The Redskins are like a group of amateur petty thieves who know how to “acquire” merchandise but don’t know what to do with it once they get it.
Washington is one of the more adept teams in the league when it comes to getting takeaways. But they have no idea what to do with the ball once they take it away. More often than not they spin their wheels on offense and punt. They gain a field position advantage, which is not completely meaningless but not the goal. Rarely do they turn the takeaways into points.
They have 20 takeaways and they have started 18 drives from them (other two were on the last plays of games). They have scored 25 points off of turnovers, coming from one touchdown and six field goals. Despite the fact that they are 10th in the NFL with 20 takeaways they are 28th in the league with 25 points (1 touchdown, 6 FG) off of those takeaways.
To answer the question I know is on your mind, no, that’s not good.
It’s not as through they are getting all of their takeaways deep in their own territory. Eight of their takeaways have resulted in drives starting in the opponents’ territory. On those drives they have one touchdown, two field goals, one missed field goal, three punts and they turned the ball over on downs once.
“I think consistency, really, amongst everybody,” said Gruden when asked about the team’s inability to cash in on takeaways. “Unfortunately it’s not one thing that we can pinpoint. It might one time was schematically. We run into a horrible look that you’re not going to get success no matter how you block it. It might be we miss a throw or miss a read or miss a progression. It might be a protection we blow or have a miscommunication on a route concept. There’s a lot of things offensively that we’re not doing from a consistent standpoint that we should be doing by Week 13. We should be better and we just haven’t been for whatever reason, and capitalizing on turnovers is a major, major issue.
“Last night [against Dallas], the defense put us in great situations to be successful offensively and we didn’t take care of business.”
In fact, he could have said the same thing about the previous game against the Giants. In the two games combined the Redskins had six takeaways that they turned into a grand total of three points.
Perhaps they could benefit by being more aggressive right off the bat when they get a takeaway in the opponents’ territory. Of the six takeaways against the Cowboys and Giants, four were on the plus side of the 50-yard line. This four drives started out with three runs (two by Alfred Morris, one a Jamison Crowder end around) and one short pass to Pierre Garçon. The defense wasn’t particularly challenged after the sudden change and those possessions ended up yielding the Redskins three points.
One thing they have not tried after getting a takeaway in the other team's territory is going for the jugular right away. On none of the plays following takeaways in the other team's territory have they run a pass play designed to score immediately or at least to set them up in a goal to go situation. Runs up the middle and a few short passes have been the standard fare.
Yesterday Gruden said that he is going to reexamine the team’s ineffective running game to see if he needs to shake things up to get that going. Perhaps he could zoom in a little and look at the plays being called immediately after takeaways to see what can be done better there.