5 Things that can help fix the offense
1. Use the screen game more:
Last year the screen game was a staple of his offense and utilized multiple times each game. This season the screen game has been somewhat of an afterthought. Here are the percentages of passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage over the last two seasons by Robert Griffin III:
Passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage: 2012: 22.1% 2013: 10.8%
That is over a 50% drop in those types of passes, and the sheer number is even worse since the Redskins are passing more in general. What makes no sense is the fact that these passes are still working at a high level. The Redskins are completing 82.8% of these passes and averaging 8.41 yards per attempt, both very strong numbers. If you want to know why Griffin’s completion percentage is down about 6% this year, the lack of a screen game is a big reason why. Yes that yards per attempt number is probably too high, but even if you halved it (which is roughly what it was last year), it would still be cause to utilize screen passes more. In addition to being near automatic completions and helping to move the chains, they are also pretty low risk. Your chances for interceptions go down, as do the chances for sacks or even quarterback hits.
2. Move the pocket more:
Three things should be clear by now to the Redskins: this offensive line isn’t meant to protect in a traditional pocket, RGIII is having problems feeling pressure, and Griffin is at his best on the move. Why the Redskins aren’t utilizing more bootlegs and roll outs is beyond me. We saw in the Bears game (easily Griffin’s best game of the year), just how effective Griffin could be when he could roll out. Not only is Griffin more comfortable on the move than in the pocket, but it is likely going to open some things up defensively that can be exploited by receivers.
Last year the Redskins ran the ball almost 52% of the time. This year that number is down to just over 39% and it’s killing this offense. This team is not built to throw the ball 60% of the time. The line simply isn’t meant to do that, the receivers and tight ends aren’t good enough weapons and the quarterback just isn’t ready to handle that work load. What they are built to do is run the football. The offensive line is better in this area, you have a strong blocking tight end (this year Paulsen is down somewhat in this area), a top fullback, and one of the top 5 running backs in the league in Alfred Morris. Even your quarterback and wide receivers are stronger in the running game. Yet for some reason the Redskins are ignoring the ground game and their most consistent weapon in Morris.
4.Keep some extra protection in to block:
Teams are blitzing Griffin with a lot more consistency this year, and while some of the failures fall on the offensive line, a lot of times teams will bring two defenders in one gap and there is no one to pick up the free man. Griffin isn’t reading the extra pressure well, which is leading him to hold on to the ball too long. The Redskins need to help him out more by keeping backs and tight ends in more to help out, or at least chip the defenders as they come in. The Redskins have to figure out a way to limit this pressure on Griffin, if they want to have an effective passing attack.
5. Mix it up:
Last year the Redskins offense was creative and innovative. This year it is stale and honestly far too predictable. It’s not just the basics of having the read option or the pistol more involved, but the play calls they utilize from there. It’s clear that this offense isn’t talented enough to work out of basic packages and plays. Why not mix it up some. Having Griffin run a little can be part of that, but utilizing some other trick plays or interesting packages could work as well. Why not try some two back sets with both Helu and Morris in the back-field. Use Moss and Helu in some of the ways that Brandon Banks was utilized last year. Basically the Redskins need to do things that defenses aren’t expecting and haven’t practiced all week for.