NFC 'Easter

September 22, 2009 3:14 AM

Going Nowhere Fast: Redskins struggle to find answers for anemic offense

By Chris Murray
For the NFC'Easter

If you witnessed the Washington Redskins 9-7 victory over the hapless St. Louis Rams squad at Fed Ex. Field in Landover, Md., you would have probably would have thought you were in South Philadelphia with all the booing that went on along the Beltway this past Sunday.

Even though fans are no doubt happy about seeing their Skins get their first win of the season, they are frustrated with an offense that rolled up 362 yards offense, but only managed to come away with just three field goals.

While it's never good discount any victory in the National Football League, I think Redskins fans are looking down the road when they have to run across teams the high-powered offenses in their own division like the Giants, Cowboys and Eagles—that have all put more than 20 points on the board so far this season. The team has not scored 30 points during head coach Jim Zorn's tenure in Washington.

What is really making Redskins fans want to holla and throw up their collective hands about Sunday 's performance against the Rams was that the Washington offense could only muster field goals against a defense that gave up over 400 yards of total and 28 points to a mediocre Seattle Seahawks team.

Trying to figure out Redskins offense is struggling is like trying to interview a dozen witnesses at an accidents—everybody has a different story. Is it quarterback Jason Campbell, who passed for 242 yards on while completing 23-of-35 of his passes? He also led the Skins on three drives of more than 60 yards.

What about the Redskins rushing attack? You have a bruising running back in Clinton Portis, who is averaging over four yards per carry. He gained 79 yards on 19 carries. Portis gained 62 yards on 16 carries against the Giants in week one. Shouldn't Portis be the work horse of this offense? You would think a back of Portis' caliber would get more carries and be the center piece of this offense. Hmmm.

Then you have the Redskins receiving corps. The only deep threat that the Redskins have is Santana Moss, but when everybody knows that then you can double team him. What about Malcolm Kelly or even Antwan Randle-El or Devin Thomas? When will one of those guys be a player that defenses have to pay attention to during the course of their game planning. Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley has been an outstanding safety valve for Campbell.

I think ultimately this falls back on Zorn and his play-calling. What's really driving Redskins fans crazy is that you have a power back in Portis who has the ability to dominate a game in a way that some guy named John Riggins could back in the 1980s and they don't give him the ball enough.

Yet, the Skins don't run the ball as consistently as they should and that's because Zorn appears to be hell bent on enforcing his idea of the West Coast offense or he's in the (Eagles head coach ) Andy Reid school of pass, pass and more pass.

With Zorn's version of the West Coast offense is that the passing part of it is more dink and dunk rather than taking advantage of Campbell's arm and throw the ball down field. It would appear as if the Redskins offense is playing not to lose. If you want to be a contender in this league, you have to have the ability to put the fear of God into an opposing secondary by chucking it deep.

At this point, this are definitely not getting better for the Redskins offense. The Redskins could be without starting right guard Randy Thomas for the rest of season because of a torn bicep. On an offensive line that lacks depth, Thomas' loss could be a devastating blow to an offense that is searching for a rhythm of any kind.

Something has to give for the Redskins if they're going to be a contender in the NFC East. Luckily, their schedule gives them some time to figure a way to right their ship. This week they play the Detroit Lions, losers of their last 19 straight. Maybe the Skins can find their offensive mojo in the Motor City.

If the Skins offense can't muster up points against a sorry Lions squad, the clock will start ticking on Zorn's future in the nation's capital.

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