Theismann: Redskins offense a 'puzzle' for Gruden

Ben Krimmel
November 10, 2018 - 1:15 pm

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries at offensive line and a lack of speed at the wide receiver position created a "puzzle" for head coach Jay Gruden hampering the Washington offense, former Redskin quarterback Joe Theismann said.

"So Jay has to call the game based on what he's got. " Theismann said on 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny Friday.  "Josh Doctson, again, you kow, I'd have to say at times unreliable. We have no ability for anybody to separate (from a defender). I mean we've got good, solid big receivers, but you just don't have anybody who can go down the field and take the top off of a team. We just don't have it."

"I think that it's a puzzle for Jay every week," Theismann said, referring to the numerous injuries on the offensive line and at wide receiver.  

"The Redskin football team is not going to blow anybody out. They're not dynamic, anytime (the opponent) has scored first, we haven't been able to play catch-up," he continued. "It has to be a - in the trenches, punch somebody in the mouth, keep it close football game."

Because of these issues, Theismann said the Redskins game plan must be rather simple: play good defense and run the ball. 

"Jay just basically says, 'Alright, look. Our defense is playing overall pretty darn good. And this is what we're gonna do: We're gonna play defense, hopefully we're not gonna get behind too far. We're gonna play some great defense, which we're capable of doing. We're gonna run the football, try and shorten the football game. And when we get in the red zone, we're gonna try and put the ball in the end zone,'" Theismann said.  

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While that may be the "tried-and-true" method of football, in the passing era, it leaves the Redskins with little margin for error because of the lack of explosive playmakers on offense. 

"But as far as taking shots down the field just for the sake of taking shots, it's a wasted play," Theismann said. "When you don't have guys who can run by people, when you don't have guys who can get separation going down the field, it doesn't make sense." 

Theismann pointed the finger at wide receivers running poor routes as the reason for the lack of separation.

"We just don't have the ability to go down the field," he continued. "Jay wants to keep everything in a, you know, 12-round fight and you have to respect it based upon the personnel."

Grant Paulsen asked if the Redskins can overcome the many injuries on offense and stay in the playoff-hunt. 

"I think this team will play well, I think (they will) play 60 minutes of football," Theismann said. "My job was to do basically what Alex (Smith) has done: don't make the big mistake, be smart with the football, realize that it's a three unit operation - offense, defense, and special teams." 

"The offense is probably going to be an area we will talk about this for the next eight weeks," Theismann said. "They're gonna have to make plays, not when it's over, but in the course of the game to create opportunities."

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