"Any time you lose some of your valuable weapons that are dynamic playmakers in the pass game, you've always got to adjust," he said. "I think that's what you see good coaches do is you adjust and you figure out ways to try to put your players in the best positions that you can to help those guys succeed on Sundays. That's what we tried to do as a staff this week as we formulated our game plan and hopefully it goes well when we play."
Things changed on Wednesday, however. Williams participated in some individual drills during the early portion of the week's first practice and began experiencing concussion-like symptoms afterward, according to Coach Jay Gruden.
On top of that, what appeared to be a tough schedule in the second half of the season is not a daunting as it originally appeared to be. After they play the Patriots in Foxborough to reach the midway point of their season, they play just three games against teams with winning records. Only one of those games, against the Panthers, is on the road. They play the Bills and Giants at FedEx Field.
All NFL teams battle injuries. But what the Redskins are facing this week borders on ludicrous. Ruled out are: three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams (concussion), starting center Kory Lichtensteiger (shoulder/finger), cornerbacks Chris Culliver (knee) and DeAngelo Hall (toe) and tight end Jordan Reed (concussion). Listed as questionable are running back Matt Jones (toe) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Coach Jay Gruden did not sound overly optimistic about Jones or Jackson. "I told [the team] today, ‘We've got a heck of a team not playing. But we have got a heck of a team playing.' ...We have a job we've got to do and we've got to do it with the able bodies that we have playing."
Ivory's a good back, so that's not a surprise; durability issues have hampered him since entering the NFL in 2010 with New Orleans. He missed 10 regular-season games in both 2011 and '12, but he's averaging 4.7 yards on 699 carries. Ivory does a good job running inside and will press the hole, allowing blocks to be set up. Against Miami, for example, he pressed a hole on the left side, drew the pursuit inside and cut outside for 24 yards. On the next play as they stayed wide, he cut back inside for nine more. When a back attacks the hole as well as Ivory, it forces defenses to commit; then he can cut back. He runs with violence and will take it out on defensive backs.
But to get him going, it will take a couple things. It starts with the blocking; there have been too many backside blocks missed, especially on the right side. And the tight ends haven't helped consistently, either. Against the Rams they were good; against the Falcons they were not. What would help Morris, I think, is more balance on early downs with the play calling. The Redskins' play-action game works best when he's in the lineup: Kirk Cousins has completed 15-of-20 play-action passes when Morris is on the field, according to ESPN Stats & Information.