Injures to David Patten and James Thrash could force the Redskins to alter their passing game in the coming weeks, head coach Joe Gibbs said on Monday. Patten was placed on injured reserve last week with a knee injury and Thrash suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday's game against Oakland.
"We've lost two receivers in a week," Gibbs said. "What it caused us to do Sunday against the Raiders was change some of our packages. We had to do a lot of shuffling on the field. So it did cause us some problems in formations and also limited some of the things we could do."
The Redskins' passing attack has thrived this season on deep throw and wide receiver screens, with passes in the flat to H-back Chris Cooley added into the mix.
In recent weeks, defenses have placed considerable attention in stopping lightning-fast Santana Moss, the Redskins' 5-10, 190-pound receiver.
Every time Moss goes out on a pass pattern, he's seeing coverage rolled his way. He's seeing a cornerback and safety guard against his every move and make sure that he does not use his speed to burn them.
"[The Raiders] brought a safety over the top the whole time," quarterback Mark Brunell said. "They pretty much double-covered Santana. They did not want Santana down the field. That was obvious. We got down there one time on a fade route. For the most part, they played over top of him. That should come as no surprise to us. If that's the case, on those plays, we have to find a way to get the ball to other guys."
With Patten and Thrash sidelined, Moss will get even more attention by defenses. It'll be up to third-year receiver Taylor Jacobs, who logged three catches for 17 yards against the Raiders, and newly signed Jimmy Farris to make defenses pay.
"Defenses are trying to take him away," Gibbs said. "He's one of the best producers in the league as far as receiving yards. We see defenses rolling in his direction. But when someone goes to take somebody away like that, it opens up something else, whether it's Cooley or a running back coming out of the backfield."
Moss recognizes that defense's are changing how they coverage. In Sunday's game versus Oakland, on the Redskins' first offensive play of the second half, Moss found himself in man coverage. Both Moss and Brunell recognized it, and they connected on a 27-yard pass play.
"When I got that man coverage, I thought, 'Hey, if you're slip up and give me man, it'll be a long day for you,'" Moss said. "But after that it was right back to tight coverage over me.
"I expect that. What I don't expect is for that to be all we have. And I'm pretty sure that we're not going to let it go that way."
-- MORE RECEIVERS COMING IN
Gibbs said the team would likely bring in more wide receivers for workouts this week. In Moss, Jacobs and Farris, the Redskins have only three healthy wide receivers on the roster.
Among the candidates could be second-year player Antonio Brown and veteran wide receiver Kevin Dyson. Both were released by the Redskins earlier this year.
Brown has experience as a kick returner on special teams, something that may be attractive to the Redskins since Thrash serves in that capacity on both punts and kickoffs.
Brown was with the Redskins for the season opener against the Bears, but fumbled a kickoff, a gaffe that ultimately led to his release.
Gibbs also said the team could bring Rich Parson back to the roster later this week. He was placed back on the practice squad when the team signed Farris.
Parson, a rookie out of Maryland, returned three kickoffs against the Raiders for a 23.7-yard average. His longest was a 35-yard pickup.
-- MARSHALL COVERING PORTER
Gibbs offered up an explanation on why middle linebacker Lemar Marshall was covering Raiders' wide receiver Jerry Porter early in the third quarter. Marshall had solid coverage, but the fleet-footed Porter was able to make an over-the-shoulder catch for a 49-yard touchdown grab.
"I'd say that one of the most prevalent coverages that you see in the NFL is what you call 2 Tampa,'" Gibbs said. "It means that the two outside safeties are taking the two outside portions of the field and the inside backers run like mad to take the middle of the field.
"In that case, we got caught with a speed receiver down the middle of the field. We were back there, but we didn't make the play."