Gruden aiming for diversity on offense

Jay Gruden

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Jay Gruden continues to stress the importance of diversity as his offense strives to work out the kinks and carve out an identity.

The starting offense very much remains a work in progress, having gone three preseason games without scoring a touchdown.

Washington demonstrated an ability to run the ball. But the passing game has yet to click with any sort of consistency.

For now, the rushing attack, spearheaded by Pro Bowl back Alfred Morris, represents the strength of the unit, Gruden says. But the coach knows that’s not good enough.

“Our identity needs to be found,” Gruden said on Monday. “What are we going to be? Are we going to be a running team, I guess? I think for us to think we are going to be a straight drop-back passing team is a little naïve. For us to think we are just going to hand it off every time is a little naive.”

Gruden envisions the group developing into a unit that can execute on both fronts, and exploit opponents’ weaknesses. Given the abundance of weapons — Morris, wide receivers Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts, plus tight end Jordan Reed, that goal is realistic, the coach believes.

“I think our identity has to be diversity and we have got to be able to be good at both,” Gruden said. “We have got to be able to run the ball. We have got to be able to get some play-actions off of the run and there are going to be times when we have to do some drop-back. There are going to be times we are down 14 or 17 to nothing where we can’t run the ball. We have to throw the ball, pick up the pace. We need to be pretty good at everything but obviously the strength of our football team at this moment would be, I would say, our running game. We have to continue to work on that and work on handing that ball off and being good at something — really good at something. And I think we are pretty good in the running game.”

Also on The Insider

Brandon Meriweather suspended first two regular-season games