- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Plenty of Clinton Portis mixed with a lot of Santana Moss — that recipe has equaled success for the resurgent Washington Redskins offense this season.

Just as important as the production of Portis and Moss (a combined eight touchdowns) to coach Joe Gibbs is the fact that the Redskins are balancing the run and pass calls. Through six games, they’re running on 46.7 percent and passing on 53.3 percent of plays.

“The best thing you can have is balance,” Gibbs said yesterday at Redskin Park. “If people respect the passing game, they give you more chances to rush the football. If they think you can rush it, obviously the pressure is on because they then have to get somebody else involved in the box.

“When you drop safeties down [near the line of scrimmage] in this league, that leaves one safety in the middle of the field, and the [cornerbacks] are playing one on one at some point.”

During their 4-2 start, the Redskins have had three 100-yard rushing games, four 100-yard receiving games and two 300-yard passing games.

“The biggest difference is the ability to be effective with the run and pass,” quarterback Mark Brunell said. “We were one-dimensional last year: We ran the ball very well but our passing game was, of course, lacking. When you can have the balance, you’re efficient, you keep the ball in your hands and you score more points.”

Only six teams — Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh — have more rushes than passes this season. The Steelers are the most run-heavy team (59.6 percent).

Balance always has been Gibbs’ goal. In his 14 seasons as coach, including this year, the Redskins never have run more than 55.8 percent (1983) and never less than 41.5 percent (1988). In five seasons, the team ran more than it passed.

The Redskins’ balance is the opposite of what’s happening in Philadelphia, where coach Andy Reid seemingly has given up on the run. The Eagles have thrown on an NFL-high 73.4 percent of their snaps. The Giants, who play host to the Redskins on Sunday, are throwing 59.5 percent of the time (and lead the league in scoring at 28.8 points). Dallas is throwing on 49 percent of its offensive snaps.

Regardless of the ratios, what the Redskins are doing works. They gained a season-high 457 yards Sunday against San Francisco, pushing their season average to 387.2 yards, second in the NFL.

“We don’t pay attention to it as players — that’s more of a self-scout thing the coaches do,” Brunell said. “What’s called is called. We’re not looking at the percentages. We hope whatever the ratio is, it’s effective.”

Arrington reflects

While linebacker LaVar Arrington was talking with reporters outside Redskin Park yesterday, athletic trainer Bubba Tyer walked by and said, “See ya in a couple minutes.” After seeing only two snaps — both on special teams — in losses to Denver and Kansas City, Arrington got his most extensive action of the season against San Francisco and had reason to feel a little sore.

“It’s a good feeling — I’m not bad sore, just sore,” said Arrington, who led the Redskins with nine tackles. Gibbs said Arrington received treatment for a hamstring injury.

Arrington singled out his third-quarter tackle of Rasheed Marshall for a 7-yard loss as a highlight.

“I was pretty impressed on being able to get to the reverse,” he said. “Normally, it would have taken me a little while longer to get to him, and he would have been further downfield.”

Injury report

Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (hip flexor) is expected to miss practice early in the week, but Gibbs expects him to play Sunday. Cornerback Carlos Rogers (ankle) was inactive after limping through Friday’s practice.

Safety Sean Taylor (ankle) was limping around the complex yesterday but isn’t expected to miss much practice time. Brunell said his calf, injured in practice last Thursday, felt fine during the game.

The Redskins’ kicking situation remains unsettled. Nick Novak has kicked in the last five games and John Hall (quadriceps) returned to practice last week. Gibbs said Hall will be monitored throughout the week before a decision is made.



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