The Bad: The pass offense

Washington has struggled to run the ball and hasn't scored many points. And it all comes back to one reason: the Redskins can't throw the ball. That much was evident once more in Washington's 23-9 loss to the Giants.

One reason is quarterback Tony Banks. The other reason is receiver Rod Gardner.

Banks has struggled to complete passes, nailing just 13 of 31 attempts on Sunday. It's no wonder the Redskins only converted one of 13 third downs. And it's also why Washington ranks last in third-down conversions at 18.8 percent.

Also, New York stacked the line to stop the run. The Giants' safeties often played within eight to nine yards of the line of scrimmage.

They begged the Redskins to throw and they couldn't do it. Because of it, Stephen Davis had nowhere to run. He carried the ball only twice in the second half, for no yards.

On one seven-play second-half drive, Davis never touched the ball. He's their best player, give him the ball on occasion.

''We had a limited number of possessions,'' Schottenheimer said. ''But having said that we need to get him the ball.''

But it would help if Banks and Gardner got it together. Gardner dropped one ball at the 2-yard line and another time fumbled a ball at the Giants' 31, after making a nice grab.

''There were some things we thought we could do in the passing game,'' Banks said. ''That's what coach wanted to take advantage of. We had one on one coverages outside early and often. It just didn't come out on top.''

Schottenheimer said Banks will continue to start, with Kent Graham likely ascending to the No. 2 role the more comfortable he gets with the offense.

But Schottenheimer also said Washington must improve inside the opponents' 20-yard line. The Redskins haven't scored a touchdown on eight trips inside the 20, the only team in the NFL with such a blemish.

''Tony's at a point where he understands what we're going and he understands it very well,'' Schottenheimer said. ''But we don't have the cohesiveness or efficiency in the red zone because we lack familiarity with what we're doing.''

John Keim has covered the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.


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