by Rick Snider

Hogs 2.0 is looking more like mincemeat.

The Washington Redskins’ offensive line has been awful in two preseason games. Not surprisingly, quarterback Kirk Cousins has been so-so. Receivers are 50/50 to make tough catches. And the running game can’t even fall forward.

The foundation of the offense has a crack at left guard that saw Green Bay’s pass defense spill into Washington’s backfield. The running game designed to show nothing was stopped cold and Cousins’ hurried internal clock led to forced incompletions.

And yet, it’s no big deal for coach Jay Gruden.

“I’m not really concerned, no,” he said. “I know the guys we have up front and I know [offensive line] coach [Bill] Callahan and I know the runners that we have, so I’m not concerned. We do have to execute better. We have to put them in better situations. Maybe we’ll look at the calls that we’re calling, but for the most part, I’m not concerned really.”

Still, Gruden apparently wanted any sense of confidence so offensive starters played the entire first half instead of their traditional brief appearance. Gruden said the longer stretch was planned, yet Cousins intimated a missed second-drive touchdown pass would have ended his night if completed.

Gruden needed to keep the offense on the field. The first three possessions were three-and-outs. The fourth ended on a failed fourth-and-one. The fifth at least gained a first down on a 29-yard pass. Finally, the sixth against Green Bay reserves saw Cousins throw a fourth-down touchdown.

Somehow, the preseason’s first touchdown drive wasn’t encouraging.

The Redskins ran a vanilla offense, but so did the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers abused Washington for a long touchdown drive in his only appearance. Washington couldn’t crack an egg until Green Bay rested regulars.

Maybe Washington misses offensive coordinator Sean McVay (now Los Angeles Rams coach) more than the Redskins admit. Maybe Gruden is merely showing nothing on tape for Philadelphia to use to prepare for the regular-season opener on Sept. 10.

But brother, the offensive line has been horrible against the run and little better in pass protection. Guard Shawn Lauvao looked awful and his linemates haven’t run blocked well, which partly explains running back Rob Kelley’s nine yards on nine carries.

Football starts at the line. The Redskins have enough problems trying to run effectively and integrating new receivers without their previous strength suddenly buckling. If the line doesn’t improve, though, it’s going to be a long season.

 

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.

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