Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 11, 15 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.
A look at how the Redskins played when they had the lead
—Last year, the Redskins ran 367 offensive plays when they were leading and 402 when trailing. That seems to be a proper breakdown for a 7-9 team. There were three games they never led (DAL, @LAC, @NYG) plus in their home game against the Eagles they held a lead for just 1:17 late in the first half. In addition to those games, there were two others that they trailed the entire second half (MIN, @PHI). There were five games that they never trailed (@LAR, OAK, SF, NYG, AZ).
—Of those 367 plays they ran when they were leading, 192 were passes and 175 were runs. While that plays into the notion that Gruden is pass happy, the truth is that the pass was more effective than the run in 2017. They averaged 6.5 net yards per pass attempt (accounting for sacks) and 3.6 per run. When a running play is frequently going to have you in second and seven or longer, the smart move is to throw the ball more and run just enough to keep the other team honest.
—The key is to get a good enough running game so you don’t have to make a living that way. The other three teams in the NFC East all ran more than they passed when leading. Of the six teams that made the NFC playoffs, five ran with the lead more often than they passed. The exception was the Falcons. Even the Rams, coached by the same Sean McVay who threw the ball a lot there, ran it with the lead 52 percent of the plays.
—The point here is that last year I don’t think that Gruden passed the ball too often with the lead. The running game they had was not good enough to be relied on. You can’t base your game strategy on the talent you wish you have, you have to base it on what you actually have.
—The problem wasn’t play calling, the problem was that due to injuries and a general lack of high-impact runners – especially after Chris Thompson went on injured reserve – the running game was not up to NFL standards. Perhaps that will change if Derrius Guice lives up to expectations and if Thompson stays healthy for 16 games. In any case, it makes no sense to keep running into a wall just so that you can say you did it.
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Len Hauss, five-time Pro Bowler who was the Redskins’ starting center from 1964-1977, was born on this date in 1942.
—Training camp starts (7/26) 15
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 29
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 52
The Redskins last played a game 192 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 60 days.
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