Washington Redskins: Red-Zone Production Is Formula for Success

Philip SpeakeCorrespondent IMay 28, 2009

CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 14:  Fred Davis #86 of the Washington Redskins carries the ball during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium December 14, 2008 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

In order for the Washington Redskins to improve from being cellar dweller of the NFC East, they must score more points. Isn't that how you win games? As John Madden says, the team that scores the most points is going to win the game.

In 2008, the Redskins scored an abysmal 265 points—that's 16.6 points a game. The winless Detroit Lions scored more than that, and they only had one real player on offense.

The biggest change the offense needs to make in 2009 is to incorporate both Chris Cooley and second-year tight end Fred Davis into the red-zone offense.

Davis is 6'4", 257 lbs., and has great hands. He finished college the winner of the John Mackey award, given to the best college tight end.

Drafted in the second round—48th overall—Davis accumulated three catches last year. Hell, James Thrash and Todd Yoder had more receptions than that.

Where is Steve Spurrier when you need him? Just play a little pitch and catch with the big fella!

Cooley caught just one touchdown last year, coming on a trick play from Antwaan Randle El. Before 2008, Cooley had at least six touchdowns each season of his career. Joe Gibbs found ways to get him the ball in the end zone.

Jim Zorn needs to figure out a way to get these two young men the ball a lot more. Running two-tight-end sets is supposedly a staple of the West Coast offense. At least Skins fans were led to believe as much after Washington selected Davis in the second round.

The Redskins offensive personnel stays mostly the same in 2009. Davis and wide receivers Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas need to be producers on the field in the West Coast offense.

This season, Zorn needs to shift his young players from the bench to the field and let them play football.

Opposing defensive coordinators figured out Zorn's strategy late last season. A few more double-tight-end sets on the goal line might help things out. I'm not talking about putting Lorenzo Alexander in as an eligible tackle and calling it a double-tight-end set.

Davis and Cooley are viable threats to score. Make teams account for them and Clinton Portis will find running much easier inside the 10-yard line.

One other change I expect from Zorn's offense is more use of a two-back system. Portis is a workhorse, but every horse needs to be maintained for the long haul. Ladell Betts should see his workload increase early in the season. That way, by the time December rolls around Portis will be ready to carry the Redskins into the playoffs.