SNIDER: Redskins need to chuck ground game


It’s hard to criticize Redskins coach Bill Callahan’s love of running the ball. Adrian Peterson gained 108 yards, and if Washington has to lose, at least Callahan makes it a quick one with another sub-three-hour game.

But, it’s run for show and pass for dough in the NFL and the Redskins have gone three weeks without a touchdown. Field goals are nice, but the Redskins had a slight chance for an upset over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday if they’d just found the end zone a couple of times. Instead, the 24-9 loss drops Washington to 1-8 entering a merciful bye week.

Sadly, prospects upon their return won’t look much better for the Redskins. The offensive line can’t protect quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Receivers look ordinary on their few chances. The team essentially has no tight end in an offense that loved passing to it.

Sure, the defense is playing a little better. Stoning the Bills three times on the one-yard line and another on fourth down was impressive. Indeed, the defense has played much better over the last month than the season’s opening month.

But this team can’t score. Maybe coach Jay Gruden took his playbook with him, but Callahan’s offense is three yards and a cloud of dust. That may work in colleges, but surely not in the NFL.

The problem is the Redskins don’t trust the rookie passer. His numbers don’t look too bad on paper – 15 of 22 for 144 yards for an 86.2 rating and no turnovers. But Haskins took a couple of bad sacks, missed some throws and still looked a little lost.

Haskins will get better, but he’s not the season’s savior. That said, it’s better to get these rookie problems out of the way now rather than wait until next year. There’s no reason for Case Keenum or Colt McCoy to play again for Washington. Give Haskins every opportunity to show the team doesn’t need to use its expected top-five pick next spring on another passer. Let him show with some experience he’ll be good enough to build around a new offense. Or, let Haskins show it was a bad pick and the Redskins don’t need to waste a couple more years to admit it.

Either way, the next seven games are strictly to examine the passer’s role in a franchise reboot.

After all, this team isn’t close. Well, maybe to becoming the NFL’s worst team, but surely not its best. The Redskins aren’t riding in any parades in the near future. The Nationals and Capitals are carving up the Redskins fan base to leave FedEx Field a home for opposing crowds looking for cheap seats and easy wins.

Maybe Peterson is happy with his increased role, but the bottom line is all about winning. Next year, Peterson and Callahan will be gone and the ball will be in the air.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks