Redskins repeatedly having problems running ball, tackling
Nov. 25, 2015
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — They are a couple of oft-repeated refrains in this latest mediocre season for the Washington Redskins: Why can't the team's offense run the ball? Why can't its defense seem to tackle properly?
And, starting Sunday against the visiting New York Giants, if the rest of Washington's games are going to be competitive — indeed, if they are going to matter much at all — Jay Gruden, the rest of the coaching staff and the players need to figure out some answers.
"It's a one-game season for us," Gruden said after practice Wednesday.
Back when these NFC East rivals met for the first time this season, in Week 3, the Redskins managed to gain only 88 yards on the ground, rookie running back Matt Jones lost a fumble, and they gave up seven catches and a TD apiece to Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle in a 32-21 loss to the Giants that wasn't really that close.
Those very same issues are still cropping up for Washington (4-6), which can pull into a tie atop the division by beating New York (5-5).
"Our job is to try to fix what our problems are, and we are trying to do that. Whether it's scheme or whether it's personnel, it's our job to figure out what those problems are," Gruden said.
"And there's some things the players have to fix. Obviously the fundamentals of tackling and protecting the football and things of that nature they have to fix."
In its most recent outing, a 44-16 loss at unbeaten Carolina, Washington ran for 14 yards — yes, you read that right: 14. Jones fumbled, part of a five-turnover day for the offense. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton set a career high with five touchdown passes.
"I feel like there's a lot we can learn from this past game and it's going to make us better in the long run," said Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was intercepted once and lost two fumbles against Carolina. "In this league, every week is a test. Some don't go the way you want."
The Redskins began the season by running well, with Jones and Alfred Morris each registering a 100-yard game in the first two weeks. Starting against the Giants, though, they've regressed quite a bit and Washington now ranks 25th in the 32-team league on the ground.
The minus-five turnover differential for the season is another recurring theme.
And so is a defense that hasn't really had much luck stopping any opponent for a full 60 minutes since Week 1.
"We're in the position to be tied for first place in the division," defensive lineman Kedric Golston said, "but at the end of the day, we've got to fix the stuff we need to fix."
Notes: The NFL announced Wednesday that the Redskins could become the first team to play twice in London in a season — in consecutive weeks. Washington will face the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 30 at Wembley Stadium and, depending on its final record this season, could face the St. Louis Rams a week earlier at Twickenham Stadium. "I really could (not) care less at this time. ... We'll deal with that in the offseason," Gruden said. ... LT Trent Williams did not practice because of a knee injury, but when asked whether he expects to play Sunday, replied: "Definitely." ... Others sitting out Wednesday included CB Chris Culliver (MRI on his shoulder) and S Trenton Robinson (hamstring). ... RB Alfred Morris practiced with what Gruden said was a bruised rib. ... Williams and WR DeSean Jackson both announced charitable efforts; Williams' is for diabetes, Jackson's for pancreatic cancer.
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