Chain Reactions: Washington Redskins Not At Rock Bottom ... Yet

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

This week's Chain Reactions goes three and out, like the Washington Redskins' offense. We discuss the sorry state of quarterbacks, Dallas week and the lagging running game.

Following last week's loss to the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield said it could get "historically ugly" for his now 3-6 team has lost five straight for the first time in Mike Shanahan's career. At this point Cofield might wish he would have given the Giants the hometown discount. His unit has held up their end of the bargain, but the offense continues to struggle mightily.

 

Last week, the Redskins had 11 plays in the red zone, racking up just nine yards and settling for two field goals and one Rex Grossman interception. Did we mention the Dolphins were winless before beating the Chiefs in Week 9 and now they have won two straight thanks to the sorry Redskins? I understand Cofield's feelings because watching thie team week feels like an all-time low.

However, Rick Snider explains nicely this team is ahead of a "historically ugly" pace.

The 1961 Redskins were the franchise's worst team ever at 1-12-1. They ended that season with a win over the Dallas Cowboys after tying them four weeks earlier. Washington was 1-9-2 in 1960, the final 12-game season. Yes, that makes it a 2-21-3 two-year run.

I feel much better about it the season now. Do you want me to run down the remaining schedule? I didn't think so. The only game they might be favored in the rest of the way is when Minnesota comes to town on December 24.

This week's Chain Reactions is a three and out in tribute to the Redskins' offense. We take a closer look at the sorry state of the Redskins latest QB "controversy," note that it's Dallas week and discuss the run game being stuck in first gear.

QB 'Controversy' Continues

The Redskins offense needed a spark, so Mike Shanahan brought Grossman back in Week 10. The move did not quite have the effect Shanahan hoped, as the team was kept out of the end zone for the second time in three weeks. In a league where most offenses are on steroids, the Redskins' offense is allergic to the end zone.

The saddest part of the day was fans were actually excited it was Grossman and not John Beck under center. Grossman teases you with big throws followed by maddening mistakes, but at least he moves the ball and got Leonard Hankerson involved until he was lost for the season. Sigh.

Beck seems like a heck of a nice guy -- a bit of a brown noser, but a nice guy nonetheless. So of course he's taking the benching like a pro.

"I truly do believe in the phrase that tough times don't last; tough people do. That's something Coach preaches to us, and that's all you can do: keep working, keep believing. So my belief stays the same as it was before."

Beck is no spring chicken. He is already 30 years old and seems really clueless about his situation. I mean, he couldn't beat out Rex Grossman! You are not suddenly going to turn into Tom Brady, although we would settle for John Skelton at this point.

Bottom line is the Redskins No. 1 priority this off-season is getting a franchise quarterback. Probably too late to "Suck for Luck" thanks to the 3-1 start, but this draft could potentially be loaded with big-time quarterbacks. The Redskins need to choose one and choose wisely.

Dallas Week

It is DALLAS WEEK! That used to actually mean a lot more not to say, since fans don't hate the Cowboys and their fans with a passion as much as they used to hate them. Everyone knows a Cowboys fan is usually the kid that was not hugged enough by their parents or not allowed to use the car on their 16th birthday, so they started rooting for the Cowboys to rebel against their parents. Right?

Anyway, Dallas Week used to mean the network's A-team broadcast, but this week it is not even the biggest game in division. That is the Eagles vs. Giants game, which gets the primetime treatment. Redskins fans will be happy to hear that Chris Myers and Tim Ryan will not be doing the game. Instead, the Fox B-team of Kenny Albert and Darryl Johnston will be on hand.

This week's game on paper does not seem like a good setup for the struggling Redskins, as Dallas is finally figuring it out offensively with rookie DeMarco Murray running the ball, Tony Romo healthy and with a new weapon on the outside in Laurent Robinson.

Redskins well their issues on offense are well documented. That did not stop Rex Grossman from talking up this week's match-up.  

Grossman said. "To have the Cowboys coming in here, there's no better team to go against to get everybody fired up and have that extra juice, extra motivation to get this thing turned around."

Certainly, a win over Dallas would go a long way in healing the wounds of the sorry season for everyone in Redskins Nation. However, to think it could actually lead to some kind of playoff run could lead some to think Grossman was hanging out with Fred Davis and Trent Williams during the lockout.

Running Game Stuck in Neutral

The Redskins rushing attack has been a huge disappointment this season. Since Mike Shanahan was hired, it was supposed to be the back bone of the offense. Instead, it is a weekly talking point complaint among fans and media. Is it Kyle Shanahan's fault for not dialing it up more often? Is it the poor offensive line? Or is it the fact the team always seems to be playing from behind?

I know this much for certain: it is really bad. As Rich Tandler lays out it ranks among the worst in franchise history.

The Redskins have rushed for 780 yards this year. That is tied for the sixth-lowest total through nine games in team history and is the second-worst total since the 1966 season.

That one season since the LBJ administration came in 1994. Norv Turner's Redskins started off with 747 yards through nine. For the season, Ricky Ervins ended up as the leading rusher with 650 yards, Brian Mitchell had a career-high 311 and Reggie Brooks kicked in 297.

The Shanahans certainly have to carry a majority of the blame. They are in charge of the offense and continue to lose interest in running or establishing the line of scrimmage on a weekly basis, even when it is going well early. They instead insist on letting incapable quarterbacks drop back and give the game away.

I am not suggesting going John Fox on the situation and hiding the quarterbacks completely, but play to your strengths. Certainly the passing game is not one of them.

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