A Redskins For Life—No Matter the Insanity

Len LosalioContributor IDecember 13, 2008

The popular description of “insane” is doing the same thing again and again, expecting a different result each time. 

The Washington Redskins have had this mentality over the past four or five games, giving Clinton Portis less carries and trusting Jason Campbell to win the games with his passing ability. 

Now, with our offensive line injured, our mistakes are even more glaring and obvious.  Our defense has been playing its heart out but has been burned on some mistakes. 

What is the answer to our dilemma? 

Hopefully, this suggestion will be taken to heart.

Ever since the Monday night Steelers game, our running game has been limited in the carries and production departments. Everyone knows when Clinton Portis gets over 100 yards in a game, we will win. It’s been that way for the past few seasons now.

If he has 80+ yards, it can swing either way…win or loss. When he has less than 80 yards in a game, we are definitely losing the game.

Clinton Portis, No. 26, is our workhorse on offense. He is our star, our playmaker, our go-to guy—game in and game out.

So why would you not want to have him run the ball 95 percent of the time? He is the one that can establish the tempo of the game and give the Redskins the momentum needed to win the game and push into the playoffs.

We need to establish the run—and it starts with Clinton Portis.

Jason Campbell is a fine quarterback in the shotgun, or in a more conventional offense, but in Coach Zorn’s West Coast Offense, he is too slow. In the beginning of the season, when our offensive line was healthy and Clinton Portis was racking up 100+ yards per game, it didn’t matter how slow Campbell was.

Now towards the end of the season, when teams have made their adjustments and our offensive line is hurt, it is more evident that our quarterback is not up to the task. 

The argument is that he has gone through several different offenses since his senior year at Auburn. However, at Auburn he used a version of the West Coast Offense to garner an undefeated season. 

Watching Campbell play has been a horrifying experience for a Redskins fan. You can plainly see in his eyes how fast the game is moving around him; it hasn’t slowed down for him yet. 

It has become more evident now that the games are more meaningful. 

Watching the Ravens game last Sunday, you could tell when he was throwing the ball, based on his eyes and shoulder movement. I suspect that this is why his passes were batted at the line on a few plays. The safeties and the corners were jumping the routes based on his eye contact with the receivers.

I don’t doubt that he will eventually become a good quarterback. In my opinion, he needs to be more aggressive and unafraid to make mistakes. 

For the past couple of weeks, the offensive line has taken the brunt of the criticism for the lack of quarterback protection, and rightfully so.  They have looked tired, old, and slow off the ball. Campbell's interceptions, hurries, sacks, and incompletions are—according to us "experts"—blamed on the offensive line’s perceived shortcomings. 

Since the beginning of the season, the offensive line has bought Campbell a few seconds on every pass play. Now, however, the line is banged up and cannot do what they did earlier this season.

Now it seems that we have an old offensive line and we are in need of an infusion of youth. 

How do we remedy this? Double tight ends or having a two-back formation? Having extra protection to pick up the blitz in the backfield seems like a good choice.

We are putting in some new offensive line players that need to learn this offense and the quirks of the quarterback. They need to learn how Campbell reacts to pressure (i.e., move strong side three steps, then back five steps, then strong side seven steps. Or tucks the ball and runs strong side. Or runs backwards.)

All of these quirks, the new offensive players need to learn to better come up with protection for Campbell.

The receiving corps is a strong group with Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly, Chris Cooley, and James Thrash. The wide receivers and tight ends are very good when given the opportunity to showcase their talents.

The ball needs to be delivered to them past the first down line, but in recent games it has not. The plays have been short pass plays that were easily defended. 

Let these receivers run aggressive slants or post routes that allow them to make a few yards after the catch. Let them get behind the linebackers and time it so that the pass arrives just as they get there.

Hit them in-stride so that they can gain some yards. On many a pass, the receivers needed to stop and adjust for the pass, limiting the yards after catch. Give them the opportunity to make the plays.

How do we mitigate the problems at hand? Shotgun? Split-backs? Do nothing and let the chips fall where they may? Should we start Todd Collins based on what he did last year?  Do we start Colt Brennan and let the rookie get some playing time? 

Seems like the "do nothing" thing is what will happen. We will go with the happy medium and do nothing, play the same players, and do the same thing we have done for the past several games—expecting different results.


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