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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Kyle Shanahan says rushing struggles are "huge factor"

By Jason Reid

In the 17-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Redskins rushed for just 29 yards and had only a 2.2-yard average.

Against the NFL's fifth-ranked rushing defense, the Redskins' longest gain was four yards. Washington is 26th in rushing with a 90.7-yard average, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is not pleased about the situation.

"Not getting the running game going is a huge factor," Shanahan said Thursday at Redskins Park. "We felt good about it in the first half. Going against that defense, if anyone has played them in the last five years, they are pretty stout against the run. But you've definitely got to keep them off balance.

"I thought we did a decent job of that in the first half. I think we were 12 runs [11] and 19 passes, but once we got into the second half, we only had 20 plays in the second half. It is tough to really maintain a running game when you only have 20 plays. When you are down two scores going into the fourth, the game doesn't really allow us to get the running game going."

Veteran running back Clinton Portis underwent abdomen and groin surgery Tuesday and is on season-ending injured reserve. Second-year player Ryan Torain, who has not played since the second quarter of Week 8, is still bothered by a lingering hamstring injury and missed practice the last two days.

The Redskins face the NFC East-leading New York Giants on Sunday at New Meadowlands Stadium, and it appears rookie Keiland Williams and second-year back James Davis will shoulder the load again.

The Giants rank second overall in the NFL on defense, giving up an average of 286.5 yards. Their opponents are averaging 100.2 yards rushing - tied for the league's ninth-lowest total.

Davis led the Redskins with only six carries against Minnesota. Coach Mike Shanahan and Kyle are expected to take an extended look at the former Clemson standout, whom "we didn't really have a chance to give" many carries, Kyle said. "On some of the carries he had, he didn't have much room.

"He had one, he had a good chance to go, and he got a little bit tripped up. But no, there was no final evaluation [of Davis]. We see a good runner in practice. Once we can get him going, I expect to see that in games."

By Jason Reid  | December 3, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Kyle Shanahan, Running backs  
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Next: Rookie Terrence Austin gets his chance

Comments

"Not getting the running game going is a huge factor," Shanahan said.

Didn't seem to be a problem when they threw it 8 times on the opening drive.

Posted by: goose33 | December 3, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

More like the factor.

Without a running game, there is no play action, without play action you can't keep the defense honest, can't keep the defense honest they'll have their way with you.

Posted by: RedDMV | December 3, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"He had one, he had a good chance to go, and he got a little bit tripped up. But no, there was no final evaluation [of Davis]. We see a good runner in practice. Once we can get him going, I expect to see that in games."

By Jason Reid | December 3, 2010; 10:00 AM ET

Terrific...another great "practice" player.

Posted by: PlayAction | December 3, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

pfunk, disagree on Ward...he's 30 and if everyone up here is so staunchly opposed to the likes of Brian Westbrook and CP because of age, then that same concern applies to Ward--who by the way will be looking for his 4th team in about 3 years.

As for "Lights Out", the light may be out on his career. If we get him for a vet minimum contract, I'd love that...so long as we don't rely on him to be an every down starter, it's a no risk/high reward kinda scenario. Plus he grew up in the shadow of FedEx Field and we know how RI loves local products. I think his relationship with LaVar might prevent him from coming here, but if he has no other takers we could do a lot worse.

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 3, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Kyle has been one of the bigger disappointments to me this year...I expected much more out of him this year than what's been put out there...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 3, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Kyle has been one of the bigger disappointments to me this year...I expected much more out of him this year than what's been put out there...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 3, 2010 10:21 AM
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

agreed!!!

Posted by: jimmy_the_crickett | December 3, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

man, seems like a sure way to illicit a new thread is for me to post something...

from the last thread:

moe, you said,
"He's [b.banks] essentially limited to returning kicks in a modern NFL where what you want is a speed guy who can play multiple positions: wr/running back/returner/slot receiver/wildcat."

naah... sure he looks like a kid out there, but one doesn't have to be big to get open. he can be a receiver. agreed he's not gonna be good for every kind of route. he's not suited for those end-zone over-the-top fade routes or the "jump-ball" type passes, but "find the seam in the zone" or "go deep", then "fake deep and stop" - he can do that. the question here is whether it's worth the injury risk given how good he is a returns. frankly, i say "yes". get him the ball in space several times a game.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | December 3, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Since we're the same person, we'll take:
Redskins 24
G-boys 20

Posted by: monk811 | December 3, 2010 10:18 AM

Cosign

Posted by: PlayAction | December 3, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

It's like Groundhog Day. This same article could have been written last year.

The funny thing is, McNabb is now supposed to be benefitting from a complementary running game that he supposedly didn't get in Philly.

Instead, the Iggles are benefitting from years of stability that the Skins haven't had in eons.

Posted by: Alan4 | December 3, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of 'hybrid' or speed players, here's a kid--a NCAA ranked sprinter--who might be worth keeping an eye on:

UF, Jeffery Demps 5-8 190 lbs.

Compare to:

Brandon Banks 5-7 160 lbs.

Darren Sproles 5-6 190 lbs.

Percy Harvin 5-11 184 lbs.

Devin Hester 5-11 190 lbs.


Again: I like Banks like the next man.

But I'd still be on the lookout for another 'hybrid' speed type guy.

Posted by: MistaMoe | December 3, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Bring back Bingo Sherm the play caller!

At least he knew how to adjust his play calling to account for realities on the field.

The Shanahans-squared are so arrogantly convinced of the soundness and integrity of their schemes -- and despite all evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: Vic1 | December 3, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Kyle has been one of the bigger disappointments to me this year...I expected much more out of him this year than what's been put out there...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 3, 2010 10:21 AM

Can't put that all on Kyle. He has a pretty good track record (albeit short.) Gotta put a lot of that on the players failures and his distrust of giving them more than they can handle. IMO

Posted by: scampbell1975 | December 3, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Can't put that all on Kyle. He has a pretty good track record (albeit short.) Gotta put a lot of that on the players failures and his distrust of giving them more than they can handle. IMO

Posted by: scampbell1975 | December 3, 2010 10:34 AM


Agree. It's easy to say KS isn't doing what he did in Houston, but you also have to factor in that the doesn't have an offensive line, Andre Johnson, or Matt Schaub in Year 3 of mastering the offense. The Skins haven't been epic awful on offense this year and I'm still withholding judgement until next year.

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 3, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

scamp, I think a lot of it does fall on Kyle...there seems to be a lack of adjustments to what the defense is doing last weeks game is a prime example, they came out in the first drive and looked as good as they have all year, after that, look like the crap that we've come to expect from this team....now either the defense changed to stop what they were doing, or he changed the playcalling, but either way, none of what they did worked from then on......

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 3, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Here's an offbeat poll question for a semi-slow morning. Who is this season's biggest disappointment so far? Some might say #5. I would disagree. He doesn't look that much different than he did last year, so I'm not disappointed. Brown? Rabach? Maake?

Personally I might vote for Moore. After coaches and teammates raved about his play in camp, I've yet to see him show much to prove he is an NFL starter.

Posted by: NYPDee | December 3, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

MistaMoe said: "Brandon Banks 5-7 160 lbs"

He's 160 now? Wiki has him listed at 149 lbs. NFL.com has him listed at 150 lbs. Many say he's not as big as listed.

When did this bulking up occur?


Posted by: Alan4 | December 3, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

pfunk, disagree on Ward...he's 30 and if everyone up here is so staunchly opposed to the likes of Brian Westbrook and CP because of age, then that same concern applies to Ward--who by the way will be looking for his 4th team in about 3 years.

As for "Lights Out", the light may be out on his career. If we get him for a vet minimum contract, I'd love that...so long as we don't rely on him to be an every down starter, it's a no risk/high reward kinda scenario. Plus he grew up in the shadow of FedEx Field and we know how RI loves local products. I think his relationship with LaVar might prevent him from coming here, but if he has no other takers we could do a lot worse.

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 3, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Ward sucks and has a history of injuries, we'd be better off getting Bush from the Raiders. And we had a chance to pick up Merriman when the 'Bolts let him go but Buffalo was the only team that picked him up.

We need to go after REAL FA's like:
Jackson WR
Holmes WR
Bush RB
Harrison RB
Mankins G
Dahl G
Ellis DE
Ngata NT
Houston CB
Bailey CB
Woodley LB

Posted by: monk811 | December 3, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

It's hard to get a running game going with three centers and no guards.

Posted by: bangkokben | December 3, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Who is this season's biggest disappointment so far?"

I'd make this a group award to the 2nd round draft class of 2008--Thomas, Kelley and Davis.

If they develop properly, Galloway and Roydell never join the roster.

I have to include FDavis just because he's been underutilized. This group could have really transformed the offense, but it's still a little hard to judge them until you have a decent OL that can allow enough time for offensive plays to develop.

Posted by: Alan4 | December 3, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

as much as id like to blame kyle, mike or jim, i just cant do it. The Shanny's regardless if you like their demeanor or not have no oline at all, so blaming kyle or mike is not yet warranted, i believe.

have they made the greatest calls, absolutely not, but again they are working w/ s h i t here and until they rebuild to their standards, we cannot judge

maybe this is the rebuilding year, but next year expect the knife and sword if the team does not get better

but so far we have beat dallas and philly, if we can beat the giants atleast once, i will consider this year a mild success

even though we demand championships in the burgundy and gold

Posted by: retroskins14 | December 3, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps Kyle Shanahan had just smoked a big rock before he said this in April.

"I'm real excited about our offensive line," he said. "You know, I mean, they talk about that that's been a weakness and stuff, but I don't see it on tape and I don't see it on the field. We've got some real good players. I think we've got some big guys who aren't just big guys who stand still -- we got some big guys who can move."

Or maybe he is a TERRIBLE evaluator of offensive line talent.

Posted by: Rocky420 | December 3, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

We need to go after REAL FA's like:
Jackson WR
Holmes WR
Bush RB
Harrison RB
Mankins G
Dahl G
Ellis DE
Ngata NT
Houston CB
Bailey CB
Woodley LB

Posted by: monk811 | December 3, 2010 10:44 AM

As far as Olinemen Ryan Harris (Denver RT) is a strong possibility to hit FA. He did well under Shanny. Ryan Kiel (sp) (Panthers Center) will hit the market IMO. He's looking to be paid Carolina probably won't ante up.

Posted by: TWISI | December 3, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Many of the issues so far have been due to lack of execution in crucial situations...on offense defense and special teams...this is an adjustment period for EVERYONE in the Redskins organization. We can second guess Shanny and Kyle til we're blue in the face...but bottom line is we could be 6-5 or 7-4 (dare I say 8-3)right now if the players just made some simple plays that they didn't execute...and we ARE NOT a 7-4 ball club right now! (that one was for you MColeman)

Posted by: PlayAction | December 3, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Here's an offbeat poll question for a semi-slow morning. Who is this season's biggest disappointment so far?

Posted by: NYPDee | December 3, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I'd have to say beep-beep, those dive ass fries I got last night were NASTY, and he's not doing that good of a job lately of running the blog, the inmates are starting to run the prison warden!!!

Oh, you mean football disappointment not RI disappointment! I'd say it's, and this is hard for me to say cause I think he's my favorite current player, Chris Cooley. He was injured last year, he got injured a little AGAIN this year, and he's dropped a lot of passes this year, and it wasn't just this last game against the Vikings, he's dropped a couple every game all year long. Pick it up Captain Chaos, we need you!!!

Posted by: monk811 | December 3, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

retro, a good/great coach can take chicken bleep, and make chicken salad...if the Oline sucks, and it does, then do something about it, don't just have mcnabb under center, and magically think that a 7 step drop wont produce any pressure...roll him out, move him around do SOMETHING different so that he's not a sitting duck...

brown, this offense has been putrid all year long save for the houston game...it goes in fits and starts...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 3, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Alan4

I got the hieght-size from espn.com.

My bulking up comes from a steady diet of b.s..

Posted by: MistaMoe | December 3, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 3, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse


Ward - He has logged about 600 career touches (by comparison, CP has logged about 2500 career touches), which makes him a "young" 30 in football years. In the Houston zone-blocking scheme, he's averaging 6 yards a carry and has 3TDs on 38 carries. I think Ward could be a very sneaky pickup. We don't need to break the bank for him, but he can definitely be a lead back in a platoon-style running game that Shanny likes.

For Merriman, the catch (for me) is an incentive-laden contract - which isn't too much to demand given his injury history.

Posted by: p1funk | December 3, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Rocky420 @ 10:53 AM:


...or both!

Posted by: Alan4 | December 3, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Boy, if I got a dollar for every time Greg uses the term "adjustments"...

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 3, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Ward sucks and has a history of injuries, we'd be better off getting Bush from the Raiders. And we had a chance to pick up Merriman when the 'Bolts let him go but Buffalo was the only team that picked him up.

We need to go after REAL FA's like:
Jackson WR
Holmes WR
Bush RB
Harrison RB
Mankins G
Dahl G
Ellis DE
Ngata NT
Houston CB
Bailey CB
Woodley LB

Posted by: monk811 | December 3, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse


I floated the MIchael Bush idea before the season started. He's younger than Ward, but there's nothing about his career that indicates he's head/shoulders better than Ward - at least Ward has shown he can be a 1000 yard back in the league. Bush, BTW, also had an injury history.

VJax - been over that with a fine-tooth comb. The price needs to be right. He's overrated IMO.

Holmes - Will re-up with NYJ. He's emerged as their top wideout.

Bush - see above

Jerome Harrison - Wait, he counts as a "real" FA, but Derrick Ward doesn't??

Mankins - Will kiss and make-up with Pats.

Dahl - no comment, does he fit zone-blocking?

Ellis - GIve him a look, but price needs to be right. He's 33 and he gets nicked up alot.

Ngata - WOuldn't mind spending money on him. Need NT to make this defense work and Maake is NOT the answer.

Houston - Will prob re-up w/ Lions

Bailey - interesting b/c of ties to Shanny, but he's not a Snyder fan and wanted to leave DC...not sure why he'd want to return at this point. WOuldn't pay him alot.

Woodley - Would love to bring him in.

Posted by: p1funk | December 3, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

i agree bean with the playcalling aspect, it's been poor along w/ the lack of adjustments and the shanny's stubborn way of doing things

but i dont agree w/ turning chicken s h i t into chicken salad, the is the League, you cant magically make rabach block well, it's just not going to happen

phil jackson is the zen master b/c jordan was the best player of all time

belicheck is a master b/c brady is one of the greatest qb's of all time

you need great coaching and good/great players to win in this league

sometimes in poker if ur dealt a shatty hand u need to fold and wait for the next hand, u can try to bluff, which is what we've been doing and we've been called out on it and our hole cards suck

give him another year even though he's a lil stubborn f u c k

Posted by: retroskins14 | December 3, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: scampbell1975 | December 3, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

pfunk, nobody's gonna give Merriman anything more than that so he'll have options so long as he's not delusional about what his market value is.

Agree to disagree on Ward...he's definitely better than what we have, just sayin' that A) he doesn't fit the mold of us getting younger and B) he just got cut by Tampa in favor of a undrafted rookie (even though Blount is a beast). I wouldn't be mad if we got him but I wouldn't be ecstatic either.

Greg, I'm not sure what you were expecting from this offense...they have no line, a QB learning a new offense for the first time in a dozen years and they've had to throw undrafted slappies onto the field at RB. I'm not sure what part of that equation leads you to believe this team is capable of anything beyond what you've seen, regardless of how the Shanahans have looked in the past...

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 3, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but having Portis and Torain back wouldn't have mattered. What is needed is an offensive line that can run block, not a star running back.

Posted by: ch4gas | December 3, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I still waiting for the improved redskins Mr. Shanny, where is the playoff potential. I am hearing excuses for the running backs, switching from a solid 4-3 to b...s..t 3-4 for turnovers which was a huge mistake now moaning from Mike and Kyle about personnel. So if we only win one more game, should we have used our #1 pick on SB instead of trading for Mcnab and let JC and Grossman handle the load? Are we destined for another 2-3 yease of rebuilding then coaching changes time will tell

Posted by: MPWTIAN | December 3, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Jackson WR-- wants to stay in warm weather...

Holmes WR-- jets will lock him up...

Bush RB-- has to stay health before getting a huge contract...

Harrison RB-- is a back up for a reason... does show flashes though...

Mankins G-- perfect tough no nonsense road grader the skins need..

Dahl G-- no...

Ellis DE-- old.. no...

Ngata NT-- will be franchised!!!

Houston CB-- no... can find better cb's in the draft...

Bailey CB-- definitely... bring him home!!!

Woodley LB-- will be franchised... book it...

Posted by: jimmy_the_crickett | December 3, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

In related news, the Skins have brought in former Kansas Jayhawk standout John Riggins for a workout and plan to sign him to a veteran minimum contract for the rest of the season.

Posted by: dc1020008 | December 3, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

For highlights of Riggins' past performances, go to:

http://www.nfl.com/players/johnriggins/profile?id=RIG207644

Posted by: dc1020008 | December 3, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

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