- The Washington Times
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

ASHBURN — Morgan Moses used initially just one word when asked about the Washington Redskins‘ red-zone problems. The right tackle didn’t need much more.

“Score,” he said with a laugh.

It’s true. The Redskins haven’t scored a touchdown in three games — but their drought is even worse inside the 20-yard line. Washington hasn’t crossed the pylon while in the red zone since Week 3 in a loss to the Chicago Bears. They’ve scored just six red-zone touchdowns out of 17 trips this season, good for a 35.3 conversion percentage.

That’s fourth-worst in the league.

The Redskins know they need to improve. That’s why during the bye week, interim coach Bill Callahan spent time delving into a “myriad” of areas for the team’s offense. But he particularly examined the red zone.

“Without giving too much away, we looked at the run-pass distribution down in that area, where we can do better from a protection standpoint, what we could do better from a route concept, formationally,” Callahan said, “how we can create a little bit more match-ups and really adding all dimensions of run-action, drop-back movement, so we looked at the totality of that and find a way to blend that in and balance it up.”

Through nine games, the Redskins have run 73 plays inside the 20 — the second-fewest in the league. Only the Jets, this week’s opponent, have been worse. Of those 73 plays, the Redskins haven’ been able to gain much traction in both the pass and the run. They’ve thrown the ball 34 times and ran it 21, only averaging 3.4 points per red zone trip.

Part of the problem has been the Redskins haven’t had the personnel to exploit mismatches this season. In the past, Washington relied on Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis — both tall, athletic tight ends — to post up defenders. The team also liked to use Jamison Crowder’s speed in the slot to create the needed separation in order to score.

The lack of weapons have resulted in Washington settling for just as many field goals (six) as touchdowns.

The team’s six red-zone touchdowns are the fewest in the league, too.

“Obviously the field shrinks when you get into the red zone, there’s not a lot of space,” Moses said. “We’ve got to continue pressing the issue, pressing the ball. We’ve got to get in the red zone.”

The Redskins have had trouble doing even that. Their 17 trips are the second-fewest in the league, again ahead of only the Jets. The league average through 10 weeks is 30.

Washington’s best game in the red zone this season occurred in Week 2 when it scored on all three of its trips against Dallas in a 31-21 loss.

In general, Washington hasn’t been this bad in the red zone since 2011, when it finished with a 41.2% conversion rate. Last year’s team, which was hardly an offensive juggernaut, converted 52.5% of its chances — ranked 25th league-wide.

Moses said Washington has to stop making mistakes in the red zone. 

“I don’t think we’ve scored a touchdown in a long time,” Moses said.

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.