- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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John Keim takes a look at what's been wrong with the previously unstoppable Washington Redskins offense the past two games. And while the team denies there's any systemic issue or that opposing teams are catching on to what they're doing, John has some theories about why Washington isn't scoring as much as it did in September and most of October. Including this one:
And the results haven't been there. That doesn't mean teams have necessarily caught up to the Redskins' offense, but they have exposed some aspects. The Redskins lack consistent offensive playmakers downfield, for example.
The Redskins dropped anywhere between seven to 10 passes vs. Pittsburgh, depending on how they're classified. Not every miss was a clean drop, but four killed drives, forcing punts, and others cost them time if nothing else. Last week the Redskins committed eight penalties for 60 yards on offense.
"Just shooting ourselves in the foot," Trent Williams said. "We had openings that could have gone for six maybe three or four times this past week. Pittsburgh same thing."
I think a huge part of the problem at this point is the continued absence of Pierre Garcon, who was signed to be Robert Griffin III's No. 1 wide receiver and caught an 88-yard touchdown pass in the first game but injured his foot and has appeared (and struggled) in only two games since. The Redskins were able to ride out Garcon's injury for a while, dazzling opponents with a variety of option looks and making up for things with Griffin's foot speed. But this offense was designed with Garcon in mind as what John refers to as a "consistent offensive playmaker downfield." Not having him available limits what the offense can do within a game and also the extent to which it can evolve and change throughout the course of the season.
The Redskins are fond of wide receivers Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson. They consider them building-block pieces who are also helping in the meantime as receivers and blockers. And yes, they obviously expect them to catch the ball when it's thrown to them. But part of the issue is that they're asking more of those young guys than they expected to, since they planned on having them play supporting roles with Garcon as the top wideout and leading pass-catcher. Those receivers need to play better, yes, but overall the offense isn't going to work the way it's supposed to until it has its top weapon back. And at this point, they still don't know if that'll be this year or next.