If he had his druthers and his work schedule allowed for training other than jogs up and down Loudoun County Parkway, Al Saunders would be in Arlington on Sunday to run the Marine Corps Marathon.
“That’s one I would really like to run in, but I’m nowhere near ready,” said Saunders, the Washington Redskins’ associate head coach-offense. “I’ll be right here in the office.”
As the Redskins scattered across the country yesterday for their bye weekend, Saunders planned on spending the four “off” days in his Redskin Park office/conference room.
“I can’t afford not to be here right now because I need to get some things taken care of,” he said.
Foremost on Saunders’ to-do list isn’t lineup changes (a quarterback change isn’t on the horizon) but a top-to-bottom look at his scheme and how it fits the Redskins after a 2-5 start. They have some glossy numbers — fourth in yards a play and seventh in rushing — but the big moments have been minimal.
A forgettable seven games into the season, the Redskins have an offense still adjusting to a new identity and still searching for that elusive consistency.
“One thing you see on the video is how really close we are to doing some really special things,” Saunders said. “We’re just not doing things on a consistent basis.”
Like the Redskins’ defense, things the offense counted on in the offseason haven’t panned out in September or October.
No transition period
One of Saunders’ talking points during the preseason was he knew what the finished product would look like and that it took the Chiefs half of the 2001 season to really click. In the first seven games that season, Kansas City was 1-6 and averaged 358.3 yards and 19.9 points. In their final nine games, the Chiefs went 5-4 and averaged 351.7 yards and 20.1 points. The numbers didn’t improve, but the results did.
Through seven games this season, the Redskins are averaging 325.9 yards and 20 points a game.
Especially with a preseason philosophy of showing nothing and not playing the starters much, there was going to be a transition; the Redskins just hoped they could beat teams like Minnesota and Tennessee while working out the kinks. If there is any kind of turnaround in the season’s second half, the Redskins will look at those two three-point home losses as ones that got away.
Brunell returns to form
In the first four games last October, quarterback Mark Brunell threw for 226, 322, 331 and 252 yards and a combined 10 touchdowns against only one interception.
In the 19 games since (including the playoffs), Brunell has 19 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and only two games of 250-plus yards passing.