Faced with a 2-4 record and a difficult road game coming up against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts, Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs said he was "not afraid of making changes"--but he emphasized that change would not happen at the quarterback position at this time.
"I'm not afraid to change anything and I don't think I would hesitate to change something if it's best for our football team," Gibbs told reporters in his Monday press conference. "Right now, changing Mark--I don't think that's the answer."
In Sunday's loss to the previously winless Titans, the Redskins scored touchdowns on their first two offensive possessions to build a 14-3 lead, but then struggled with consistency the rest of the game.
The Redskins got away from the ground game in the second half, running the ball only nine times for 17 yards. But once Tennessee grabbed the lead, the offense was forced to rely on Brunell.
Brunell completed 6-of-7 passes on the Redskins' first two drives, but he was 10-of-23 the rest of the way, including incomplete passes on his last six throws of the game. His last pass, a deep ball to Santana Moss with 1:06 left in the game and the Redskins trailing by three, was intercepted by Titans' free safety Lamont Thompson.
Gibbs has pointed to offensive inconsistency as a primary reason for the offense's struggles. He includes Brunell in that assessment, but he maintains confidence in the veteran quarterback.
"Mark is three games away from setting a record in the NFL," Gibbs said, referring to the Week 3 game at Houston when Brunell completed 22 consecutive passes in a row to establish a new league mark.
Continued Gibbs: "If I felt like it was one person, certainly I would change that person. But I don't think that's the case. When you play the way we did in the first half, it shows what we're capable of. We did not sustain it and keep it going."
Asked about the readiness of backup quarterback Jason Campbell, Gibbs replied: "Jason has worked extremely hard. We have a lot of invested in him and someday he's going to be the future here. None of that has changed. His situation hasn't changed."
Meantime, the Redskins' defense has not been up to the standard set in previous years. The unit allowed 194 rushing yards and a 4.7 yards-per-carry average to the Titans, one week after allowing 155 rushing yards and a 4.3 yards-per-carry average to the New York Giants.
Tennessee was able to control the clock in the second half, running the ball six consecutive times in the fourth quarter to get into position for a game-winning field goal.
"It was an inconsistent performance by the defense," Gibbs said. "Any time anybody rushes for that many yards against us, we are going to get ourselves in real trouble."
Regarding the run defense, Gibbs said: "Certainly there have been games where the defense has impressed me with their run defense. We have lost the rushing end of it twice in six games. Four times they were stoning people in the run. We gave up some passes in the secondary which can't happen to you.
"I think our whole defensive group is disappointed."
The unit was without starting defensive tackles Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave'a. Griffin has a hip injury and Salave'a has a calf injury. They are expected to be available to practice on a limited basis starting on Wednesday. Their status for Sunday's game against Indianapolis will be determined at that time.
Cornerback Carlos Rogers, who suffered a fractured thumb during the Titans game, underwent a procedure on Monday in which three screws were put into the bone of the thumb. Rogers's status for the Colts game will also be determined later this week.
As he does after every loss, Gibbs said that he would consider implementing changes as the Redskins prepare for the 5-0 Indianapolis Colts.
"Hopefully, you're always changing," Gibbs said. "You're always thinking, 'Hey, how can we fix this, from a player standpoint, coaching-wise, strategy-wise, scheduling-wise.'"