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Kansas City Chiefs 45-10 Washington Redskins: Takeaways for Washington

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2013

Kansas City Chiefs 45-10 Washington Redskins: Takeaways for Washington

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    A 45-10 defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs leaves few positive takeaways for the Washington Redskins. The team was completely out-coached in every phase of the game.

    The level of the defeat spoke to the serious issues in preparation and deficiencies in talent that have plagued the Redskins all season.

    Now is the time to face up to the reality of a major offseason overhaul at both the coaching and playing level.

Robert Griffin III Still Has Deep Flaws in His Game

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    LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 08:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass in the first half during an NFL game against the Kansas City Chiefs at FedExField on December 8, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDerm
    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Robert Griffin III still has deep flaws in his game. His development is going to take major work over the next few seasons.

    Griffin's decision-making remains a serious problem. He was fooled by basic zone coverage on a first-quarter interception by Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson.

    The turnover was the result of Griffin yet again staring down his first read. But it is not just a lack of subtlety with his eyes that is troubling.

    Griffin's delivery is still wildly inconsistent. At times against the Chiefs, he made some nice touch throws. At others, he launched passes that were high and wide of intended receivers.

    Griffin needs more weapons at his disposal and a less restrictive scheme. But more than anything else, he needs to make a concerted effort to improve on the fundamental techniques of playing quarterback in the NFL.

Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon Are Building Blocks, but Others Are Being Wasted

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    The Redskins need more weapons to complement Alfred Morris.
    The Redskins need more weapons to complement Alfred Morris.Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    The Redskins have the makings of a good offense, but they are not making use of all of their weapons.

    The unit has staple playmakers like running back Alfred Morris and wide receiver Pierre Garcon. They each went over 1,000 yards at their respective positions for the season in Week 14.

    But the problem is they are relied on too much.

    The Redskins have made themselves too easy to defend because every team they face knows where the ball is going. Usually only Morris is going to take a handoff and run the stretch play, while Garcon is almost always the primary target on a pass play.

    Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan doesn't use a versatile runner like Roy Helu Jr. or a "move" tight end like Fred Davis anywhere near enough.

    There is a plethora of weapons around Griffin, but many of them are being left out and it makes little sense.

The Offensive Line Needs Significant Changes

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    The protection around Griffin was again a disaster.
    The protection around Griffin was again a disaster.Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Another week of quarterbacks getting knocked around the field proves the Washington offensive line needs significant changes. The Chiefs, despite missing their top pass-rusher Justin Houston, amassed six sacks against the feeble Washington offensive front.

    A compelling case could be made for changing every starter with the possible exception of left tackle Trent Williams. There are consistent problems in protection at both the middle of the line and on the right side.

    The Redskins need a major infusion of talent on the line during the offseason.

The Special Teams Need a Complete Refresh

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    Kansas City compiled 321 yards and two scores in the return game.
    Kansas City compiled 321 yards and two scores in the return game.Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Offseason resources must also be dedicated to refreshing a special teams unit that was the main reason for another rout. Led by Dexter McCluster and Quintin Demps, the Chiefs compiled 321 yards and two scores in the return game.

    The field-position battle was once again surrendered right from the start. Bad tackling and poorly structured coverage were to blame.

    First-year coordinator Keith Burns has failed to fix his unit's woes, and things have only gotten worse as the season has progressed.

    This phase of the game needs a change in coaching coupled with an effort to find some genuine playmakers.

Poor Fundamentals and Unimaginative Play-Calling Hinder the Defense

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    The defense simply can't tackle.
    The defense simply can't tackle.Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    The Redskins still field a below-par defense because of poor fundamentals and unimaginative play-calling. Coordinator Jim Haslett's players don't get the basics right.

    One of those basics is tackling, something this unit simply can't do well.

    Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles was the latest beneficiary of the Redskins' inability to tackle. He routinely broke through and bounced off feeble hits for big gains. That helped him accumulate 151 rushing yards on 19 carries.

    It was just as disappointing to observe that Haslett didn't have a specific plan for Charles or anything new to show the Kansas City offense.

    He didn't vary things to attack the Chiefs' zone schemes up front. He also didn't unleash any different pressure concepts to baffle quarterback Alex Smith.

    There is a talent deficiency in the secondary, but this defense is strong enough along the front seven to be better than it is.

    Poor coaching is at the root of the problems.

This Team Is Not Being Adequately Prepared

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    Shanahan is not preparing his players to win.
    Shanahan is not preparing his players to win.Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the team is not being adequately prepared for different challenges each week.

    For instance, the O-line had no answers for the Chiefs' array of sophisticated blitzes.

    The Chiefs are a good pressure defense, but that they like to bring extra rushers is no secret. In my look at the possible game plan for the Redskins, identifying and dealing with extra blitzers was highlighted as a priority:

    Of course, for any passing game to work, the Redskins will have to counter the Kansas City blitz schemes. The Chiefs have been more aggressive with their pressure concepts this season under first-year defensive play-caller Bob Sutton.

    The key to beating these schemes will be identifying and picking up potential blitzers. In particular, Sutton loves to send dynamic safety Eric Berry out of various fronts.

    Yet Berry consistently came free on blitzes through the middle. He notched one of the Chiefs' six sacks and was a major threat all game.

    There was no plan in place to help the line pick up Berry or other blitzing defensive backs. Defensively, there was no obvious schematic tweak to attack Charles or the blocking in front of him.

    Not enough is being done to prepare players, and the result is a team out-schemed and outfought on a weekly basis.

The Chiefs Show the Value of Coaching

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    Andy Reid gave Shanahan a coaching lesson.
    Andy Reid gave Shanahan a coaching lesson.Rob Carr/Getty Images

    While things are a mess at the top for the Redskins, the Chiefs showed the value of credible coaching. Andy Reid's turnaround of a 2-14 team has been remarkable.

    He has not been afraid to expand schemes on both sides of the ball and give playmakers more opportunities to thrive.

    Reid has not overhauled his personnel, but he has done much more with them. That is a lesson for the Redskins, who have wasted many of their best talents and who have limited younger players.

    While Shanahan presides over mass dysfunction, the Chiefs look like a stable, well-run organization. All it took was the right coaching change.

It's Time for a Change

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    Shanahan has to go.
    Shanahan has to go.Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Shanahan and his staff have to be shown the door as soon as the season ends. The Redskins need a change in coaching, and it can't come quickly enough.

    Shanahan has overseen a spectacular collapse, even when a slight dip might have been expected with Griffin coming back from a major knee injury.

    Shanahan's constant stream of excuses wore thin a long time ago. His Redskins tenure has been marked by botched decisions and backtracking to avoid blame.

    The latest excuse is already being prepared with rumors of an untenable working relationship with owner Dan Snyder, a notion flatly rejected by the Washington Post's Jason Reid:

    Snyder did more for Shanahan than any coach in his tenure as owner. He gave Shanahan a five-year, $35-million contact and final say over the roster. He permitted Shanahan to hire his son despite his misgivings about father-son coaching tandems.

    Shanahan wanted an indoor-practice facility at Redskins Park. The Redskins’ practice bubble was finished before last season. Shanahan requested better food at the complex. Snyder hired a chef. The weight room wasn’t up to Shanahan’s standards. Snyder struck a deal with Loudoun County to improve it.

    Shanahan preferred to conduct training camp away from Ashburn. Richmond is the Redskins’ new summertime home. Shanahan believes players need time for their bodies to adjust on long trips. The Redskins leave a day earlier than they used to when playing on the West Coast.

    Has Snyder remained completely in the shadows? Of course not. He actively pushed for the Donovan McNabb trade, people in the Redskins organisation say, and was out front on the deal to trade three first round and one second round draft picks to acquire the draft rights for Griffin. Snyder, though, hasn’t coached the team to a 24-37 record in four years. That’s on Shanahan. He owns it.

    Now is the time to push for a quarterback-friendly coach who can salvage the hefty investment made in Griffin. That man could be his former college coach, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora:

    Not only are the struggling Redskins (3-10) losing, there also is a fractured relationship between coach Mike Shanahan and ownership. With Shanahan's partnership with quarterback Robert Griffin III also in peril, the club is likely to part with Shanahan, perhaps as soon as Monday. Once that happens, several league sources believe Baylor's Art Briles will be one of their targets.

    Briles coached Griffin in college and maintains a strong connection with the QB and his family. While Briles recently agreed to an extension to remain at the school, it doesn't render a move to the NFL impossible. Briles proved uniquely able to handle Griffin's ego, unique-playing style and health concerns while at Baylor, and also managed Griffin's parents and inner-circle, who have gone public at times -- voicing issues with Shanahan.

    Whichever specific direction the search for a replacement takes, fresh ideas from a more decisive coach should be the priority.

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