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Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—Ball protection

Need to Know: Redskins by the numbers—Ball protection

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 11, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 183 days ago. It will be 63 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Franchise tag contract deadline 4; Preseason opener @ Falcons 31; Final roster cut 54

The Redskins by the numbers

4—The number of games the 2015 Redskins played with zero turnovers

That was their best performance in that area since 2012 when they had six turnover-free games. That year they set a team record with just 14 giveaways all year. It’s not a coincidence that they won the NFC East both years. Playing games without giveaways is a good indicator of success but not a sure one. They had five turnover free games in 2008 but they finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs under Jim Zorn. But a closer look shows that four of those no-turnover games came during their 6-2 start that year. They had only one in the 2-6 limp to the finish.

6—The number of games the 2015 Redskins played with one turnover

The Redskins were 9-1 in games with zero or one turnovers. Since they won nine games it’s not too hard to figure out that they did not win a game in which they turned the ball over two times or more. It’s safe to say that they had a very thin margin for error. Last year all NFL teams had a .619 winning percentage when turning the ball over zero or one time (181-1110). The league went 75-145 with two or more giveaways (.341).

9—The number of games where the Redskins’ defense had two or more takeaways

They were 5-4 in those games. So taking the ball away didn’t help them as much as giving it away hurt them.

70—The number of drives the 2015 Redskins had with three or fewer plays

Only seven teams had more. But that doesn’t meant that the Redskins were all that bad when it came to three and out drives. They scored 11 touchdowns on drives of three plays or fewer; only one team scored more. And they weren’t all drives where they got possession deep in the opponent’s territory. There were two quick drives of 80 yards each (two and three plays), one of 77 (one play) and one of 72 yards (three plays).

41—The number of touchdown drives the Redskins had in 2015

Those drives averaged 7.6 plays, covered 65.9 yards and ate 3:42 of the clock. The league averages were 7.3 plays, 66.4 yards, and took 3:20. The average team had 38 touchdown drives. I’m not sure how significant this is but of the top 12 teams with the most time-consuming average drive only two, the Redskins and Seahawks, made the playoffs.

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The Cardinals could be the cure to the Redskins' pass rushing issues

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USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals could be the cure to the Redskins' pass rushing issues

The Redskins have not had a very good year when it comes to sacking the opposing quarterback. They have 31 sacks for the season, 17th in the NFL.

They had a then-NFL best 32-game streak with at least one sack came to an end in Week 10 against the Vikings.

Ryan Kerrigan is doing well with 9.0 sacks to his credit. Preston Smith has five but only a half since Week 6. Matt Ioannidis and Jonathan Allen were forming a solid interior pass rush tandem early in the year but Allen went on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury and Ioannidis suffered a broken hand that limited his playing time and effectiveness.

MORE REDSKINS: IS GALETTE ON HIS WAY OUT?

But the cure to the Redskins’ pass-rushing ills just may be coming to town on Sunday in the form of the Arizona Cardinals and quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

The Cardinals have given up 44 sacks on the season; that’s 31st in the NFL.

Things have gotten worse in the last couple of weeks, with Gabbert going down a combined 15 times against the Rams and Titans.

If you think that the Cardinals may have hit rock bottom, consider that two starters, left tackle Jared Veldheer and right guard Earl Watford, won’t be playing due to injuries.

Will Holden, a rookie fifth-round pick, will start at left tackle and Evan Boehm, who lost his job to Watford earlier this season, will be the right guard.

Of course, the Redskins have to go out and make it happen. The entire Cowboys offense was slumping until they met the Redskins a couple of weeks ago. They can’t be a haven for a struggling unit once again.

In any case, it is an opportunity that is in front of the Redskins. It’s up to them to take advantage of it.

RELATED: REED LIKELY TO STAY IN 2018

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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Need to Know: State of the Redskins, Week 15—Looking for motivation

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Need to Know: State of the Redskins, Week 15—Looking for motivation

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, December 14, three days before the Washington Redskins play the Cardinals at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 1 p.m.; Jay Gruden and Greg Manusky news conferences and open locker room after practice, approx. 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 10
—Redskins @ Giants (12/17) 17
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 133

State of the Redskins

Top storylines

Jobs on the line? It’s been the conventional wisdom that the jobs of Jay Gruden and his staff are safe, barring a complete collapse at the end of the year. Well, after two ugly losses we are 40 percent of the way to a complete collapse. The Redskins don’t even have to look good down the stretch, they just need to win two of the final three and be competitive in the other. Gruden might be able to survive a couple more games like the Cowboys and Chargers debacles but if that happens I wouldn’t want to be him on January 1, the day after the season ends.

Shutdowns started—Jordan Reed going on injured reserve could be the first of a few moves to end the seasons of players who won’t be healthy in time to play in more than one or two games. It lets the player dive into rehab and it lets the team sign and get a look at a player who can stay on the roster through the offseason and compete for a roster spot in 2018. There could be more coming up until Week 17.

Playing out the string—Last week, when the Redskins were technically alive for the playoffs they apparently couldn’t muster enough motivation to prepare properly. It will be interesting to see how they react this week with their playoff odds reduced to zero.

Last three games

Sunday vs. Cardinals (6-7)—The Cardinals have fallen even further than the Redskins. Two years ago, they were on their way to a first-round bye and an appearance in the NFC title game. This season they are 6-7 after suffering from a raft of injuries, including losing their starting QB and All-Pro running back David Johnson. Can two teams with nothing to play for put on an entertaining show?

Christmas Eve vs. Broncos (4-9)—And in comes another team that has fallen even further and harder. The Broncos were lifting the Super Bowl Trophy two years ago. Now, the defense that spearheaded that run is still solid but without a reliable quarterback, they are having issues. At this point, your guess at if it will be Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, or Brock Osweiler starting at quarterback is as good as mine.

New Year’s Eve @ Giants (2-11)—Will this game be bye-bye to Eli? Changes are coming to New York and Manning, sometimes a Redskins nemesis and sometimes a player who gift-wrapped wins for Washington, could be on the way out. The Redskins could be playing to avoid the kind of upheaval that has already begun in the Big Apple.

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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