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Tracee Hamilton - Sports Columnist

Redskins Lack for Offense, Not for Drama

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By Tracee Hamilton
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The second-worst news for the Redskins on Sunday -- after their 20-17 loss to Carolina -- was Kansas City's overtime loss to Dallas. That leaves the Chiefs still without a victory, and as we all know, the Redskins are the amuse-bouche of choice for the winless.

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It'll be hard to top last week at Redskins Park -- bickering backfield mates, a new offensive consultant, a suddenly silent defensive coordinator, all capped by a loss to an 0-3 team -- but if any team can put the fun in dysfunctional, it's this one.

If Sunday's offensive performance is the result of "another set of eyes," then quick, where are the blindfolds? Perhaps this could be Washington's take on the Terrible Towel: Issue a black scarf and a cigarette to every fan brave enough -- or angry enough -- to attend Sunday's game.

Don't get me wrong: I don't think Sunday's offensive, uh, performance can be laid at 67-year-old Sherman Lewis's door. He's been "another set of eyes" -- is that what it says on his business card? -- for less than a week (roughly the same amount of time on the job as half of the Redskins' offensive linemen). But when the Fox TV cameras panned up to the coaches' box Sunday for a shot of "another set of eyes," I half-expected to hear that thumping bass and see that stack of money from the Geico commercials. (Update: Dan Snyder just called Geico to check on the money's availability. Or the gecko's.)

Lewis has rings; he's the Sauron of the NFL, for heaven's sake. But he's been away from the league for five years. He probably thinks the Wildcat offense is something Goldie Hawn drew up for Woody Harrelson. (Update: Dan Snyder just diverted Redskins One to California to meet with Hawn.) I have to think that Lewis spent his flight back to D.C. on Sunday evening thinking, "I gave up delivering Meals on Wheels for this?"

God knows what Zorn was thinking. He was as down Monday as I've seen him this season. "I feel bad," he admitted. "I'm hurting." He's employed for at least another week, but at this point, he's hanging on like a guy trying to win one of those free cars at a dealership. His arm's gotta be getting tired.

I know Lewis is an expert on the West Coast offense, but what the Redskins are running these days isn't really a West Coast offense, is it? The Redskins' offense is to Bill Walsh's 49ers as "Mystic Pizza" is to "Mystic River." Truthfully, I don't think there's a name for what the Redskins are running. Or maybe there is, but not a nice name. Not a name I can repeat.

Maybe, given time, Lewis will be able to help. Zorn describes the relationship, after less than a week, this way:

"It's still early, but I am working on some assignments for him. He's very willing. He's trying to get up to speed; he's really devoting a lot of time to playbook and video to do that. And as he gets the terminology down, then he'll be able to speak on it more freely. He certainly will be utilized in many different ways."

According to wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, Lewis is sitting in on meetings but not speaking at them. "Not yet at least," said Kelly, who did have a little one-on-one with Lewis.

"I talked to him just because he was out there when Jerry Rice was out there" in San Francisco, Kelly said. "He was giving me little pointers and things like that, little things to work on. Just, you know, another set of eyes looking at everybody."

It always comes back to the eyes. My original set was just hoping to see some improvement Sunday, something between what we saw against, say, St. Louis and the "All the Single Ladies" dance number from "Glee." (Fox is missing some great synergy by not requiring all NFL teams to add that routine to the playbook. It wouldn't be any worse than forcing players, coaches and officials to wear those ridiculous throwback costumes.)


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