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Redskins key stats: Red zone woes on offense persist

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Redskins key stats: Red zone woes on offense persist

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.

RELATED: THE REDSKINS' 2018 CAP IS IN GOOD SHAPE

—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.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

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AP Images

Redskins leave Philadelphia with more injuries than they came in with, somehow

The Redskins went into Lincoln Financial Field somewhat banged up. They left in worse shape than they were when they arrived.

The most significant injury seemed to be to guard Brandon Scherff. Coach Jay Gruden said that he had an MCL injury and that he will get an MRI on Tuesday. He left the game late in the third quarter and did not return. Scherff rarely takes plays off and the feeling is that he could have a significant injury. He headed to the team bus to the airport with a brace on the knee.

OT Trent Williams came into the game with a patella injury in his knee and he aggravated it late in the game, missing the Redskins’ last couple of possessions. He did not practice all week to rest the injury. We will see as the week goes by if the injury will allow Williams to continue to play.

OT Morgan Moses sprained both ankles and he returned to the game after each injury. He undoubtedly will be very sore tomorrow and we will see how he recovers.

MORE: FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM A DISCOURAGING LOSS

The other reported injuries were more minor in nature, although they could cost the players some games. CB Fabian Moreau had a hamstring strain and he left the game. OLB Preston Smith, who has been one of the team’s best pass rushers this year, left the game with a groin strain. He attempted to return but he had to go back out. CB Josh Holsey had a chest contusion and he returned after going to the locker room to be examined.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

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USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins' discouraging 34-24 loss vs. the Eagles

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 34-24 loss to the Eagles:

The Redskins have to keep the hammer down—They scored the first time they had the ball and then they had a few empty possessions. Washington took a 10-3 lead but the Redskins then got into the cycle of short, ineffective offensive possessions getting their defense back on the field too soon. The way Carson Wentz is playing, if you give him enough chances you will pay for it.

They won’t win if they don’t run—The running backs carries 14 times. Sure, the game got away in the second half, reducing their opportunities, but the rushing game was an issue throughout. In the first half they had a pair of third and ones and a third and two and they passed all three times. All three were incomplete, which led to the issues in the first item here. If the Redskins have a balanced offense they have a shot at beating almost anyone. If they don’t run the ball enough the odds are against them.

MORE: REDSKINS OFFENSIVE, DEFENSIVE MVP FOR PHILLY GAME

Redskins fans have the Cleveland Browns to thank for 10 years of Wentz—The Browns played Moneyball and traded the rights to draft Wentz to the Eagles. Like just about everything the Browns do, it didn’t work out. Now the Redskins, Giants, and Cowboys will pay for the Browns’ mistake for years to come. That run out of the pack of rushing linemen was both amazing and critical. It turned a punt back to the Redskins, who were down by seven, into a first down and an eventual touchdown.

The defense needs to get itself off the field—It’s easy to blame the offense for the problems with possessing the ball. But the defense could do its part, too, by getting itself off the field. At times, it feels like the Redskins’ defense is better than it has been in years but they gave up touchdown drives of 81, 80, 80, and 75 yards. At some point you have to show you’re better and get a takeaway or just make a stop to get off the field. Until then, the group has not improved in a meaningful way. I should note that the injuries have something to do with it, for sure. Dunbar did not play poorly but they pay Josh Norman $15 million per year for a reason.

There is a lot of season left to be played—The Redskins are 3-3 and two games away from the midway point to the season. They would have to rely on an Eagles’ collapse to win the NFC East but it’s entirely possible that they could. All but one other second-place team has three losses and the Redskins get their shot at the Seahawks in a couple of weeks. Fans have every right to feel frustrated after this loss but it’s not the end of the line. There still is plenty for this team to play for. Some of the injured players aren’t coming back but if they can round into reasonably good health in the next few weeks they still have a lot that they can accomplish.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.