Washington Redskins’ Running Game Must Get On Track

By Greg Bradshaw
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins look to rebound from a 0-2 start when they face the Detroit Lions Week 3. The Redskins’ offense doesn’t look like the prolific unit from last season that averaged 27 points per game. While Washington’s offense is scoring around 23 points per game in 2013, that average is skewed because they’ve been behind early in each of their first two games.

The Redskins’ running game has been stuck in neutral the first two games, after fielding the NFL’s top rushing unit in 2012. Running back Alfred Morris did rush for 107 yards and average over eight yards per carry against the Green Bay Packers Week 2. However, much of that yardage came in the second half of the contest, with the Redskins down by three scores. At that time, Green Bay was in a more relaxed defensive mode, trying to seal the win without getting anyone hurt.

It doesn’t help that quarterback Robert Griffin III hasn’t been running with the frequency he had last season. It’s hard to tell if it’s a combination of Griffin still trying to deal with the healing process of his right ACL injury, or if opposing defenses have contained him. Whatever the case, Griffin contributed greatly to the Redskins’ rushing attack last season. In 2013, it’s been a different story, as Griffin has rushed for only 25 rushing yards in two games. He’ll need to average at least 25 rushing yards per game if Washington wants to get its first win of 2013.

But I digress. The Redskins need to get their running game going early. Morris will have to earn at least five yards on first down to keep second and third down yardage situations at a manageable distance. In Washington, the run sets up the pass. That’s the key component of the zone read offense the Redskins employed last year, which was the basis of the team’s success.

Washington’s offensive line has a tough task against Detroit, who features a pair of disruptive defensive tackles in Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Redskins’ offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan better construct an efficient game plan that not only capitalizes on Griffin and Morris’ running abilities, but also contains an efficient blocking scheme to keep Suh and Fairley at bay. If Shanahan is successful, the Redskins have a chance to earn their first win of 2013.

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