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Fan questions: Why not more hurry-up offense?

Oct 15, 2013, 10:55 AM EDT

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!)

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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