Running Back Not A Position Of Concern For Redskins Offensive Overhaul
It’s not a big secret that the Washington Redskins (Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen specifically) have their work cut out for them in regards to fixing things on the offensive side of the ball.
On more than one occasion. various members of the staff have alluded to (or flat out said) the plan in year one and two of the ShanAllen rebuild was to institute a 3-4 styled defense. Conventional wisdom would say that in a rebuild you would spend an offseason on the defensive side and a year on the offensive. For this reason, most people (fans and owners) expect serious improvement in year three of a new staff and system.
Sadly, I don’t expect the same for the Shanahan regime.
To say Mike Shanahan has grossly underestimated how bad things were (in regards to the level of talent he actually had) to work with in DC, is an understatement on every level imaginable. The roster he inherited was not only a complete train wreck, it was overloaded with outrageous contracts, that had there not been a labor dispute, (which destroyed the salary cap) they would still be dealing with cap problems caused by Randel El esque deals.
Then take into consideration the fact that the front seven of this defense was in no way built to play the 3-4 – and what you have here is a one-year setback in rebuild.
Just for the sake of argument, lets call year one (2010) the trimming of the fat, year two (the 2011 season) the true rebuild of the defense, and this year the rebuild of the offense. While most rebuilds typically have a rebuilt defense and offense with a year of learning the system under its belt, the Redskins have not had the same luxury, and have in fact been hindered by the lack of OTAs and Mini Camps for players to master the system.
It’s a tough situation, but it’s the reality this team must deal with. Luckily for Shanahan, he has the support of Dan Snyder to give him the full five-years to build a winner (or so he thinks).
As we enter the off season, we are expecting the major emphasis to be on the offense, but the truth is, there’s still a TON of work to be done.
Going into this past-season I felt pretty good about the RB group. Tim Hightower had set the world on fire in the preseason, and after a good 2010 season, Ryan Torain had me feeling pretty good about our depth.
Flash forward to a blown Hightower ACL, and the release of Torain after a pitiful 2011 campaign – you are left with the rookie duo of Roy Helu and Evan Royster.
Helu finished the year with 640 yards rushing and two TDs, despite only rushing the ball more than 5 times in 10 games. Royster, who spent most the season on the practice squad, added 328 yards, shying the duo of 1,000 combined yards for the rookie backfield.
I’m not trying to paint a picture which has have Barry Sanders and a young Ladanian Tomlinson carrying the rock, but to keep things in perspective, if Hightower does not return 100% (or comes back with the Redskins), I am completely confident that we have two young guys that are a textbook fit for what Shanahan wants.
Both have great vision and a burst that makes them deadly in the zone blocking scheme. The only complaint I have is neither guy shows the break away speed in the open-field that would take them from good backs to elite.
Lucky for the Skins, Shanahan has never needed an elite guy to build a winner.
With the focus on the offense this year, it’s nice to know that they don’t need to spend a lot of time (if any) finding a back to carry the load.