Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 27, one day before the Washington Redskins travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys on Monday night football.
Sunday morning Redskins thoughts and observations
—The Redskins are in the top 10 in the NFL in both yards gained (6th) and yards allowed (7th). Only the Broncos, who are 6-1 and probably the best team in the NFL, are in the top 10 in both categories. And the Redskins are second behind Denver in the NFL in yards per play differential. They gain .9 yards more per play than they give up. Of the top 10 teams in this statistical category only the Redskins and Saints have losing records.
—Those numbers don’t lie but they don’t tell the whole story. They are 2-5 because they only convert 31.7 percent of their third downs (31st in the NFL) and because they have turned the ball over 15 times (30th) and have taken it away only six times (28th).
—Are these problems easy to fix? No. Are the insurmountable obstacles? No.
—To be clear, I’m not saying they are a few tweaks away from being as good as the Broncos. But if they can convert over 40 percent of the third downs and improve both sides of the turnover ratio equation they can be respectable. They will need an infusion of talent in a few areas if they are going to get to where they want to be.
—The site Football Perspective tracks a stat they call the Game Script. It averages out each team’s scoring margin for every second of every game. Positive is good, meaning the team is typically leading at a given point during a game. The Colts have the best Game Script at plus-7.9 points. The Bucs have the worst at minus-11.4. As you might expect, Washington’s is negative at minus-1.5.
—Using the Game Script, he Football Perspective guys figure out how often a team should be expected to pass the ball given the score differential and comparing it to how much other teams pass in the same situation. I looked at this concept here earlier this month. The Redskins continue to be on the pass-happy side. They pass on 62.5 percent of their snaps compared to an expectation of 59.8 percent. That differential of 2.7 percent is the 11th-highest in the NFL.
—It should be noted that of the 10 teams that are more pass happy than the Redskins, all but two, the Raiders and Jaguars, have stable, established players at QB. It's one thing passing a lot with Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady; it's quite another doing so with Kirk Cousins.
—Those of you who were paying attention during the offseason might recall that for a week or so it looked like the Redskins were going to sign outside linebacker Anthony Spencer away from the Cowboys. Spencer had 11 sacks in 2012 but missed most of last season after having microfracture surgery on his knee. Washington was hoping to steal him away from Dallas to add another possible pass-rush weapon. But they couldn’t come to a deal and he ended up staying with the Cowboys. This was a case of the best deals sometimes being the ones that you don’t make. Spencer has played in four games and has yet to register a sack or even a tackle. He made it through a full week of practice this week for the first time this year.
—Today’s schedule: Team travels to Dallas, no media availability
—Days until: Monday night Redskins @ Cowboys 1; Redskins @ Vikings 7; Bucs @ Redskins 21
If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I'll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
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