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Asking the 2020 Redskins to make these three big stat jumps feels quite reasonable

Asking the 2020 Redskins to make these three big stat jumps feels quite reasonable

The buzz about Ron Rivera taking over the Redskins is real and also justified. He has a track record of success, both as a player and as a coach, and his serious style that emphasizes competition appears to be just what the franchise needs.

Do not forget, though, that Rivera is trying to turn around one of the league's most limited teams, one that's coming off of a particularly grim season. Expecting him, his new staff and his reshaped roster to fix everything in 2020 is unrealistic.

That said, it does feel reasonable to want the Redskins to adhere to the following motto in Rivera's first year: Double the win total from 2019 and cut in half some of the uglier stats.

Obviously, if they accomplish the first task, they'll go from 3-13 to 6-10. That wouldn't mean playoffs but it would mean progress.

As for the second task, what are some reasonable stats to ask the Redskins to be a lot better in? Here are three areas where if they're able to cut their 2019 finish in half, they'll find themselves in a lot more games.

Third down defense

2019 finish: 32nd (allowed conversions 48.9% of the time)

2020 goal: 16th (Seahawks finished 16th in 2019 at 38.4%)

The defense, thanks to the arrivals of Rivera, Jack Del Rio and Chase Young, is already starting to receive attention as a potential breakout unit. However, while the front is loaded, linebacker still seems to have a pretty short ceiling and corner is a mystery as of now.

So, those envisioning the Burgundy and Gold among the sport's top defenses may want to reel in those hopes and instead focus on getting this key number to a league-average spot.

Yes, that will feel inadequate and conservative to some, but take this into consideration: If the Redskins matched Seattle's 16th-best third down defense in 2019, they would've given up 24 fewer conversions overall (87 compared to 111). That comes out to 1.5 fewer conversions on a per-game basis, and even just one or two more stops on a Sunday can completely alter the score, time of possession, etc.

The pass rush should be a lot scarier in 2020, but remember that coverage and tackling in space matter just as much on third downs, and it's unclear if the Redskins really improved in those places. That's why going from literally the worst in the NFL to just fine should be the aim here. Don't underestimate how crucial that would be.

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Passing yards

2019 finish: 32nd (2,812 yards)

2020 goal: 16th (Jaguars finished 16th in 2019 with 3,760 yards)

Coming up with something for the offense to shoot for is tough. For example, wanting them to cut their final placement in scoring in half (from 32nd to 16th) (those numbers are starting to come up a lot, huh?) means asking them to add an additional six points to each contest. That's not exactly fair or likely.

That's why passing yards is the designated metric, and 3,760 yards is a completely appropriate total to look for out of Dwayne Haskins. If he's able to start all 16 games for Washington, then he'd have to throw for an average of 235 yards to get there.

Now, passing yards can be a very flawed stat at times. A signal caller with a rolling running game, for instance, will finish with a lower output that week than another QB who's piling up garbage completions in a blowout loss. Therefore, this should be far from the only way to measure the offense and Haskins in 2020.

Even so, it is a milestone worth working toward, because it would signal that Haskins is handling more of the load and the group as a whole is more well-rounded. 

Red zone touchdowns

2019 finish: 27th (scored TDs 48.7% of the time)

2020 goal: 13th (Saints finished 13th in 2019 at 59.3%)

Just so you know, the Redskins didn't finish last in every stat last season. When it came to capping drives in the red zone with six points rather than three, they weren't the worst — but they were still quite bad.

There are factors on offense that should help them be more effective in 2020 from the 20 and in, though, including Haskins gaining experience there, Scott Turner's influence on the play calling, and more versatile options to turn to like Antonio Gibson, Antonio Gandy-Golden and JD McKissic.

Of the three areas in this story, this may be the hardest leap to pull off. But if the Redskins can make it while also getting off the field more on third downs and featuring even just a decent passing attack, 2020 will be a lot more pleasant than its predecessor.   

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Ten new fan-generated logo and uniform designs for Redskins name change

Ten new fan-generated logo and uniform designs for Redskins name change

While the Redskins conduct a thorough review of the team’s name, avid fans have taken to social media to speculate about potential replacement nicknames and logos for the team.

Some names have certainly emerged as the frontrunners as fans creatively repurpose the burgundy and gold in new designs.

NBC Sports Washington has tracked these fan-generated names and logos over the past week, but here are some of the newest creations to grace the internet. 

Red Stallions

Warriors

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So, I've been thinking a lot about this rebrand for the Redskins. First off, I think it's damn late...but I'm glad they're finally taking action. They've got a few cool new names in the running: RedHawks, Red Tails and Warriors...my personal favorite. With football being the ultimate team sport, I think having a Spartan as the mascot makes a ton of sense and I'd totally dig seeing one on the side of a helmet. I also wanted to showcase some creative typography...I get a lot of shit for my stuff looking like college logos but hey, I think some of their concepts have so much creativity as opposed to the corporate creativity of the NFL. Ah well, there's a place for everything I guess! 😂 With that, I put together my take on the Warriors of Washington. I decided to show both my logo concept as well as a new helmet and even throw in a new way of presenting the name as opposed to just "Washington Warriors". Anyway, that's my lengthy explanation. Don't forget to SWIPE to see the helmet! Hope y'all dig it. ✌️🔥✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻 #redskins #warriors #redskinsnation #washingtonwarriors

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Red Wolves

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Another idea for the team name that has gained a lot of steam in the last few weeks is the Washington Red Wolves. This is a great name in my opinion. It’s original and we can keep HTTR which are my biggest requirements. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Follow @always.redskins for all things redskins - - - #Redskins #RedskinsFootball #MontezSweat #NFLOffseason #SocialMediaMarketing #Sports #LandonCollins #RedskinsCountry #FootballNews #HailToTheRedskins #RedskinsUnited #HTTR #DerriusGuice #DwayneHaskins #RedskinsNation #NFL #BallisLife #WashingtonDC #HTTR4Life #ChaseYoung #Marketing #TerryMcLaurin #KendallFuller #RedskinsFamily #WashingtonRedskins #HTTRNation #NFLUpdate #Football #RedskinsPride #HTTR🏈

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Redtails

Hogs

Redhawks

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Fred Smoot totally convinced me. Let's call this team the Washington Red Wolves

Fred Smoot totally convinced me. Let's call this team the Washington Red Wolves

At first, I was a Red Tails guy. Then, I was sort of a nothing guy. But now, after spending about 30 rambunctious minutes on a Thursday Zoom call with Fred Smoot — who apparently consumed a two gallon jug of 5-hour Energy before joining our Redskins Talk & Friends Facebook show — I've found my pack to run with. 

When the Washington Redskins settle on a new name, that new name needs to be the Washington Red Wolves.

HOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. OWWW OWWW OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

I at first dismissed this specific candidate in this race. To me, it sounded like a fifth grade basketball team or the result of someone pulling out two slips of paper from a hat — one with a color and one with a random animal — and saying, "THIS is the choice."

But Smoot, who has been leading this movement from the start, has officially convinced me. I'm now, at long last, feeling an attachment to one of the many, many suggestions for the franchise's next era. And it's because of all the sweet things that could come from changing the Redskins to the Red Wolves.

Imagine a packed stadium (yes, I know that's hard because of the pandemic and because FedEx Field is a lot of words yet packed is rarely among them, but just work with me here) of fans howling after a huge third down stop. 

Clapping and cheering? Screw those celebrations. Those are so outdated. They're so boring. At Red Wolves home games, people bay at the moon when Chase Young drops Dak Prescott.   

That's where Smoot really hooked me.

Under this potential name, Washington could finally have a real and unique atmosphere again. The stadium could be nicknamed The Wilderness. The Jumobtron will have growling sounds emanating from it constantly. There's truly no such thing as too much growling.

But that's not the only part of his compelling sales pitch.

Think of the uniform and logo potential as well. Think about it!!!

Yes, Redskins supporters will surely miss the look of their favorite team, one that they've gotten used to over decades and decades of Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. But that longing for the past will last all of four seconds when Terry McLaurin comes sprinting out of the tunnel in some threads that look like this...:

...and meets his teammates at a midfield that looks something similar to this: 

Switching to the Red Wolves would also allow some of the key traditions, like the "HTTR" mantra and familiar color scheme, to remain. Even the fight song (with some slight touching up) could stick around.

Plus, it already has the endorsement from one key Redskin in Jonathan Allen. He wouldn't mind referring to the team's digs as The Den (I still think The Wilderness is better, but I'm a blogger and he's an NFL D-tackle, so it's obvious who's winning that one) and, overall, called the idea "fire."

Allen is correct. Smoot is correct. Every Twitter user I initially scoffed at is correct (but I'll keep scoffing at a lot of you regardless). 

For 80-plus years, this area's beloved football team has been the Redskins. It sure feels like that chapter is coming to a close, though.

So, when the new one begins, I hope it centers around the Red Wolves. And I hope it centers around them for 800-plus years, too. Maybe even 8,000.

HOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW. OWW OWWW OWWWWWWWW.

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