LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The Washington Redskins’ (0-2) offense suffered the same fate in each of their first two game: A strong start followed by a rocky second half.
As head coach Jay Gruden tries to combat his team’s inexperience on offense, he relies on his creativity.
“We’re trying to – keep the defense off balance a little bit and utilize some of the speed and weapons that we have,” Gruden “We’re just getting to know [wide receiver] Steven Sims a little bit, trying to tap into his potential. I think that might be more, depending on the week, a very explosive guy.
“Obviously [running back] Chris Thompson you want to get him as many touches as you can to him. Then [wide receiver] Terry [McLaurin] is doing a great job. [tight end] Vernon [Davis] still has some speed. Obviously the bell cow, we got to do a better job running the ball with [running back] [Adrian Peterson] AP and that will open up some of the play-actions.”
The running back position, specifically, has been a huge downside for the offense throughout the first two games.
Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 1,042 yards last season and had 7 touchdowns, was a healthy scratch Week 1 after Gruden chose to play Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson and Wendell Smallwood over the 13-year NFL veteran.
Washington lost Guice to the IR after he received surgery on his knee Week 2.
Peterson’s was back in the mix against the Dallas Cowboys, but not a single back has been able to rush for more than 25 yards through the first two games.
“Everybody is so fast on the other side of the football and so strong, there’s [little] difference between a two-yard run and breaking a 30-yard run,” quarterback Case Keenum said. “It’s little things. Everyone doing just a little bit more.
“[An effective running game] takes pressure off our defense, extends drives, brings them up, tighter coverage, load the box so we can throw it over their head – a lot of things. We need to do better.”
In addition to the running game, the team hasn’t been able to use their tight ends they way they’d like to. With the absence of Jordan Reed, a handful of plays have been scratched because they’re designed specifically for when he’s on the field.
“We were anticipating him being in [Monday]. You just never know with this [concussion] he has. We’re just very supportive of him. We want him to get well. If we have to go two [tight ends] we will. If we have to sign another tight end eventually, we might do that.
“It takes us out of some packages that we really like, some of our three tight end sets and two tight end sets was limited but our one tight end set, three receivers has been pretty good to us. The issue with that is that if the defense plays base defense it’s hard to run the ball. That’s what kind of happened – Dallas did that to us a couple of time early in the game. Took us out of our running game. We’ll have to adjust.”
The Redskins look to pick up their first win of the season on Monday when they host the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field.