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NFL Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins’ Offensive Line Needs Complete Overhaul

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins are a team that doesn’t do many things well. In fact, their 3-9 record in 2013 suggests that they’re not even functional doing anything. I’ll take that back. One thing the Redskins can do is run the football. They lead the NFL in rushing yardage, averaging 150 yards per game on the ground. That would suggest that Washington’s offensive line is dominating the line of scrimmage most of the time.

With that said, the Redskins need to make major changes on their offensive line. It seems strange to suggest overhauling an offensive line that is efficient in the running game. What isn’t being considered is that Washington is usually way behind in many of their games, which puts them in constant passing mode in an effort to catch up. Opposing teams can employ a prevent defense to defend against the pass. Simply put, they’ll give quarterback Robert Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris all the running room they need when Washington is trailing 24-0, like they were Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers en route to a 38-20 loss.

Another cause for concern is converting short yardage situations. In Washington’s last two games against the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants, the Redskins failed three times to convert either a third down and one or fourth down and one situation. It’s hard enough for Washington to convert long yardage situations. But it has to be even more demoralizing to fail to convert short yardage situations into first downs.

Giants’ defensive end Justin Tuck earned four of the five New York sacks of Griffin in the Redskins’ 24-17 Week 13 loss to the Giants. Memo to the Redskins: Tuck is pretty good. You might not want to let him get into your offensive backfield and get open shots at Griffin, who happens to be your franchise quarterback.

That’s the biggest indictment of Washington’s offensive line. Griffin has been hit hard all season by opposing defenders. The irony is, these hits are coming while RG3 is in the pocket. Last season, RG3 was criticized for scrambling out of the pocket too frequently. Now I can see why he scrambles: the offensive line can’t keep him upright in an effort to ignite Washington’s passing game.

The upcoming offseason is going to be a tumultuous time for the Redskins, as they try to address their abundance of issues. However, keeping RG3 in one piece should be priority No. 1. If the Redskins’ offensive line can’t do that, then they could be looking for employment elsewhere.