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Redskins' Offense Comes Up Dry Again


Nothing grows here. Nothing's going to grow here.

This is the Futile Crescent.

The branch of the West Coast offense planted here bears little fruit. It shrivels, sickens, dies as we watch. It yields no touchdowns and not enough for sustenance.

This might as well be the Oklahoma dust bowl, but it is the Redskins' hopes and dreams and not burned-out topsoil that the wind takes with it.

The Redskins turned another winless team into a victor, sent another patsy into spasms of glee on Sunday. The Redskins managed to score no touchdowns and fell 14-6 to the Kansas City Chiefs at FedExField in a game that saw quarterback Jason Campbell yanked at halftime.

Lining up against the NFL's 32nd (that's last, folks) defense, the Redskins managed seven first downs, converted two of 14 third downs, turned explosive plays into field goals instead of touchdowns and earned the wrath of the shivering 79,572 who braved the cold and damp to no good effect.

The Redskins stitched together 265 yards of total offense against a defense giving up an average of more than 400, and 120 of those yards came on two plays.

The insertion of Todd Collins helped the Redskins maneuver for two field goals and nothing more and now there's a question whether either of them can move this offense.

They've played three home games against previously winless teams, struggled badly with all three, though winning twice, and they've done nothing to make the scoreboard operator earn his pay in any of them.

Twelve quarters played at home, 11 without a touchdown. Two touchdowns scored at home in three games.

Bigger picture? A 2-4 record compiled against teams that are 8-21, with five of those wins belonging to the New York Giants. Take them out of the equation and the Redskins are 2-3 against teams that are 3-20 and two of those wins are against the Redskins and one is against the Bucs.

"It's deflating," defensive tackle Kedric Golston said.

The Redskins failed inside the 20-yard line. They failed outside the 20-yard line. They hit a 42-yard pass play but kicked a field goal. They got a 78-yard run but kicked a field goal. They had a punt blocked, a week after having an extra point blocked. They turned the ball over twice and got no takeaways.

They gave up a safety for the second consecutive week, lost to a winless team for the second consecutive week and ensured themselves more time in the media microwave oven.

"It's going to be a very hard week," head coach Jim Zorn said. "I thought last week was a very hard week. It just got harder."

Only one question popped up about his job security at his postgame news conference. Later, after meeting with executive vice president Vinny Cerrato, Zorn agreed to relinquish the play calling that he himself indicated was holding the team back. "Too much on his plate" was the way that was phrased.

The club gave him Sherman Lewis a week ago as "an extra set of eyes" and now nibbles at the core of his expertise with this offense by taking away the play calling, even with no one else on staff carrying a whole lot more intellectual weight in that area except for Lewis. Expect plenty more questions and rumors galore throughout the week.

The cake part of the schedule is over. The Philadelphia Eagles swoop in next Monday night to pick at this carcass and see what meat remains. The Eagles, the NFC runnerup last season. Then a bye, when teams planning to dismiss the head guy often do it.

Next? The Atlanta Falcons, Wild Card playoff qualifiers in 2008. The unbeaten Denver Broncos. The Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles again. Then the unbeaten New Orleans Saints.

Do not expect to find succor in the Valley of the Dry Bones.


What a shame the Redskins found a way to turn a potentially lush landscape into barren wasteland.

For six consecutive weeks they've lined up against team after team with no wins, two of which (the St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers) remain winless at 0-6. The Chiefs had won only twice in their last 30 games and hardly looked superior to the Redskins, even as the Redskins looked inferior to them.

Their quarterback, Matt Cassel, absorbed five sacks. They converted four of 17 third downs. They enjoyed 13 series of downs and punted seven times, giving the ball up on downs once and by killing the clock at the end. They kicked four field goals and that alone provided enough points for them to win.

After losing nine times in a row.

"It really has nothing to do with who is on the schedule," safety Reed Doughty said. "Everyone in the NFL can play. But we have lost two games to teams that had not won a game. That doesn't make us a horrible team but it does make us one that's not playing well."

Not playing well? Beat the Rams by 9-7. They came in having lost 12 straight games and that's 16 now. Lost to the Detroit Lions, winless through all of the '08 season, losers of 19 in a row. Winless since seeing the Redskins. Rallied from 10 points down against the Bucs to win 16-13. The Bucs had lost eight in a row and now it's 10. Lost to the Carolina Panthers 20-17, wasting a 17-2 lead. The Panthers were 0-3.

There's an argument to be made for horrible. Two wins, against teams that are a combined 0-12, when 5-1 looked possible and 4-2 factored in an upset. A total of 79 points scored.

Another game in which neither Malcolm Kelly nor Devin Thomas made a catch. Another game with minimal time of possession (22:50 in this one). Another day of mind-sapping punt returns that averaged 4.8 yards. Another day of fumbles (four, one lost) bringing the season total to 16 and five.

Nothing grows here in the Futile Crescent. No offensive scheme takes root and sweet touchdowns do not spring from its gnarled limbs. Nothing grows here. Nothing, maybe, but a quarterback controversy and a windstorm of debate about Zorn's destiny.

Larry Weisman covered professional football for USA TODAY for 25 years and now joins the Redskins Broadcast Network and to bring his unique viewpoint and experience to Redskins fans. Go to for the Redskins Blitz column and NFL Blitz on Friday. Larry also appears on The Jim Zorn Show on WRC-TV on Saturday night, on Redskins Nation, airing twice nightly on Comcast SportsNet, and on ESPN 980 AM radio, all in the Washington, D.C. area. Read his blog at and follow him on

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