Friday, October 13, 2006
Little payoff from Redskins' Lloyd, Duckett and Patten
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins invested a lot to
obtain Brandon Lloyd, T.J. Duckett and David Patten.
So far, they've yet to get much in return.
Lloyd has six catches in five games. Duckett has played in only
one game. Patten was inactive for the first time in his career last
week. For various reasons, none of the three has found a groove in
The Redskins sent two draft picks to San Francisco for Lloyd in
March, then signed him to a long-term contract extension. Last
year, he was the best receiver on a bad team. Now he's having
trouble getting open and getting the ball on a team with higher
"That's hard to explain," coach Joe Gibbs said. "He's out
there, he's on every route. He's playing a ton, and probably when
we're really operating, he's going to be getting the ball."
Lloyd is on pace to catch 19 passes for the entire season, far
from what is expected from the No. 2 receiver in any offense. He
said he's adjusted well to the new scheme, but he's also had to
adjust to playing in an offense that relies heavily on running back
Clinton Portis and fellow receiver Santana Moss.
"I can think of two numbers that need to be called before my
number," Lloyd said. "To make this team as successful as it was
last year, the playmakers on this team last year need to get the
touches before I do, so I'm not in a position to say anything. I'm
not in a position to pout. I'm not in a position to be frustrated,
because that's not going to help me when my number gets called."
That explanation doesn't mesh with the fact that Antwaan Randle
El, the No. 3 wideout, already has 14 receptions with less playing
time. Lloyd's slow start does, however, reflect the offense's
inconsistency as a whole. The Redskins (2-3) had two explosive
victories over Houston and Jacksonville, but the offense has scored
only one touchdown in the other three games combined.
The way to stop the Redskins, if the first five weeks of the
season are any indication, is to have the cornerbacks and safeties
play the deep "Cover 2" zone. The receivers have become so sick
of seeing it that Moss this week started to belittle defenses for
"Cover 2, you don't have to do much. That ain't being a great
pass defense," Moss said. "I've never played corner before, but
I'll be a phenomenal corner in Cover 2."
The Redskins have tried to beat the zone with runs and short
passes, but they can't keep their drives alive. The offense is only
6-for-13 in converting third downs with three yards or fewer to go.
As a result, they ran only 45 plays in last week's 19-3 loss to the
New York Giants.
"The receivers are a lot more difficult to get involved than a
running back," assistant coach Al Saunders said. "A running back,
you can hand them the ball. The receivers, you've got to throw the
ball to them. It involves protection, it involves routes, it
involves what the coverage is, it involves accurate throws."
At least Lloyd is getting a chance to make an impact. Duckett
and Patten can't even get on the field.
The Redskins traded the equivalent of a third-round pick -- the
exact compensation will be determined after the season -- to get
Duckett from Atlanta, a move that smacked of panic because Portis
had just gone down with a shoulder injury during preseason.
But Portis already had a backup, Ladell Betts. Even when Portis
missed a game, Duckett was able to get only five carries for 24
yards. Otherwise, he hasn't played.
Gibbs keeps saying how badly he feels for the five-year veteran,
but the coach said the trade was worth the price.
"That question wouldn't have been asked of me if Clinton had
been out three straight games," Gibbs said. "Everyone would say,
'You fumbled that one, didn't you?"
Patten signed a $13 million, five-year contract as a free agent
last year with expectations of being a No. 1 receiver after being
part of an ensemble group in New England. He had only 22 catches in
2005 before injuring his knee in November, and the Redskins swatted
him down the depth chart in the offseason when they signed Lloyd
and Randle El. He has one catch this year for 25 yards.
Patten is 32. Duckett is 25. Neither expected to be a
bench-warmer at this point in his career. To their credit, neither
has publicly complained.
"It's been an experience, but that's part of the job," Duckett
said. "You just prepare and prepare, and when your opportunity
comes, take advantage of it."
Said Patten: "Everybody wants to play, everybody wants to suit
up, but the bottom line is you're part of a team. You have roles
that you have to fill and perform. My role (Sunday) was to be sort
of a cheerleader from the sidelines."
CB Shawn Springs took more work in practice Thursday and
even had an interception, offering a glimmer of hope that he will
make his season debut Sunday against Tennessee. "Getting better,"
said Springs, who has been out with abdomen and groin injuries. He
is listed as questionable on the injury report. ... DE Phillip
Daniels (back), DT Cornelius Griffin (hip), LB Marcus Washington
(hip), G Derrick Dockery (leg) and Patten (thigh) did not practice,
but all are listed as probable. P Derrick Frost (calf) returned to
practice and is probable. DT Joe Salave'a (calf) is questionable.