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Need to Know: 5 burning Redskins questions on offense

Jun 4, 2014, 4:50 AM EDT

RG3-Morris-vs-Bears

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, June 4, 13 days before the start of minicamp.

Nickel coverage

After a 3-13 season there are always plenty of questions surrounding an NFL team. Here is a look at the five top questions facing the Redskins’ offense (yesterday we answered five burning questions about the defense).

Will DeSean Jackson be DeSean Jackson? Sometimes a change of scenery is just what a player needs. But often changing everything that led to a player being successful can result in a drop off in production. Everything is different for Jackson this year and we’ll see if he’s energized or lost.

Can an effective line be cobbled together? It seems that Jay Gruden still wants to be able to run the outside zone plays that have been so successful for the Redskins recently but he also wants size on the line to form a solid passing pocket. Well, I’d like to eat whatever I want, not exercise, and still lose weight. But I can’t have it both ways and Gruden may not be able to either. If his line is going to work he may have to go with beef on the line and put Morgan Moses and Spencer Long into the lineup and hope that Alfred Morris can be effective in a power running game.

Can Jordan Reed stay healthy? It’s almost an unfair question since last year was the only time in his football career he missed any significant time. But it’s a legitimate concern with the emphasized sensitivity to concussion issues. Reed could be the different between the offense being very effective and being just OK.

Is Alfred Morris a top five back? He was in 2012 but his production slipped last year. That could well have been due to an offense that just wasn’t hitting on all cylinders. But he thrived as a rookie when Robert Griffin III had the read option going. Gruden has said that that offense is going to be much more of a wrinkle than a staple. Will Morris be able to thrive in Gruden’s scheme?

How well does RG3 bounce back? This is the overriding question. It’s difficult to see the Redskins having a successful season without Griffin performing more like he did in 2012 than he did in 2013. There is reason to believe that a return to full health and an offseason spent polishing his game rather than rehabbing his knee will result in better play. Until we see it on the field, however, that’s just an assumption.

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Timeline

—It’s been 157 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be 95 days until they play the Texans in their 2014 season opener.

Days until: Minicamp starts 13; Training camp 50; Redskins @ Eagles 109

In case you missed it

  1. cowboyhater - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    Not sure what to expect this year with our offense. There have been some major changes, but are they upgrades? New left guard/center/possibly right guard (rookie?)/possibly left tackle (rookie?), new receiving corp with major upgrades but in my opinion Roberts could have a bigger impact than Jackson, a QB who should be completely healed but is learning a new playbook, and a zone RB that will need to shift to a power running. Wow!! That’s a lot of change…..no way to predict how this will play out this year, because injuries and a new offense could be major factors that determine the outcome. We’ll see……

  2. shermanp79 - Jun 4, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    I do wonder about Morris in a different run scheme. I’m not sure he is the type of guy Gruden wants long term. He doesn’t have speed and can be bottled up as shown last year. I think when his contract is up they have a different guy going forward. I like Alfred and I could be wrong but he has no big play ability. There was a reason he was Drafted in the 6th round. There are so many backs out there who might fit better and I do worry so much of his success is due to the pistol. When that struggled last year so did he, If Helu was healthy his Rookie year, Alfred would have been push the pile guy. He can have some success in the stretch. I hope he can do well but long term he won’t be here.

    • hogheadgeez - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      Alfred being “bottled up” had more to do with: 1) Our struggles moving the chains early on in games. 2) Passing game was mediocre. 3) Frequent turnovers. 4) Trailing big late in games. At one point last season Alfred was averaging over 5 yds a carry. He also did damage running non pistol/ read option plays. Granted, he does benefit from the threat Griffin poses as dual threat QB, but I believe Alfred would thrive in any system.

      • shermanp79 - Jun 6, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        Don’t get me wrong I like Alfred. I just think at some point they replace him with speed and pass catching skills. I think he can improve catching and maybe even add some quickness and speed with working with a speed coach. If all stays the same he will be gone when his contract is over. It’s too easy to add a RB now in the middle rounds. I think had Mason from Auburn been there as they hoped that process would have started sooner rather than later. His fumbling is something to watch. It was a problem in college, that with his speed is why he was Drafted where he was. I love Alfred and he was huge in 2012. You do have points about it all not being on him I just wonder when his deficiencies has Gruden looking elsewhere. You can find a complete back in the 3rd round, if not later. I do think his speed and quickness hinders him in a power blocking offense. Where you have to get through that hole quick, rather than the stretch which gives you options and time. Hopefully I’m wrong but Shanahan backs have shown before to be less effective elsewhere. He also bases his offense on the run which helps. When you have max blockers and even WR routes designed to think blocking. It’s the lack of the big play that leads to change long term. I know Alfred fans won’t like it but the offense will run more efficient with him having a lesser role long term. As I said above I am a fan but that is reality.

  3. bryktur - Jun 4, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    I think Morris will be just fine. everyone is forgetting that he did get over 1200 yds last year. Also I like his run style in a power run game. Just lower the shoulder, hit the defense guy and make him miss. How often was Morris taken down on first contact? Not that often. When he was bottled up, it was because there was no repect for the passing game. It is a lot easier to stop the run when there is 8 in the box. So with an improved WR corp, healthy TE, and hopefully Griffin of 2012 (but better) this will be a great season.

  4. kenlinkins - Jun 4, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    IMO Morris will be fine. It should not matter to a RB if a hole is opened by Zone or Power blocking. You can run the Read Option with power blocking just as well as Zone blocking. Morris is a one cut RB, see the hole and make one cut into hole. All he has to do is see the hole. It has been said that coach Gruden likes “quick hitting” RB’s who can hit a hole at top speed and use that speed to out run LB’s, a home run hitter type. IMO coach Gruden will not throw away plays that have worked just to use his system, I think he will take time to transfer over to his system a little at a time (as he looks for that quick hitter type RB). I look to see coach Gruden use both Read Option, Power and Quick Opener system running plays early in the year. This will cause other teams to game plan ways to stop all three. If the Redskins can keep other teams guessing and find ways to not tip their hand as to what is coming, the Redskins can catch teams in the wrong defense. The Redskins O-Line had problems in the past getting to the 2nd level (i.e. LB’s) with the Zone blocking, I am looking forward to seeing some of the Read Option plays with the power blocking. I think the results could be outstanding (if RG3 can learn to slide when he keeps the ball). If there is a hole, Morris should be able to find it, what does he care how it was made?

  5. skinsdawg - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    Great discussion. I like all of this. I could see worrying about whether Morris can adapt….. a little bit. It’s a legit question. But I think he’ll do fine, and should be a 1000 yd rusher. Again. I like him even better in a Power Game. And he is NOT a big-play guy. But we really don’t need him to be. We have a high-power offense now, with 3 killer WRs and killer TE. Seastrunk and Helu are big play threats as well.

    My problem is the OLine. I still think it has the solid potential…… to STINK. Again. Man I hope I’m proven wrong. I don’t like how it’s been terrible for the last 7 or 8 years. And I don’t like how they STILL haven’t corrected it. And I don’t like how now they are mixing smallish Zone guys, with larger power guys. We signed a couple guys that are not good. And we have 2 rooks that need some time. I like Moses and Long. But how quick can we have them? How long will they need to be ready? IMO, the entire Offense hinges on that…. and RG3s recovery, and ability to run Gru’s system.

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