March 2, 2009

Defense Is Set, Your Turn Offense!

The Washington Redskins have added through free agency and have four picks left in the draft.

All of this offseason front office preparation will be meaningless if the offense can't get off the ground.

Spin it anyway you want, but the Redskins have struggled, mired in mediocrity since the early nineties all because of offensive futility.

Blame it on anyone you want, this edition of the Redskins will yet again struggle if the offense can't snap out of its funk.

Everyone has an opinion. It's Jason Campbell because of long release or lack of fire; it's the offensive line being too old; it's the receivers not getting open; it's bad play calling by Jim Zorn; etc.

Really all of the criticisms come into play as legitimate issues. They all add up to one incredibly anemic offense.

But there's a remedy.

And it's called success.

Hearken back to early last year when Campbell unleashed a 67-yard bomb to Santana Moss for the game-winning TD against New Orleans. After that play, the offense caught fire. It rolled through Arizona, Dallas, and Philly. It was efficient and imaginative.

Then it crawled back into it's shell. Gone were the big plays and the seamless balance that Jim Zorn had seemingly mastered. It didn't come back out.

The Dallas game was the height of Zorn's aggressiveness. He brought out plays I hadn't seen the 'Skins ever run. He stretched the field and kept the defense on its heels.

The offense had confidence which was a byproduct of its success. And then for whatever reason, everything just stopped.

The passive offense was back against St. Louis and was back to stay.

So how can the 'Skins regain this success?

It really only takes a big play as evidenced by the Moss TD last year. The weapons just need to get the vibe that they can't be stopped.

However, the weapons need to develop and quickly. Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas have a lot riding on them. Moss can't do it by himself. He needs a consistent target on the other side.

The 'Skins can only watch and wait in regards to their young receivers. They can't afford another top receiver, so either Thomas or Kelly must become a top receiver. The 'Skins used two second rounders on these guys. They were highly touted coming out of school.

Thus far, they haven't done anything. Kelly barely hit the field while Thomas looked far from NFL ready during his playing time.

But if the Skins want to see some offensive success, their development is crucial.

The defense is a strong unit capable of setting the offense up nicely throughout the year. I would hate to see it wasted.

In addition, the 'Skins made a solid move in picking up G Derrick Dockery. Dockery knows the Skins blocking schemes and is a big, young player. He'll be a nice upgrade at LG over Pete Kendall.

That's a step in the right direction, but right tackle is still a big need. Should the 'Skins keep their No. 13 first round pick they will most likely be able to pick one of the draft's four top tackles (Jason Smith, Andre Smith, Eugene Monroe, or Michael Oher).

If the 'Skins trade down, they will still be able to add depth along the interior by adding Alex Mack, Duke Robinson, or Max Unger. Other tackles like Alex Boone and Eben Britton might be available later on as well.

Even if Washington can upgrade their line through the draft, they still have to sit back and pray they made the right choices. Development is the key for the offense. We know Clinton Portis can play. We know Moss and Chris Cooley can play.

It's all about whether Campbell, Kelly, Thomas, Fred Davis, and the additions on the line can perform well on a consistent basis. From what I've seen, I question whether they can do this.

With all the money put into this team, it would be very much like the Redskins to fail. They will if their young offensive players don't take the next step.

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