The first team offense used some pretty innovative sets when they practiced red zone situations at the final open camp practice Tuesday. Near the end zone, they frequently spread out in four or five receivers to stretch the defense across, then allowed RG3 to search for an opening in the line to dart through. On one play, Griffin swept out right as if to run only to dump it off almost like a shovel pass to Santana Moss who was cutting shallowly through the middle across his face. Moss caught the ball and stepped just inside the pylon for the score to complete a neatly executed play. On another, RGIII pitched to Helu out of the pistol option, and Helu, despite bobbling the pitch slightly, was able to turn the corner and duck in to the endzone. They ran several of these option, get RGIII out of the pocket, almost gadget plays in practice. The touchdown in the first preseason game on the screen pass to Pierre Garcon hinted at their willingness to be more creative in trying to get the full six points out of drives when they get close, and what I saw Tuesday only reinforced this notion.
The Skins success in scoring touchdowns when they get close will be key to any improvement in their overall record.
Every diehard Redskins fan can tell you anecdotally about their team’s chronic red zone struggles, but the data backs it up as well. Last year, the Redskins finished the season ranked 2nd in the NFL in field goals attempted, but just 26th in overall scoring. This contradictory stat shows that the offense had success moving the ball and generating yards, but lacked the talent, execution or maybe will to make big plays when it mattered most. Since they could move the ball last year with the relative ease they showed at times with Rex Grossman at quarterback, I believe the ceiling for this Redskins’ offense this year is much higher than most people do. But this will only be so if they are able to be more efficient at scoring touchdowns when they get to the red zone. Being a little more creative and finding ways to get RG3 a bit of space in which to operate in seems a good strategy to attack this long suffered weakness.