As he worked this week to find a cure for the first-half struggles that have allowed his offense to be outscored 50-0 in the first halves of games, Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan preached clean execution and confidence.
Shanahan remains convinced that the offense can return to the productive form that led it to rank fifth in the league last season, and a productive day and a victory will go a long way towards getting things back on track, he says.
“I feel confident in our guys that we can get out of this,” said Shanahan whose offense currently ranks seventh in the NFL with 804 total yards despite the fact that only 230 of those yards have come in the first halves of their two games. “I’m confident in our players. I’m confident in our coaching staff. Every week I want Sunday to come. It couldn’t come faster, because I want to get this feeling out of us.”
Shanahan said that the Redskins themselves are to blame for having converted only five of 21 third downs for first downs this season. But no one player or position has borne the sole responsibility for the struggles.
“Last week, it was really everybody had their part. Every position had their part, which means every coach had their part. We just weren’t clean,” he said. “Whether it was a penalty, whether it was a drop, whether it was a missed throw, whether it was bad protection, whether it was busted protection, whether it was a bad call, it just wasn’t clean. We had some opportunities and we didn’t execute them, and when you don’t execute them, you can’t stay on the field. We’re just trying to clean it up. You don’t ever feel out there like it’s anything they’re doing where we just can’t get anything going. It’s just one guy after another and you are only as strong as your weakest link, and it seems on third down especially we’ve had a weak link.”
While stressing a greater attention to detail, Shanahan has also reminded his assistants and players to remain confident and not question the system or their abilities.
“You just don’t want guys to lose their confidence,” Shanahan said. “You have to look at the tape and be hard on yourself and you’ve got to really see what the issues are. When the issues you can see on there, it’s one guy here, one guy there, you just try to show the guys that you can still play. You’re still a good team. You’re still a good offense, but if you don’t get it done, if you don’t stay on the field, you’re going to punt. We’ve done that for two first halves now. We’ve finally gotten it going in the third quarter. We’ve got some offense going, but by that time it’s been too late. I’m happy with how the guys have played in the second half, but it really doesn’t mean anything because we have two losses. We really have to make sure that, no matter how the game is, whether it’s we need to win 6-3 or 50-48, that we’re ready for that, and we can get a W.”
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesday.
● The Redskins face the Lions at 1 p.m. at FedEx Field on Sunday.
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