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Need to Know: Redskins improving in takeaway department lately

Need to Know: Redskins improving in takeaway department lately

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 22, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Three and out—Redskins by the numbers

1. Statistics are very useful but sometimes you have to take a closer look to see what the story really is. One of the storylines advanced by fans and some in the media is that Jay Gruden tried to make it easy on Robert Griffin III with his play calling. The Redskins ran 29 times and Griffin attempted 23 passes. The numbers were what they were but a closer look reveals that Gruden may have really been more pass happy. Griffin scrambled five times, so five of those rushing attempts were actually pass play calls. He was sacked twice so those are to more pass play calls, making the play call numbers 30 passes and 24 runs. Then look at the end of the game and you see five Alfred Morris runs to kill the clock before Kai Forbath’s game-winning field goal. That fluffed up the rushing attempt total.

2. One number that didn’t lie for the Redskins against the Eagles was their third-down conversion rate. It remained awful. They were two of nine on third down, a 22 percent conversion rate. They haven’t been over 33 percent on third down since Week 9. For the season they have converted 31.3 percent. An offense simply can’t maintain drives if it is walking off the field after two out of every three third downs.

3. While we’re on numbers, can we please just stop referring to a team’s “ranking” on offense and defense by using total yards gained and given up. The Redskins are 12th in yards gained and 13th in “total defense”. But they are 27th in both points scored and points allowed and have been outscored by 110 points. They are not even close to being in the top half of the league in terms of the effectiveness of either their offense or defense. There isn’t necessarily one number that’s better to use that’s not overly complex but just don’t be fooled by what can be highly misleading “total” numbers.

Out: One thing the Redskins have been able to do late is take the ball away from the opposition. After having nine takeaways in their first 10 games they have nine in their last five games. Some of it is luck catching up with them. Usually over the course of a season the fumbling team will recover the ball about half of the time and the other team will get it half the time. In the first 10 games the Redskins recovered only six of 15 opponents’ fumbles. In the last five games they have recovered 6 of 10. That’s 12 of 25 on the season, just about right. The interception record is still bad. They have picked off six of 485 opposition passing attempts, 1.2 percent; you should be able to stumble into more picks than that.


Today’s schedule: Off day, no media availability

Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 6; 2015 NFL Draft 129; 2015 NFL season opening Sunday 265

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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Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report


Redskins make contract offer to pass rusher Pernell McPhee, per report

Free agent pass rusher Pernell McPhee visited the Redskins on Monday, and by Tuesday night a report emerged that Washington offered the veteran outside linebacker a contract.

Last week, Trent Murphy signed with the Buffalo Bills and things remain uncertain between the Redskins and Junior Galette. That means the organization has a need for an edge rushing linebacker, and that's exactly the role McPhee can play. 

A 29-year-old that played the last three seasons with the Bears, McPhee posted 14 sacks while in Chicago. Prior to his time with the Bears, McPhee was a solid contributor on some good Ravens teams. 


His best season in Baltimore came in 2014 when he posted 7.5 sacks. That's also the last season McPhee played a full 16 game schedule. He's missed 12 games over the last three years in Chicago. 

McPhee could provide the Redskins with solid veteran depth at outside linebacker, and he's also considered a plus defender against the run. With Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith cemented as the starting outside linebackers, if signed, McPhee would pair up with Ryan Anderson on Washington's second unit. At 6-foot-2 and 275 lbs., McPhee carries more weight on his frame than either Kerrigan or Smith. 

Pro Football Focus gave McPhee a strong grade for the 2017 season. He notched a +11.5 and ranked 13th out of 46 outside linebackers graded. For comparison, Broncos star Von Miller ranked 1st at +57, Kerrigan ranked 8th at +22.9 and Galette ranked 10th at +16.2.

It's unclear what a move for McPhee would mean between the Redskins and Galette, but it's hard to imagine it helps.

Free agent Johnathan Hankins also visited Washington on Monday, and while he plays an interior defensive line position different from McPhee, it's also unclear what this offer would do to any negotiations between the Redskins and Hankins. 

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

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Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

It looks like Ryant Grant has found his new home, again.

After a failed physical with the Ravens, James Jones of NFL Network reports Grant plans to sign with the Colts.


Grant originally agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens, before the team pulled the offer citing an ankle injury that dated to the Redskins' final regular-season game, according to reports.

Baltimore eventually signed Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal, while Grant had visits with the Colts and Raiders.

His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, says Grant has been working out, running routes, and his ankle had been cleared by Dr. Robert Anderson in a second opinion.

In 2017 with the Redskins, he appeared in all 16 games, with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns.