LOVERRO

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - THOM LOVERRO

of­fense or the pace. It was about Jor­dan Reed’s in­jured shoul­der and whether Gru­den con­sid­ered tak­ing the All-World tight end out of the game be­fore Reed benched him­self with a punch to the hel­met of Cole­man that led to his ejec­tion.

Gru­den vol­un­teered the shot at his no-hud­dle of­fense on his own.

Was it a shot? It sure sounded like one. It sure sounded like Gru­den thought the de­ci­sion to run the ball in no-hud­dle there by of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Sean McVay wasn’t the best idea. Like he said, “It didn’t work out too good.”

We know if it was up to Gru­den, there would be two quar­ter­backs in the back­field with no run­ning back. And what hap­pened Mon­day night isn’t likely go­ing to sell the head coach on run­ning the ball even more — the type of of­fense Wash­ing­ton needs to con­trol the ball and keep their de­bil­i­tat­ing de­fense off the field as much as pos­si­ble.

“We miss-tar­geted a cou­ple of runs for what­ever rea­son,” Gru­den told re­porters in the postgame press con­fer­ence. “So not a lot of good looks for Rob (Kel­ley) un­for­tu­nately. Chris (Thomp­son) had I think a cou­ple of car­ries, got a cou­ple of de­cent looks. Rob had noth­ing. So we’ve got to look at our run­ning game and try to fig­ure out ways to get him more in­volved. That’s part of the is­sue.”

Gru­den took the kid gloves off later in the press con­fer­ence when he an­swered a ques­tion about their of­fen­sive strug­gles Mon­day night with, “Part of it was that the run­ning game was atro­cious.”

Look for Cousins to be sling­ing it Satur­day in Chicago — ob­vi­ously a must win for Wash­ing­ton (7-6-1) for any shot at the play­offs.

There may be no rea­son to panic about the of­fense, which has pro­duced yardage, if not points, for much of this sea­son. The Redskins rank third in the league in to­tal yards per game, av­er­ag­ing 406.6 yards, though they are 10th in the NFL in points per game, av­er­ag­ing 24.6. What hap­pened Mon­day night may sim­ply be a case of a good Carolina de­fense find­ing its game for one night in an in­con­sis­tent sea­son.

But what is trou­ble­some is Wash­ing­ton’s in­abil­ity to adapt to it and have an an­swer dur­ing the course of the game. What is trou­ble­some is that Wash­ing­ton had no an­swer from the time the coin was tossed (Gru­den again de­fer­ring in­tel­li­gence by win­ning the toss and putting his de­fense on the field once again to start the game and stake the Pan­thers to a 3-0 lead) to the end, when, on the fi­nal Redskins’ pos­ses­sion with a lit­tle more than a minute left, as his of­fense took baby steps down the field, Jami­son Crow­der fum­bled after a five-yard Cousins pass, and the few Redskins fans that hadn’t al­ready left FedEx Field by then headed for the ex­its.

All game. No an­swer.

“We were out­coached to­day,” Gru­den ad­mit­ting to the ob­vi­ous. “There’s no ques­tion about that. And I think they played bet­ter than us to­day. So we have to give credit to the Carolina Pan­thers. It’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity to get th­ese guys ready to play. We weren’t as ready as I would have liked to have been. We didn’t ex­e­cute like I would have liked to have seen. That falls on my shoul­ders.”

When their an­swer was no hud­dle, it was no good.

Thom Loverro hosts his weekly pod­cast “Ci­gars & Curve­balls” Wed­nes­days avail­able on iTunes and Google Play.

If I didn’t know bet­ter Mon­day night, I might have thought I was look­ing at Dono­van McNabb run­ning the Wash­ing­ton Redskins’ no-hud­dle of­fense for Mike Shanahan. No-hud­dle was no good for the Redskins in their 26-15 Mon­day night loss to the Carolina Pan­thers.

Quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins rushed his team to the line in no-hud­dle near the end of the first quar­ter at FedEx Field on sec­ond down and eight with the ball on Wash­ing­ton’s 27-yard line, and the quick throw to Ver­non Davis re­sulted in the in­ter­cep­tion by Kurt Cole­man, which led to a 23-yard field goal by Gra­ham Gano.

Then, after the game, Redskins coach Jay Gru­den talked about the fu­til­ity of his team’s no-hud­dle of­fense.

“It’s tough,” Gru­den said. “We’re out there, we’re try­ing to pick up the pace and go no hud­dle. And then we call a run­ning play and it’s right at them and it didn’t work out too good.”

The ques­tion, though, wasn’t about the no-hud­dle

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