As Mike Shanahan stood at his post game press conference attempting to explain how his Washington Redskins lost 20-9 the Miami Dolphins for their fifth consecutive defeat, he seemed just about out of answers.
At this point, what is there left to say? Against the Dolphins, his offense didn't cross the plane of the goal line for the second time in three weeks, scoring just nine points and continuing the trend of offensive ineptitude that has defined the team's current skid.
What's worse for the head coach is how he's been trying his damndest in vein to provide a spark, furiously tinkering with the lineup to field a team worthy of earning a W. Among the things he has done recently:
- Alternating tailbacks Ryan Torain and Roy Helu as the starters.
- Moving Will Montgomery from left guard back to center.
- Plugging in rookie Maurice Hurt at left guard.
- Signing free agent Tashard Choice to eventually join the running back rotation.
- Playing street free agent wide receiver David Anderson over incumbents Anthony Armstrong and Terrence Austin.
All of the above being topped off with the most eyebrow-raising move of them all: putting Rex Grossman back under center Sunday, relegating John Beck back to the bench.
But no matter the lineup, it's been the same story: Missed opportunities, mistakes and poor execution.
Despite getting another chance to start, Rex was Rex, showing that while he's far more comfortable in the offense than Beck, he's still mastered the art of committing the spirit-crushing fourth quarter turnover.
He did as much once again Sunday as the Redskins were driving for what could have been the go-ahead score. Down 13-9 near the start of the fourth quarter, the Redskins had first-and-goal from the Dolphins' 10-yard line. Grossman stared down his receiver Jabar Gaffney as he threw his way, giving Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby an easy read to intercept the pass and take away Washington's best chance to score the rest of the afternoon. It was the game's decisive play.
And with that, the man who claimed before the season that his reputation would rest on the arms of Grossman and Beck had seen his statement completely backfire on him. No matter which passer Shanahan uses, the decision continues to blow up in his face after each ineffective outing. It's been bad enough that Shanahan has duped the public on multiple occasions, endorsing one quarterback publicly while privately preparing the other to start the following week. But his deception has now been compounded by the fact that he's been proven flat-out wrong in his endorsement of both passers.
As for the rest of the offense, the crystal-clear lack of depth has been there for all to see, and opponents are gladly taking advantage of it. Injuries are a part of the NFL, and the Redskins have certainly been bit by the injury bug. But before the season started, when everyone was healthy, depth was still viewed as a major concern for this team. The Redskins chose to focus on the defensive side of the ball in the draft and free agency, bringing in notable additions that clearly upgraded that group. But hindsight being 20/20, offensive depth, particularly along the line, could have been an area they addressed with more urgency.
To be cliche: the Redskins offense is what it is this season. It's gotten to the point where fan displeasure has sounded like a broken record for over a month now. They're ready to start Youtube-ing their favorite NCAA quarterback, envisioning what a functional offense could look like once the team drafts one of college's top signal callers.
But perhaps the worst part about the debacle that is the Redskins offense -- for fans, media, and perhaps team itself -- is that there are still seven weeks left in the season. Shanahan has made his bed with his personnel decisions this year, no matter what roster adjusting he chooses to do from here on out. Now he has to witness his failures play out for seven more weeks.
Let the season-ending countdown begin. That is, if it hasn't started already.
For more on the Washington Redskins, check out SB Nation's Redskins blog Hogs Haven. For more on the Redskins vs. Dolphins game, visit this StoryStream. For more on the Dolphins, visit SB Nation's Dolphins blog The Phinsider.