) has interpreted Master Sun Tzu this week.


Sun Tzu said: “Those who do not know the conditions of mountains
and forests, hazardous defiles, marshes and swamps, cannot conduct
the march of an army.”

Sun Tzu is speaking here of the need to know all the conditions in which the army is moving. If the commander is uncertain of the situation he has at hand, he can’t know what it will take to succeed. Information, in short, is power.

Lack of good information might have proved disastrous for the Redskins. Brett Conway missed the last 3 games of the preseason with a hip flexor, and despite his apparent return to health, he tore his quad muscle in the first half of the game. If the Redskins had known for sure that he was still in danger, they would have signed a kicker before the season began. As it was, it wasn’t a disaster–but it kept things more interesting than they should have been.


Sun Tzu says, “Offer the enemy a bait to lure him; feign disorder
and strike him.”

Throughout the preseason, the Redskins appeared to be relying solely on the pass. It is what sets Steve Spurrier apart from so many other coaches, and it is the most obvious part of the Fun ‘n Gun offense. Indeed, in four preseason games the Redskins passed more than twice as many times as they ran.

In addition, the times they *did* run, they barely used Stephen Davis–and further, when they used him he wasn’t especially effective. Questions swirled around the capacity of the offensive line to support the run.

Those questions have an answer in this week’s results. Stephen Davis ran the ball 26 times and caught it an additional 7 times. He had 104 yards rushing and 46 receiving. The Cardinals–and many others–didn’t anticipate seeing much of a rushing offense. Perhaps this is just as Spurrier planned.


Sun Tzu says, “Next best is to disrupt [the enemy’s] alliances.”

We are the enemy of the other teams in the NFC East. And if they believe the adage that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, they are friends with one another–and allied against us. The Redskins emerged from this weekend standing over their broken alliance, alone in ascendancy in the East. The others are in disarray, having failed to stand firm, unable to maintain unity against us. Let us see what next Monday will bring.

Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Eric Johnson

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