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What we learned in the Redskins' loss to the Panthers

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

1 Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said teams that defer win approximately 60 percent of the time. But the Redskins are bringing that number down. Washington has deferred the choice of whether to receive on six occasions. The Redskins are 2-4 in those games. The thinking is, in part, that if you're able to get points to end the first half you can come out of halftime with a chance to continue that momentum. The Redskins have a mixed record in that goal. They have scored on their final drive of the first half three times in these games and opened the second half with a score twice. There have been two games -- against Cincinnati and Minnesota -- in which they have scored on their final drive of the first half and first one of the second. Against the Vikings, they scored a touchdown in both cases.

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The offense misses tight end Fred Davis and wide receiver Pierre Garcon. That's not a knock on Logan Paulsen, who is doing a good job. But he does not present the same threat to a defense that Davis does because of his speed and athleticism. Garcon's absence could be offset in other games, but losing two players with speed is difficult because the other players considered fast -- Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson -- aren't producing consistently. Hankerson and Robinson, according to their combine 40-yard dash times, are faster than Garcon. But Garcon has more suddenness and runs with more toughness. The offense needs both attributes. Robinson has the speed and quickness but has failed to produce when given more time like he was Sunday.

3 Other teams have been able to turn around their programs much quicker than the Redskins. Indianapolis has a coach sidelined with cancer, a rookie quarterback and switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense but is 5-3. Seattle and Miami are starting rookie quarterbacks and are 5-4 and 4-4, respectively. Tampa Bay has a new coach, is coming off a 4-12 season and also is 4-4. So, yes, the Redskins have made some strides, but it's not asking too much to have a better record than 3-6 in Year 3 of a program -- even with the injuries and especially because the rookie quarterback is not the one holding the team back.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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