With now a few months under our belts and the first offseason practices under the new coaching staff, it’s time to start to look at what the offense will look like under new coach Jay Gruden. When Gruden was hired the hope was that he could not only take the offense to the next level, but also develop and turn Robert Griffin into the pocket passer that uses his legs as a secondary option. The hiring of Gruden would also lead to a change in the overall philosophy of the team from the old read option heavy offense into more of a true West Coast offense that used the read option at times. With that being said, let’s take a look at what we can expect the offense to look like both in the running game along with in the passing game.
To start off the running game will probably keep many of the same concepts that it’s run under Mike and Kyle Shanahan, but also I would expect to see more of the true power concepts to come out that Gruden used in Cincinnati. While the outside zone and the usual zone stretch did a great job under Shanahan, the expectation is we’ll see more of the inside power run plays and we’ll see the offensive line spend more time straight one on one power blocking as opposed to the usual tandem zone scheme as previously seen. With that in mind it’ll be very interesting to see how Alfred Morris handles the move from the traditional ZBS into more of a power role. What made Morris so effective in the ZBS scheme was his ability to make the cut and turn it into big time plays, with him going more downhill it’ll be worth noting just how he’ll do running to the hole then making that cut back. Look for this part of the offense to look the most different compared to the rest of the offense in the upcoming year.
Now looking at the passing game, I’d expect us to see many of the same concepts in the traditional west coast offense, but also for Gruden to implement more of the true west coast looks that will utilize the many weapons that Washington has on offense. With the addition of DeSean Jackson at WR, the Redskins now truly have 4 targets at WR/TE who can make explosive plays in different ways. With that in mind look for the Redskins to get truly creative in how to get guys open and target the weaknesses in the defenses. For guys like Jackson who can take the top off the defense it makes sense to target him there, but for guys like Reed, Garcon and Roberts they’ll be able to target and take full advantage of the weak spots in zone and over the middle. With that in mind I’d expect to see many multiple WR formations and less of the two WR sets that teams could easily adjust to. This change in philosophy will give a lot of freedom to Griffin to make the line calls and make adjustments as he sees fit based on the defense. Look for the passing game to make the biggest difference from 2013 to 2014. This offense has a chance to be one of the top in football with all of the targets there; it all depends on how fast they can translate the concepts learned into on the field.