The Redskins are much better on third down than they were last year and it may have a lot to do with what they get done on first and second down.
“I think when you convert on third down a lot of things have to happen,” said Jay Gruden when asked about the team’s improvement on third down from 30.5 percent last year to 44.8 percent so far this year. “One, you have to be in a makeable third down. We have not been in a lot of third down and 10-plus. Last year it seemed like we were in three or four a game. This year we're in more third down and two to seven.”
A look at the numbers shows that Gruden is right about the third and medium situations. In 2014, they faced third and from two to seven yards 83 times in 16 games, 5.1 times per game. This year they have been in third and short 65 times in nine games, 7.2 times per game. So they are in third and medium about 40 percent more often per game this year than last year.
They are also doing much better in converting those medium situations. The Redskins were successful 45.7 percent of the time last year and 53.8 percent this year.
As far as the third and 10 or more situations, the Redskins have been in 3.4 of those per game compared to 4.1 last year. That’s not a huge difference but they have been much better at converting them. They converted five times when in third and 10 or more all of last year; the Redskins have done it four times already this year.