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One stat explains why Redskins' red zone production should be better without DeSean, Pierre

One stat explains why Redskins' red zone production should be better without DeSean, Pierre

The Redskins offense moved the ball at an elite clip in 2016, with Kirk Cousins throwing for nearly 5,000 yards, ranking third in the NFL. When it came to the red zone, however, Washington struggled to get touchdowns. All too often the team ended up with field goals instead of TDs, and all too often that was the difference in wins and losses.

This fall, some question has emerged if the Redskins offense will move the ball as well considering the losses of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon. The two receivers accounted for more than 40 percent of Cousins' production in 2016, and that loss would be difficult for any team to overcome. The Redskins seem to be in position to offset much of that production between free agent addition Terrelle Pryor, third-year slot star Jamison Crowder and 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson. 

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

In the red zone, though, the loss of Jackson and Garçon might actually help. 

Rotoworld did a study on unreliable red zone receivers, and both the former Redskins playmakers landed on the list. From Rotoworld:

Losing Jackson and Garcon was a big blow to Washington’s passing attack, but that is not as true when talking about the red zone. The duo combined to catch just two touchdowns on 24 red-zone targets, a fact which certainly contributed to Washington’s near-league-worst touchdown rate in the scoring area. Garcon has had better seasons than last, but overall he has been a relatively poor bet in the red zone throughout his career while Jackson has converted 12.2 percent of his career opportunities. It may be good news for Kirk Cousins, then, that the pair is being replaced by Terrelle Pryor and, perhaps, Josh Doctson. Even in Cleveland’s passing “attack,” Pryor was able to secure 30.8 percent of his red-zone looks and 3-of-4 inside the 10-yard line. Doctson did not have many opportunities in the red zone as a rookie because of his injury, but one of his biggest perceived strengths coming out of college was his ability in contested situations. If Pryor and Doctson pick up the targets vacated by Jackson and Garcon and perhaps a few more, Washington and Cousins could be much more successful in the red zone this year.​

The Redskins do have a red zone playmaker in Jordan Reed. He ranked 17th on Rotoworld's list of most dominant red zone receivers, and the simple fact remains when he is healthy and in games the Redskins generally score more. 

A healthy Reed, paired with 6-foot-4 Pryor and 6-foot-2 Doctson on the outside with Crowder in the slot, will look much different than the 2016 offense that had 6-foot Garçon and 5-foot-10 Jackson on the outside in most formations. 

With new, bigger wideouts it's still possible the Redskins struggle in the red zone, but it's hard to imagine the team performs at the same level as they did in 2016.


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Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Associated Press

Need to Know: Looking at the Redskins' offensive depth chart after early phase of free agency

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 19, 38 days before the NFL draft.  

Free agency notes and nuggets

Looking at the 2018 depth chart—offense

The Redskins are likely to make a few more free agent acquisitions and there is the draft, but the depth chart is beginning to settle in. Let’s take a look at where the offensive side of the ball stands now. The defense is up tomorrow

Quarterback: Alex Smith
Backups: Colt McCoy

The only question here is if the Redskins will draft a late-round project quarterback to develop as the backup. McCoy is in the last year of his contract and he may not be back in 2019.

Running back: Samaje Perine
Backups: Chris Thompson, Rob Kelley, draft pick

This is an area to watch. Thompson could end up being the only carryover if they get a draft pick who can start and decide to keep 2017 late-season addition Kapri Bibbs or if they find another veteran. They also could go with only three running backs.

Wide receivers: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder
Backups: Maurice Harris, Robert Davis, Brian Quick

They may not carry six, so Harris, Davis, and Quick might battle it out for two spots. It’s possible that they will put a draft pick into the mix as well.

MORE REDSKINS: The Redskins week that was

Tight end: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle

As of right now, this appears to be one of the few position groups you can write in with a Sharpie. If the Redskins are going to be better in 2018, a lot of the improvement will have to come from improvement of 2017 draft picks like Sprinkle. If he can develop into a solid blocker and a moderate receiving threat he will be an asset.

Offensive line: LT Trent Williams, LG Arie Kouandjio, C Chase Roullier RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
Backups: T Ty Nsekhe, G/T Tyler Catalina, G Kyle Kalis, T T.J. Clemmings

Kouandjio is a placeholder at left guard for the moment. He was solid pass blocking but struggled in run blocking in six starts in injury fill-in duty. I think that if they bring in another interior O-lineman in free agency or in the draft, Roullier will remain at center. I think Jay Gruden likes the way he is developing there and wants to continue.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Tandler on Twitter


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 28
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 130
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 174

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Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins


Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins

NFL free agency doesn't care about your brackets. 

While you were watching UMBC, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee is currently on a visit with the Redskins:

Pernell, 29, was drafted in 2011 out of Mississppi State by the Baltimore Ravens. He played there for three years before spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears. 

Pernell has 182 career tackles and 31 career sacks.