September 10, 2014

While in the process of getting comfortable with a new coach and his system, the Washington Redskins will try to make sure the offensive struggles from last season won't linger too long this year.

The Redskins look to avoid a 10th straight loss Sunday when they host a Jacksonville Jaguars team that suffered a major collapse in its opener.

A year after ranking fourth in the NFL with an average of 27.3 points and winning the NFC East with rookie Robert Griffin III under center, Washington scored 20.9 per game to rank 23rd while going 3-13 last season.

The Redskins failed to score more than 17 points five times while losing the final eight last season, the last three of which Griffin was benched by former coach Mike Shanahan.

In Jay Gruden's debut as coach in last Sunday's 17-6 loss at Houston, Washington outgained the Texans 372-321 but managed only a Darrel Young 1-yard touchdown run.

With a 20-6 loss to the Giants in last season's finale, the Redskins are trying to avoid scoring fewer than 10 points in three straight games for the first time since the final two of the 1993 season and the opener in 1994.

Griffin went 29 of 37 for 267 yards but was sacked three times and ran three times for two yards against Houston. Alfred Morris and Roy Helu combined for 137 yards on 18 carries, but Gruden called 40 pass plays to 20 runs.

"If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have run the ball more than I did,'' said Gruden, whose team is mired in the franchise's longest losing streak since a 17-game skid that covered the 1960 and 1961 seasons.

Though DeSean Jackson caught eight passes for 62 yards in his Washington debut and Pierre Garcon had 10 for 77, Houston's pressure kept Griffin from consistently taking shots downfield.

''We have got to find ways to open those guys up more down the field,'' said Griffin, who has an 88.5 passer rating while losing six straight starts.

''I don't think that's any secret. You want to be able to be efficient and hit the underneath stuff, but you also have to get those home run shots in every now and then. We'll work on getting that.''

Griffin might have a good chance do so against Jacksonville, which allowed Philadelphia's Jeremy Maclin to get behind its coverage for a 68-yard, tiebreaking TD reception in last Sunday's 34-17 loss.

The Jaguars, however, sacked Nick Foles five times and are coached by Gus Bradley, the architect of a Seattle defense that held Griffin to 84 passing yards during Washington's 24-14 playoff loss following the 2012 season.

''It does seem like (Griffin) is trying to be more of a pocket passer, like he is trying to stay in the pocket more and he is actually letting the play develop a little bit more,'' Jacksonville defensive end and former Seahawk Red Bryant said. ''So we've just got to do a great job of having the back end and front end working together and try to make it as difficult as possible.''

Dealing with a team that doesn't have the same level of talent as that Seattle group, Bradley must find a way for the Jaguars to bounce back after they blew a 17-0 lead against the Eagles.

''It feels like, `What happened? We're a ways away,''' said Bradley, whose team has dropped four in a row. ''But we're really close.

"We have to take care of these things. We can no longer find these things acceptable. They take responsibility and they understand as well.''

In addition to Maclin's TD, Jacksonville allowed Darren Sproles to break free for a 49-yard touchdown run.

Rookie Allen Hurns caught four passes for 110 yards and two TDs against the Eagles, and he could be a vital part of the game plan if a hamstring injury keeps receiver Cecil Shorts III (doubtful) out Sunday.

Defensively, the Jaguars won't have safety Johnathan Cyprien due to a concussion.

Washington is expected to be without talented tight end Jordan Reed after he pulled his left hamstring in the first quarter last Sunday. He's listed as doubtful along with defensive lineman Kedric Golston (groin).

The Redskins also placed nose tackle Barry Cofield (ankle sprain) on short-term injured reserve, ruling him out for at least eight games.

Washington is 4-1 against the Jaguars, including 2-0 at home. The Redskins won 20-17 in overtime at Jacksonville in the most recent meeting in 2010.

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