Between the need for more blockers at the tight end position and with hopes of jumpstarting the run game, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said the team will continue to use "giant" package during regular season.
With Derek Carrier suffering an ankle injury during the second offensive play for the Washington Redskins in their Week 12 victory over the New York Giants on Nov. 29, forcing him to miss Monday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys as well, the team's offense has used more tackle-eligible packages over the last two games.
The package has mostly been used in running situations, as Tom Compton has gotten 45 snaps while Ty Nsekhe has recorded seven over the last two weeks, with neither getting a target in the passing game.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden admitted this week that the team hasn't had a lot of success out of the formation yet, but they'll continue to utilize it over the last quarter of the regular season, hopefully with better results, as they search for ways to open up lanes for the running backs.
"We have to really explore what we want to feature these last four weeks and how to attack defenses," Gruden said. "We were kind of hodge-podge [on Monday] with the substitutions and the amount of people we had with the tight end injury situation we had. So we didn't really get in the flow of the game. So nothing was really effective."
While the Redskins have three young, quality tight ends in Jordan Reed, Carrier and Je'Ron Hamm, the team doesn't really have a true blocking tight end on the outside right now.
Both Carrier and Hamm were college wide receivers.
Reed, meanwhile, has struggled in pass protection and has been flagged numerous times in recent weeks for holding.
Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen, two more natural blockers, were lost for the season in August.
"It's hard," Gruden said. "You lose Niles and Logan and they are our blocking tight ends, so to speak. We didn't get Derek until late. If you want to run the ball, you need a tight end a lot of times. There are some plays we don't have to have a tight end. We can split out the tight end and try to get the box in our favor — count-wise — and try to gut the defense that-a-way, but when we need a tight end at the point of attack, some of the runs that we like to run with the double teams and all that stuff, you need a tight end that can hold it and Tom's proven that he can do that."
The Washington Redskins on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, announced the acquisition of tight end Derek Carrier. Take a look at his NFL career in photos.
Gruden added that ideally they'd still like to use the "giant" package at least 10-12 times a game even when Carrier returns to the lineup.
Carrier was limited in practice on Thursday, but Gruden said he feels "positive" about his progress and a potential return to the field Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
"We can utilize different personnel groupings," Gruden said. "It's just a matter of how much and we don't want to be too predictable thought like you say."
The Redskins need to make sure the package with Compton and/or Nskehe indeed doesn't become an obvious run play.
While the Wildcat formation became a trend in the early 2010s and was successful early on, it became more of a fad than a staple on offensive playbooks as they were more often than not run plays.
"You can still throw the ball out of those formations or those personnel groupings," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "There's no reason you can't. They've still got to play it honest and handle their gaps and play their responsibilities. We still have a job to do to."