Grading the Redskins at the bye: Offense

Grading the Redskins at the bye: Offense
November 7, 2012, 1:15 pm
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How have the Redskins done this year going into the bye? Over the next three days Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir grade the team’s performance unit by unit. Today, we look at the offense.

Tandler’s grade: B+

For the first time since 2005, the Redskins have an offense that can consistently put points on the board. The main reason is, of course, the play of Robert Griffin III, who has given Redskins fans something to cheer for at the position for the first time in  years. He has been operating without his top receiver, Pierre Garçon, for most of the season and yet he continues to produce and give the Redskins a chance to win week after week.

RG3 isn’t the only bright spot on offense. Alfred Morris is among the league’s leading rushers and runs with a style that is fun to watch. Trent Williams is having a Pro
Bowl type season at left tackle and Will Montgomery is putting in a solid season at center.

And you have to give Mike and Kyle Shanahan some credit here. After many said they wouldn’t (looking at you, McNabb!), they have tailored their offense to suit Griffin’s unique skill set. The result is a scheme that has confounded opponents and it has been interesting to watch it unfold.

El-Bashir’s grade: B-

Two weeks ago, Robert Griffin III and the Redskins’ offense would have earned an ‘A.’ Because, let’s be honest here, no one anticipated this unit leaping from 18 points per game in 2011 to an average of 29.7 points per outing through this season’s first six games – even with Griffin under center.

But the offense hasn’t been so effective the past two weeks as the team produced 12 and 13 points, respectively. Some of the drop off can be blamed on poor execution (coaches aren’t to blame for the 10 dropped passes in Pittsburgh or, to a certain extent, the rash of drive-halting penalties against the Panthers). A bit of the problem seems to be injuries to key playmakers (top receivers Pierre Garçon and Fred Davis missed both games). But there’s also the sneaking suspicion that opposing defensive coordinators have caught up to Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s innovative offense.

In the long term, the unit is in good shape with Griffin, Alfred Morris, Garçon (assuming he gets healthy) and other emerging players. The short term, however, remains a concern on the back half of the season and the Shanahans can’t figure out how to resuscitate a once prolific attack.