At 1-8, the Washington Redskins look to finish the second portion of their season strong. Many will argue that isn’t possible with the current state of the franchise. The Redskins can’t seem to “get right” whether it be on the field or off. Every week, it’s negative headlines. With two weeks to prepare, the Redskins look to find positive layers within the lining of this season as they face the struggling New York Jets. The Jets are 2-7 and look to build off of last week’s victory against the New York Giants. This is a football game that the Redskins SHOULD win. They have more talent across the board and have had two weeks to prepare rookie Dwayne Haskins to lead a less than explosive offensive personnel group. Redskins’ rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins starting the remainder of the season could mean a myriad of things for the Redskin offense going forward. Hopefully it means they will finally take the training wheels off of Haskins and allow him to maximize his skillset.
If there was ever a game to open the offense up, it would be this week against a solid, but vulnerable Jets defense. The Jets run defense is 2nd in the league, but their pass defense is 26th overall. Trying to run the ball predictably will play right into the Jets’ hands and make defensive adjustments easy throughout. This will make it extra tough for Haskins to get going in the passing game similar to what we saw against the Buffalo Bills. Attempting to run on first and second down, and then passing on third throughout the game essentially leaves Haskins in spots where he consistently has to make a perfect play. The Redskins and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell need to establish a rhythm early by throwing some quick passes via screens, quick hitches, and short sitting routes within the defensive zone to keep the Jets on their heels and provide Haskins with some manageable yardage situations. Haskins has to do his part too in taking what the defense gives him and not try to be a hero. He needs to utilize his legs and check the ball down to running backs as necessary in the interest of preserving the possessions and moving the first down marker. He is a pocket passer by definition but has enough athleticism where he can make defenses honor his ability to run in certain situations.
Returning this week from injury will be second year running back Derrius Guice. Hopefully, Guice is 100 percent healthy, and the Redskins have him on a “pitch count” as far as his work load is concerned on Sunday. Guice should come into this game as the third down back and situational back on second and long down and distances. Adrian Peterson should continue to be the starter and primary runner until Guice is able to prove he is capable of carrying the offensive running load without subjecting himself to further injury. The Redskin offense has not scored a touchdown in 13 quarters. That is inexcusable at the professional level, and they need to convert multiple redzone opportunities into touchdowns, and not field goals this Sunday against the Jets.
The Jets offense is tailor made for the Redskin defense. They have a poor offensive line, their receivers are average, and the play calling has been poor throughout the year. To give you an idea of just how uninspiring the Jets’ offense is, former Redskin wide receiver Jameis Crowder is their leading receiver with 48 catches, and 486 yards receiving. As you would expect, running back Le’veon Bell is their most dynamic player on offense, Bell is currently first on the team with 449 rushing yards and second in receptions with 44. He is the epitome of an “every down running back” and must be accounted for on every snap. Currently, he only averages 3.1 yards per carry, but is facing a Redskin defense that is near the bottom of the league at stopping the run. This week’s game plan is obvious defensively: bottle up Le’veon Bell and let Sam Darnold make mistakes. Take a page out of the New England Patriots defensive playbook and put as much pressure on this kid as you can and make him throw the game away. The Redskin defense needs to be aggressive and take away any little bit of confidence Darnold may have early in the game. This will give the defense momentum and motivate them to continue to make more plays.
At this point, the Redskins should be pulling out all the stops to get wins. Everything from fake punts, reverses, field goal fakes, onside kicks, wildcat offensive sets; whatever they need to do to get in the endzone, and get some offensive production, it needs to be done. You aren’t sacrificing anything by doing everything you can to win a football game!! Be creative. It’s ok!! Try some different personnel groups in the game in different circumstances than you normally would. The point is, what they have been doing, AIN’T WORKIN!! Maximize the talent that you currently have. If that means throwing the ball to Terry McLaurin 20 times to give you the best chance to make some plays, then do it! I guarantee you Terry is coming down with at least 50 percent of those footballs. The moral of the story is this: whatever needs to be done; whatever plays need to be called; whatever personnel that needs to be playing; at the end of the day, it’s like the late Al Davis used to say “JUST WIN BABY”. As you were...
Photo Credit: Washington Redskins