Football Team

Washington's offense must be better, yet it's unclear if it can be

Football Team

After one game in which it started off poorly but then put things together somewhat and another game in which it started off poorly, continued to play poorly and only put things together when the outcome was pretty much decided, it's obvious what the Washington Football Team's offense has to do.

It must be better.

What isn't obvious, however, is whether it actually can be.

The unit has now taken the field for two weeks of the 2020 season, and its performance hasn't done much to quell the numerous concerns that surrounded it before the opener.

The offensive line has opened up more lanes for the opposing pass rush than it has for its own running backs.

The non-Terry McLaurin pass catchers aren't catching enough passes.

The group is a collective nine for 30 on third downs.

And while it's important to not put all of the blame on Dwayne Haskins, considering how dependent the quarterback position is on everyone else, Haskins absolutely deserves blame for his inaccuracy and inability to get rolling on his initial possessions.

Overall, Scott Turner's operation is the weak link for Washington. While Jack Del Rio's defense was humbled in Arizona, they'll still more than likely compete against, if not control, most of their opponents in the next 14 matchups. The same can't be said for Turner's side right now. 

"We just have to continue to understand that this is a process," Haskins told reporters after Sunday's dismaying loss to the Cardinals. "We're not going to quit at all."

 

That's the approach Haskins needs to take. He can't be wondering or doubting whether the offense is already doomed. Outsiders can, however.

It's entirely possible that an offensive line that's comprised of an inexperienced left tackle and an inexperienced left guard, and one that may be down Brandon Scherff, too, could just be a problem from September 13 all the way through December.

It's entirely possible that the non-McLaurin pass catchers keep finding themselves unable to make a difference no matter how hard they try.

It's entirely possible that this group of skill guys, which was called thin in July, will repeatedly struggle on third down as opposed to eventually figure it out on third down.

And it's entirely possible that Haskins can't overcome the deficiencies, both his own and those of the pieces that he lines up with, on a consistent enough basis.

Last Thursday, Ron Rivera was asked to assess how he thought the offense was coming together. In his response, he used phrases such as, "It's going to take a while" and, "You probably won't see it or get a feel for it until really next season." 

Those responses may not inspire much confidence, but they were at least honest and, through a pair of contests, they appear on the mark.

That doesn't mean Rivera and Turner will accept the shortcomings or the players will stop grinding, of course. Neither of those will happen. There will be an intense effort to find a way to succeed.

Effort isn't the only factor in this equation, though. Talent matters in the NFL as well.

Washington needs more of that. Perhaps a lot more. Unfortunately, they are months away from being in a position where they can really acquire it. Until then, expect this storyline to remain.