Redskins

Quick Links

Need to Know: Why did the Redskins struggle on third down in 2014?

redskins-line-vs-eagles.png

Need to Know: Why did the Redskins struggle on third down in 2014?

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, July 2, 28 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

 

Historically bad

When the Redskins do something poorly, they don’t mess around.

In 2013 when they had some bad special teams play, they were historically bad. Football Outsiders has been tracking special teams data since 1989. Of all the teams since then only one, the 2000 Buffalo Bills had worse special teams play than the 2013 Redskins.

Last year’s team improved the special teams from awful to merely bad but they did reach historic depths in a different important category. The folks at FO tell us that only three teams since 1990 have been as bad as the 2014 Redskins were on third downs. One of those teams was the 2002 expansion Texans so they should get a pass. For the record, the other two were the 2004 Bears and the 1992 Seahawks.

FO takes more into account here than the simple conversion percentage, which was 31.5 percent, 30th in the NFL in 2014. Although the post doesn’t specify, FO metrics generally take into account the quality of the opponent, success rate compared to the rest of the league, and other such factors.

When Jay Gruden and company were asked about third down problems the usual response was that they had too far to go on third down, that they needed to be in third and shorter yardage more often. But on the average third down Washington had 7.5 yards to go; the league average was 7.3 to go. That’s a difference of about seven inches, not enough to say that the Redskins were considerably worse off. The Bucs had 8.6 yards to go on their average third down and they managed to convert 38.4 percent of the time, a conversion rate nearly 25 percent better than Washington’s.

In this post, Mike Tanier looks at some of the issues with the Redskins offense in general, including the third-down problem. He breaks down the failed third down attempts. I won’t go into all of them here (the post is well worth your time to read) but one that caught my eye was 35 pass completions that did not gain enough to make a first down. Fans of all teams get frustrated when their team throws short of the sticks (the average NFL team had 27 third-down completions that didn’t result in a first) but the problem seemed to be particularly acute with the Redskins. Passes like Colt McCoy’s one-yard completion to Jordan Reed on third and two in the fourth quarter in Dallas are plays you just don’t see many other teams make.

So while it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a shorter distance to go on third down, giving yourself a chance to convert by being just a touch more aggressive would help as well. As Tanier wrote in the article, "If you don't have a seven-yard pass in your playbook for 3rd-and-medium, then frankly, you don't have an NFL offense."

It seems likely that the Redskins will improve on third down this year if only because, as was the case with special teams after the 2013 debacle, there is nowhere to go but up.

Timeline

—It’s been 186 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 73 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 28; Preseason opener @ Browns 42; final cuts 65

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

In case you missed it

Quick Links

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.

Quick Links

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.