The Washington Redskins have had another year of terrible attrition with injuries. While relatively healthy during September and October the Redskins jumped out to a 5-2 start. Once the calendar hit November the injury bug hit the team in full force. Against the Atlanta Falcons, the team lost three offensive lineman, two for the season in guards Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao. After a win on the road against the Tampa Bay Bucs, the Houston Texans game saw the gruesome injury to quarterback Alex Smith which we have now found out is career threatening. After a fairly clean game on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys another round of massive injuries hit the team on Monday Night Football including losing both guards again and a broken leg for backup quarterback of Colt McCoy.
Finishing that game was newly signed Mark Sanchez, who had only two weeks in the burgundy and gold. Overall Sanchez wasn’t bad in relief duty: 13 for 21 for 100 yards and one interception, for a guy with zero reps with the first team and two weeks in the offense. Now Sanchez is getting a crash course on the offense trying to catch up.
As we have said with both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, the Redskins need to run the ball more. Adrian Peterson, a healthy Chris Thompson, and Kapri Bibbs should get 30 carries and 40 touches total. Since the New York Giants are expecting the run the Redskins should vary formations, lineup two running backs on plays, confuse the defense of the Giants.
Another way of helping Sanchez is moving the pocket, more rollouts and screens to the running backs and to Jordan Reed. Jordan Reed needs to get upwards of ten targets in various ways against the Giants. Josh Doctson, who is playing better needs touches as well. Coach Gruden needs to game plan these things in advance for Sanchez.
The Giants won a big game last week against a first place Chicago Bears team. The Giants put star safety Landon Collins on IR this week and announced that start wide receiver Odell Beckham wouldn’t play because of a quad injury. The game plan should be load the box and stop Saquan Barkley and make Eli Manning beat you throwing the football.
The Redskins stand at 6-6, solidly in the playoff picture with four games remaining. None of the current players are thinking about tanking out the season. Too much hard word, blood sweat and tears given up to worry about draft position. Players play to win the games that are in front of them. Coach Gruden, who might be coaching for his job needs to create a plan and motivation for this team. Can the Redskins win with Sanchez as the starting quarterback, yes they can. Now will the pieces around him do what they need to do, that’s the question to be answered.