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Lack of Continuity Is Slowing Run Game


Head coach Mike Shanahan had high hopes for the Redskins' ground game early this season.

He is not happy with the recent decline, though.

The Redskins currently rank 31st in the NFL in rushing, having rushed for an average of 86.7 yards per game so far this season.

In the Redskins' three wins, they averaged 147.3 rushing yards per game. In their six losses, they have averaged 55.8 rushing yards per game.

Shanahan pointed to injuries and the lack of continuity along the offensive line and at running back and tight end as reasons for the struggles.

"That's definitely the biggest factor," Shanahan said. "An offensive line has got to work together as a unit. If you don't work as a unit, it's hard to get everything down.

"If you lose a guy like [Tim] Hightower and you lose a guy like [Chris] Cooley, two guys that are excellent, and if you lose a guy like Kory Lichtensteiger who was probably our best run blocker, it hurts some of that continuity."

The run game has been a staple of Shanahan offenses for years, dating back to his Super Bowl titles with the Denver Broncos and running back Terrell Davis in the late 1990s.

Shanahan is determined to get the Redskins' run game going. He maintains confidence in the stretch play, the trademark run of his offense.

"We will get that running game back, I promise you," Shanahan said.

One player who hopes to help provide a spark for the offense is running back Tashard Choice. Choice has been recovering from a hamstring injury and has not yet played since joining the team on Oct. 31.

When asked what he can do to help jumpstart the running game, Choice said, "Just play. Just go in there and play and get behind those guys and run to daylight. I'm excited for the opportunity. I just have to make sure I'm healthy."

Choice will now experience the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry from the other side of the field, and he brings with him a little bit of insight.

"I'm going to give little pointers here and there but regardless you still have to go out there and play," Choice said. "We have to do what we are coached up to do. We have to go out there and win the game."

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is well aware of the positive influence Choice can have on a locker room.

"Tashard helped us out a lot," Romo said. "He's a smart tailback who understands protection. He understands where the holes are going to be and he was successful when he was here with us."

Added Romo: "I know he's a great locker room guy and you guys are going to end up loving him in Washington."

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