What will Gruden's Redskins offense look like?

What will Gruden's Redskins offense look like?
April 17, 2014, 11:00 am
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Tandler - Tarik

The 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of the first veteran minicamp on April 29, Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will examine 20 questions Washington faces as Jay Gruden pieces together the roster, finalizes his playbook and preps for his first season as a head coach in the NFL.

What will Jay Gruden’s offense look like?

Since Jay Gruden was hired Jan. 9, there’s been a lot of speculation about his plans for the offense. Indeed, there are many questions. Will Robert Griffin III continue to run zone read option? Will Gruden incorporate the zone-blocking scheme that helped Alfred Morris rank second and fourth in rushing yards, respectively, in 2012 and ‘13? How has the playbook changed since the unexpected addition of DeSean Jackson? Many questions, few answers. For now, at least. Even Gruden has conceded in recent months that his playbook remains a work-in-progress and that it will ultimately be tailored to his personnel and could [italics] see significant revisions prior to Week 1 as he evaluates what works and what doesn’t.

El-Bashir: While we don’t have any concrete answers, we can make some educated guesses. In the ground game, it’s probably safe to expect a mix of outside-zone (if it ain’t broke…) and power (Gruden's preference). In the passing game, it’s possible Gruden will implement a quick-hitting approach that puts the onus on receivers to gain yards after the catch (Pierre Garçon and Jackson ranked second and ninth in ’13, according to ProFootballFocus.com) and reduces the number of blows absorbed by Griffin. The overwhelming majority of Griffin’s passes will probably come from the shotgun. There will likely be more screens. A running back not named Morris will catch a lot of passes (think Gio Bernard). I’d also expect some zone read option. Griffin’s ability to run is what separates him from other quarterbacks.  In his introductory press conference, Gruden described his philosophy on offense as ‘diverse.’ But given the way coaches guard their playbooks, we may not know exactly how diverse until the games actually begin.

Tandler: The problem with trying to figure out what Gruden’s offense will look like is that, as Tarik indicated, even Gruden doesn’t know what Gruden’s offense will be, at least not in its entirety. He has been able to watch film of many of his players running someone else’s scheme but when the first minicamp convenes in a couple of weeks he will get his first look at his players (minus the draft picks) running his vision of the Redskins’ offense. Adjustments will almost certainly occur. The one thing that I would put my money on is that the offense will be very pass happy. Last year the Redskins attempted 611 passes; Gruden’s Bengals threw just 24 fewer passes despite the fact that they went 10-6 and trailed in games far less frequently than the Redskins did. Morris will not gather dust—the Bengals were eighth in the league in rushing attempts—but it will be a pass-first attack. That seemed likely before the Redskins went out and got Jackson and his presence on the field ensures that we will see the air filled with footballs at Redskins games this fall.  

20 questions: