O'Halloran: Can Redskins' running game be saved?

O'Halloran: Can Redskins' running game be saved?
December 4, 2010, 5:34 pm
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Saturday, December 4, 2010, 12:24 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writerCSNwashington.com

Keiland Williams. James Davis. Maybe Andre Brown in his Redskins debut. Heck, possibly Ryan Torain.

The candidates to get carries for the Redskins against the New York Giants are numerous. The only thing we do know is it wont be Clinton Portis lining up in the backfield.

Everything else is muddled.

The Redskins rank 26th in rush offense (90.7 yards) and have been out-rushed 1,447-998 even though those opponents have only 48 more carries.

Last week against Minnesota, the Redskins rushed 13 times (a season low) for 29 yards.

Not getting the running game going was a huge factor, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. We felt good about it in the first half. The Vikings are pretty stout against the run but you definitely have to keep them off balance.

A sign of balance: In the first half, the Redskins had 11 rushes (not counting a Donovan McNabb fumble) and 19 passes.

A sign of no balance: In the second half, the Redskins had two rushes and 18 McNabb drop-backs.

Its tough to maintain a running game when you have only 20 plays, Shanahan said.

How the Redskins divided the playing was also interesting.

Williams played the first 16 snaps. From there, though, Williams played 19 snaps and Davis 16 snaps.

We started Keiland and we just wanted to give James a shot, Shanahan said. We never did have a chance to get Davis going. You cant get a full evaluation until you get a chance to get a guy in a rhythm. One some of the carries, he didnt have much room.

The Redskins cant afford to be one-dimensional against the Giants pass rush.

The running game opens up a lot of the things we do, McNabb said. When you have a guy or two thats been there all throughout the year and you know what youre getting, that does wonders for an offense. When you rotate different guys in there due to injury, its tough.