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Need to Know: The Redskins by the numbers—Redskins offense improves on third down

Need to Know: The Redskins by the numbers—Redskins offense improves on third down

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 7, one day before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking points

The Redskins by the numbers after they have played three games in 2018 and are getting ready to play the Saints on Monday night. 

39 points—The average scored by the Redskins the last three times they have played the Saints. Washington is 2-1 in those games with the two wins coming by an average margin of 22.5 points. 

2,561 days—How long it has been since the Redskins won a game to move to a 3-1 record. That happened on October 2, 2011 when the Redskins and Rex Grossman won against the Rams in St. Louis. The start turned out to be fool’s gold as the immediately embarked on a six-game losing streak and wound up with 2-10 finish to the season. 

41.0 percent—The 2018 Redskins’ third-down conversion rate on offense. That’s not great, 15thin the league, but it is a solid improvement over their 32.3 percent performance last year (31st). If they keep up that rate over the full season they will 18 more first downs than they did last year. 

Second—That is where Ryan Kerrigan ranks in the league in the new ESPN metric called Pass Rush Win Rate. You can get the details in this article here. It’s compiled using tracking data from the Next Gen sensors in each player’s uniform. It says that Kerrigan gets away from his blocker in 2.5 seconds or less on 43 percent of his pass rush snaps. The league average is 22 percent. Of course, fans want to see Kerrigan rank somewhere in the more traditional stat called “sacks” and so do the Redskins. But his zero in the sacks column would be more worrisome if he wasn’t getting off of blocks. 

6.7 points—The Redskins’ average scoring margin this year. That ranks sixth in the NFL. They are one of three teams that has won two games by a margin of 14 points or more this season. The Rams and the Patriots are the other two. 

1.32 points—The average allowed by the Redskins per opponents drive. That ranks third in the NFL. 

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The agenda

Today: No media availability 

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 1 days; Panthers @ Redskins 7; Cowboys @ Redskins 14

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Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

There was little doubt, but Adrian Peterson is officially returning to the Washington Redskins in 2020.

Washington officially exercised Peterson's team option on his contract on Wednesday, keeping the 35-year-old under contract through next season.

"Adrian Peterson is the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league," head coach Ron Rivera said in the team's statement. "Adrian’s leadership and passion towards the game of football will set an example of what is expected of the players in this program moving forward."

The seven-time Pro Bowler has led Washington in rushing yards the last two seasons. A year ago, he was named a team captain for the Burgundy and Gold and led the team in rushing touchdowns and carries in addition to rushing yards. In 2018, he rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first season with the team.

The future Hall of Famer has continued to climb in the record books during his time in Washington. Last season, he passed Walter Payton on the all-time rushing touchdowns list and eclipsed 14,000 yards on the ground. Entering 2020, he remains 1,054 yards away from passing Lions' legend Barry Sanders for fourth all-time in rushing yards.

Peterson's return to Washington was expected, especially considering the many question marks surrounding the rest of the position group.

If the Redskins had let Peterson become a free agent, Washington's top two running backs under contract would have been third-year pro Derrius Guice and sophomore Bryce Love, both who have a laundry list of injury concerns. The team's top pass-catching back, Chris Thompson, is a free agent.

"It’s a blessing to be back and I look forward to continue leading and inspiring those around me to be great and think outside the box!" Peterson told NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson. "Not only am I appreciative to the organization for having faith in me but also love how the Redskins nation has embraced, showered me with love. I’ll continue to pour my heart and soul into winning a championship! The best is yet to come!"

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Redskins free agent targets: James Bradberry

Redskins free agent targets: James Bradberry

NBC Sports Washington is taking a long look at potential free agents that could help the Redskins in 2020. 

Carolina Panthers CB James Bradberry
2016 second-round pick by Carolina
Unrestricted free agent
6-foot-1 | 212 lbs. | 26 years old

Ron Rivera has brought a lot with him from Carolina to Washington. Most notably, the Redskins new coach has hired someone with ties to the Panthers to run, among other things, his new team's offense, training staff, player negotiations/salary cap dealings and a handful of positions on both sides of the ball.

It's safe to bet that trend will continue to some extent once free agency commences, with Greg Olsen visiting the Redskins before signing with the Seahawks Tuesday. Safety Tre Boston is slated to hit the open market as well.

If Rivera wants to get really aggressive, however, and poach who should be the top available Panther, he'll pursue cornerback James Bradberry.

Bradberry doesn't carry the same name recognition that Josh Norman did four offseasons ago, but don't overlook him. He's a legit cover guy in the NFL. 

The 26-year-old has started 47 of the last 48 games — the majority of which happened with Rivera on the sidelines — and is coming off a year where he notched three picks and defended 12 passes.

Bradberry will be one of the three premium available options at his position come March, thanks to his durability, age and steady improvement as a pro. And because of those factors, he's going to command a serious contract, likely somewhere north of $10 million per season.

Now, during Super Bowl week in Miami, Bradberry told the Redskins Talk podcast that his "dream scenario" would be to return to the Panthers and continue his career there. He did admit, though, he's enticed by the idea of re-joining Rivera, a person whom Bradberry described as a "great man and a great coach."

If Bradberry can't come to an agreement with the organization that drafted him, the Redskins should make a concerted effort to land him. Cornerback is a place of need for Rivera, Jack Del Rio and Co., and it's unlikely they'll be able to reinforce it with a high draft pick considering the team is without a second-rounder and is currently poised to take Chase Young second overall.

Therefore, free agency appears to be Washington's best path for addressing the outside of their secondary, and Bradberry very well could be the best choice on that path. 

Yes, the last time the Redskins went all-in on a defensive back from the Panthers who wore No. 24, it failed. That shouldn't dissuade them this time around. Bradberry will be expensive, sure, but he also could be very, very good for quite a while.

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