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Need to Know: Redskins have a big mountain to climb to improve their record

Need to Know: Redskins have a big mountain to climb to improve their record

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 6, 24 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

A big mountain to climb

A few weeks ago here I looked at some reasons why the Redskins could be better than we think. If you’ve been looking for the other side of that coin, reasons why the Redskins might not have a record much better than the 4-12 they posted last year, here it is.

If they do again end up with double-digit losses it won’t necessarily be due to not having improved personnel or the coaching staff. Scot McCloughan has done a good job of shoring up the team’s major weaknesses (and the hiring of McCloughan filled a major weak spot in the front office).

But the Redskins have a big mountain to climb. As Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post pointed out, the Redskins weren’t just bad last year. They were really bad.

They were outscored by 137 points, an average of 8.6 per game. Only three other teams had a worse point differential. If you look at the 15 games they played against teams not named the Jacksonville Jaguars that per-game deficit increases to 10.5 points per game. Their 12 losses came by an average of over two touchdowns (14.6 points).

The Redskins did not lose many games that they were in late. Only in the losses to the Eagles, Vikings and 49ers were they truly competitive throughout. If you want to say that they “shoulda” won those games, that’s fine. But they also “coulda” lost to the Titans, Cowboys, and Eagles.

In short, they were what their record said they were.

A tremendous improvement for the 2015 Redskins would be to cut the scoring deficit by about six points per game. If they can do that, they would be around -40 in scoring. What kind of record could that get them?

Last year the Browns were outscored by 38 and went 7-9. The Falcons were -36 in net points and went 6-10. The Panthers won the NFC South at 7-8-1 while going -35 in net points. Going back to 2013 the Bills were -49 in points and 6-10 in the standings.

So we could expect some modest improvement in their record if they can shave that scoring deficit down to a few points per game. How likely is such an improvement? It would be unusual but not unheard of. Since Joe Gibbs’ first departure from the Redskins head coaching job in 1992, they have improved by at least 85 net points from one season to the next five times. The most recent was from 2011-2012 when they went from -79 to +48, a 127-point swing in the positive direction.

That improvement lifted the Redskins from 5-11 in last place to 10-6 and the NFC East title. Rookies Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris got the team’s offense rolling and led the turnaround. Is there a similar transformational force this time around?

Perhaps at least a partial return to form by Griffin, a revitalized rushing game featuring Morris and rookie Matt Jones and a solid defensive improvement will spur some solid improvement.

It’s possible but far from certain that they will experience the type of turnaround they have seen once every four years or so in the past 20 years. They also could be better, maybe substantially better, and still not have it show up in the "W" column. We will see if they can take a giant leap forward or if any progress is more in the form of baby steps.

Timeline

—It’s been 190 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 69 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 24; Preseason opener @ Browns 38; final cuts 61

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Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

By Ryan Wormeli

The Redskins eked out a close win at home on Sunday, coming away with a 26-24 final over the 49ers. One of the keys to the team's success on offense was their effective screen game. 

Doc Walker says running back Chris Thompson is the best in the NFL at catching screens and turning them into big plays. Still, he knows it takes more than just one great player to find success in the screen game.

On Redskins Gameplan, he turned to the film to break down three big plays from Sunday's victory, highlighting the offensive line in giving Thompson the room he needed to make something happen.

Play 1: Recievers getting in on the "Block Party"

Nearly half of the Redskins on the field for this play found themselves with someone to block. Walker points out how active the big guys are, shouting out Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao in particular. The receivers get some shine too, with Doc even pointing out, "You know you gotta give 11 some credit on that."

RELATED: LATEST 6 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Play 2: Trent Williams just keeps looking for guys to block

With the Redskins deep in their own territory, they once again call for a screen pass, and you know Doc gets really excited to see the big fellas move.

"Now watch the big uglies, downfield. Agile! Hostile! Getting after it! Staying on their feet, no belly floppers," exclaimed Walker. "That's the key to it."

Play 3: Brandon Scherff redeems himself later in the drive

Brandon Scherff started off this important drive with a holding penalty, costing his team valuable yards. He then saw the screen pass as an opportunity to make it up to his teammates, and he takes full advantage.

Doc has just one thing to say for players staring down an angry Brandon Scherff.

"You, my friend, are in trouble."

RELATED: WEEK 7 STATE OF THE 'SKINS

The Redskins probably hoped their game against the winless 49ers would be a bit more comfortable than a 26-24 victory. Still, when they found themselves in a dogfight, they were able to rely on their quality screen game to get them big yardage when needed, and it helped them come out with a big Week 6 win.

For more segments like this, tune in to Redskins Gameplan at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

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All about the Lisfranc injury, the injury that Jonathan Allen is now dealing with

allen_vs_eagles.jpg
Bob Youngentob

All about the Lisfranc injury, the injury that Jonathan Allen is now dealing with

Whether you're a medical expert or not, odds are that when you saw the words "Lisfranc injury" next to the words "Jonathan Allen," you had an inkling that wasn't a good thing. Unfortunately, that inkling was right.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Allen, who was originally expected to miss about a month, will actually be sidelined for the rest of the season because of the Lisfranc issue that popped up in Washington's game vs. San Francisco. So, what's the deal with this injury?

Here's some information on the ailment that ended the first-round pick's first year with the Redskins.

MORE: UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS — 'SKINS REMAIN IN TOP 10

What part of the foot is affected by a Lisfranc injury?

OrthoInfo.org says that a Lisfranc injury occurs when bones "in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn." They're common with football players because often times they happen when one player steps on the foot of another, or when a player's cleat doesn't release normally from the field.

What's the recovery from a Lisfranc injury like?

Players affected by a Lisfranc injury can opt to take the surgery route or recover without surgery. According to Ian Rapoport, though, Allen has chosen to undergo surgery.

After the operation, Allen will probably stay off the foot for at least a month and a half or two months. He'll then be allowed to slowly bear weight on it, and eventually, the screws should be removed.

Reputable NFL doctor Robert Anderson said in a 2013 interview that the overall process usually takes five or six months. However, as is the case for most surgeries, recovery time does vary.

RELATED: WASHINGTON IS VISITING AN MVP FAVORITE IN PHILLY

What other NFL players have had a Lisfranc injury in the past?

As mentioned earlier, this isn't an uncommon injury in the NFL. Here's a sample of guys who've had it in the recent past:

  • Matt Schaub
  • Le'Veon Bell
  • Jake Locker
  • Morgan Moses (his rookie year was also ended by one)
  • Maurice Jones-Drew
  • Santonio Holmes
  • Jimmy Smith
  • Dwight Freeney

Some guys, like Bell and Freeney, emerged from the injury and continued to improve. But others, like Locker and Holmes, had major difficulty coming back from it.

Can a Lisfranc injury linger?

It sure can, and that's obviously something the Redskins are really, really hoping won't happen with Allen. A study published by the University of Pennsylvania reported that more than 90 percent of players who suffered a Lisfranc injury resumed playing within 15 months (Allen should apparently come back much sooner) and saw no noticeable decrease in performance.

With that being said, arthritis can flare up in the foot. In addition, players can still feel pain long after surgery and long after their return to action. So this is clearly a tricky thing and something that may affect the talented defensive lineman for a long time to come.