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Fan questions: Why not more hurry-up offense?

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Fan questions: Why not more hurry-up offense?

A lot to talk about after the Redskins loss on Sunday night so let's jump into one from the Real Redskins Facebook page (drop on by and hit the Like button!)

Jenkins did play six snaps on defense on Sunday in his first game back form his four-game suspension. He might have played a few more snaps but the defense was only on the field for 54 plays. Jim Haslett said last week that he still considers him to be the starter so I'd look for him to work his way in for more and more plays and he should be starting and playing 40+ snaps per game by midseason if not sooner.
@Rich_TandlerCSN .. Any chance they hire Art Briles or Philip Montgomery as OC or HC in 2014?

— Mike V (@mikev1975) October 14, 2013
Although it's too early to talk about the future of the current coaching staff it is something that is out there and, with Mike Shanahan going into the last year of his contract in 2014, it is legitimate to ask. First thing, if Mike is here he will have Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator unless Kyle gets a head coaching job (unlikely in the short term, IMO). If Kyle should leave I think that Shanahan would turn to someone he has worked with in the past, someone like Gary Kubiak if he's available, rather than to a college coach. If Mike Shanahan is gone, it's hard for me to see Dan Snyder hiring a head coach who doesn't have NFL coaching experience at least as a coordinator.
@Rich_TandlerCSN why do #Redskins refuse to use no huddle as regular part of gameplay?

— marioc (@marioc) October 14, 2013
I asked Kyle Shanahan about that after the Eagles game and you can find the full article here. But, short version, he said that it just wasn't their offense, that a no-huddle approach didn't fit what they do. Mike Shanahan added some detail yesterday, saying that they like to vary formations during a series and the no-huddle doesn't allow them to do that. My view is that while the no-huddle is a nice wrinkle it's not a cure-all for the offense. The Redskins had no problem moving up and down the field on Sunday as they racked up over 400 yards of offense. What they needed was some better blocking by the line, some more accurate passes by the quarterback, and some better play calling and execution in the red zone. The no-huddle is fine as an occasional change of pace but it's not a substitute for solid fundamental offensive football.

These are related and popular questions so we'll look at them together. As far as Davis goes, they say he isn't earning snaps in practice. My view is that it's a long season and I'd wait before writing off Davis; he could still contribute down the road.  I wondered why they don't use two pass-catching tight ends in my Six Pack yesterday. Both Mike and Kyle Shanahan were asked about it last week and Kyle's answer did shed some light on it.  "But, I mean, it’s tough to get two real pass-dominant tight ends who are not liabilities in the run game," he said. "It’d be nice to go out there and just get great wide-receiver-type tight ends, and that will help your pass game, but then you’re going to get a lot more pass coverages. The D-line is going to rush the quarterback a lot more because they know you’re not going to be in positions to where you really have an advantage in the run game." So, in short, if Reed and Davis could block better they could be on the field together. As of now they can't so they're not.
@Rich_TandlerCSN how soon can we get a replacement #specialteams coach

— Peach E Pie (@Peachahontas) October 14, 2013
It doesn't seem as though Shanahan is inclined to throw Keith Burns overboard after just five games.  "Keith Burns is a very excellent football coach,” he said yesterday. “Very capable . . . I feel very confident that he'll get the job done even though he started out a little bit rough." So I wouldn't look for a change there any time soon.

I picked this one to represent all of the O-line questions I got. First of all, for the immediate future, nobody is about to be benched. The line has been playing pretty well this year before having a bad night in Dallas. That would be a knee-jerk reaction and that's not something we see much of from Shanahan. As far as drafting a right tackle, the short answer is that there hasn't been one they liked on the board when they drafted. The simple truth is that in the zone blocking scheme only needs to have a premium offensive lineman at left tackle. The other four positions are composed of players that are not highly coveted by other teams. That means that lower-round picks and relatively inexpensive free agents are slotted for the "other" four OL positions. This leaves more money and higher draft picks to expend on other positions. The shorter answer is if they want to move on from Tyler Polumbus this offseason they  will either go to sixth-round pick Tom Compton or go shopping in the bargain free agent market.
@Rich_TandlerCSN should #CaptKirk have started this season until #rgiii was ready ?

— Peach E Pie (@Peachahontas) October 14, 2013
I've addressed this on Twitter and on Facebook so I suppose I should talk about it here. Robert Griffin III was not going to get ready to play by watching from the bench. The only way the franchise quarterback could get ready to play was to play. Could the team have won another game or two with Kirk Cousins at QB? I'm not so sure that he could have unless he could have brought down LeSean McCoy, covered Randall Cobb or Calvin Johnson, or tackled Dwayne Harris. But even if he could have it would have been very shortsighted to keep Griffin on the bench. Let's say they kept him out until after the bye. Then you're seeing the RG3 we saw against the Eagles or Packers--pretty much immobile, making questionable decisions, displaying very sloppy mechanics--against the Cowboys. Griffin was far from perfect against Dallas but he played well enough to give them a shot if the special teams don't gift wrap two TD's for the Cowboys. He needed to play to improve. No question, he needs to improve more if this team is going to start winning but this has been handled they way it should have been. To keep Griffin on the sideline when he was healthy enough to play would have represented the kind of short-term thinking that has been the hallmark of this franchise for most of the last 20 years.

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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