A look at some key Redskins stats as they return to work after their early bye week.
—One area that still needs a lot of work is the red zone offense. They still are struggling to score touchdowns there, getting into the end zone 36.4 percent of the time. That’s 30th in the NFL; they were 29th at 45.9 percent last year. It’s arguable that lost red zone opportunities were responsible for both of their losses as they were 0-2 including a red zone interception against the Eagles and 1-2 against the Chiefs with the missed opportunity costing them a chance to take a 14-0 lead. The Redskins’ quest to get to even average in the red zone, which would mean getting a TD on about 50 percent of their opportunities, continues.
MORE REDSKINS: THE REDSKINS WEEK THAT WAS
—The Redskins have made some improvement in their other 2016 bugaboo. They allowed opponents to convert 46.6 percent of their third downs into first downs. That was dead last in the league. This year the conversion rate is 42.0 percent, good for 21st in the NFL.
—Many fans complain that the Redskins are still giving up too many third and long conversions, but that really isn’t the case. Washington has given up first downs on 23.1 percent of third downs with eight yards or more to go. That’s slightly better than the league average of 23.5 percent. Sure, you’d like the Redskins to do better than average, but compared to last year, when they gave up conversions on 36.1 percent of third and eight or more to go, the issue is on the back burner for now.
—One of the reasons the Redskins struggled on third down last year is that they gave up a league-worst five yards per rushing play on first down. This year, that is down to 3.8 yards per carry. That’s 17th in the league. There is a subtle but significant difference between facing second and five as they did last year and second and more than six.
—Back to the offense, they are not that much better at running the ball, but they are running the ball more often. They are seventh in the league with 130 rushing yards per game. Their average of 4.5 yards per carry is ninth in the league. Last year they averaged 106 yards per game (21st), but they had the same 4.5 yards per carry average.
—Turning to special teams, Jamison Crowder is having problems returning punts. After he averaged 12.1 yards per return last year, he is sitting at 4.9 this year. That’s 23rd in the league among qualifying returners. That is bad, the two turnovers on muffed punts are worse. He has cost the Redskins chunks of field position. I’m not sure if replacing him in the answer but for sure, he needs to do better.