Washington's sputtering offense sure looks like it could be even clunkier this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles judging by some unfortunate news the unit got on Friday.
Just before taking the field for practice, the franchise announced that it's placing running back Antonio Gibson on its reserve/COVID-19 list. The team is also doing the same with offensive guard Ereck Flowers Sr.
Those transactions all but guarantee that both Gibson and Flowers will miss Washington's Week 17 game versus Philadelphia, which is a meeting the Burgundy and Gold must exit a winner in order to keep their super-thin playoff chances alive.
Being without Gibson would significantly limit coordinator Scott Turner's group. When the running back is at his shoulder-lowering, touchdown-scoring best, the offense is able to control the time of possession and stay in manageable down-and-distance situations.
Behind Gibson is rookie Jaret Patterson as well as Jonathan Williams, a journeyman veteran who has three career touchdowns as a pro, including the one he notched at FedEx Field earlier this month against Dallas.
On Thursday, Patterson told reporters that he's had to adjust to a role where he isn't constantly getting carries like he did at the University of Buffalo. For Sunday, he'll likely have a chance to experience more regular work.
The loss of Flowers will hurt, too. The left guard has been a steady force next to Charles Leno Jr. and is an especially imposing figure in a sport full of them. Saahdiq Charles or the recently-signed Jamil Douglas would probably slide in to replace Flowers.
Between the two of them, Gibson and Flowers are integral pieces of Washington's rushing attack. Barring a COVID-19 protocols miracle, neither will be there to face the Eagles.