CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide occasional statistical review of Redskins game film.
The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.
After 11 games a few principles have emerged for the 2016 Redskins: The team moves the ball as well as any unit in the league, but struggles inside the red zone.
To that point, Kirk Cousins completes 68 percent of his passes, but inside the opponent's 20-yard-line, his completion percentage drops to 44 percent (28 of 63).
Inside the opponent's 10-yard-line, the Washington quarterback's completion percentage drops even lower to 29 percent (9 of 31). Stats courtesy of ProFootballReference.com.
It's not just Cousins, however, to blame for the Redskins' continued red zone struggles.
Jay Gruden's squad uses the run game less inside the red zone than other more efficient red zone offenses, and the team has also suffered some crucial red zone turnovers in losses to Detroit and the first Dallas game.
Illustrating the difference between Washington's highly effective offense and their moribund red zone version, check out the below chart from The Edge Systems. The chart tracks where the Redskins 'win' in their normal offense compared to the red zone.
What constitutes a win? On 1st down, a win is gaining at least 40 percent of the needed yardage for a new first down. On 2nd down, that shifts to gaining at least 50 percent of the yards remaining to reach a new first down. On 3rd and 4th downs, a win is gaining at least a new first down.
A few things become quite clear looking at the chart: The Redskins perform significantly worse in the red zone than the rest of the field, particularly in losses. One outlier emerges, as the 'Skins actually performed better in the red zone against the Lions, but consider that Kirk Cousins' offense had just four red zone attempts, and the aforementioned turnover (Matt Jones fumble at the goal line) hurt the team's chances at a win.
In the team's other three losses, the performance difference between the offense and the red zone offense fell on average by 34 percent.
Oddly, the biggest delta on the year came in the Redskins first win, Week 3 in New York. In that game, Washington's offense outperformed its red zone offense by 46 percent, though it's worth pointing out that Washington only had 11 red zone attempts in that game.
In Washington's six wins, the team wins on red zone plays a little more than 30 percent of the time. While that number is low, it's a baseline for what the 'Skins should shoot for the remainder of the season if a playoff run is in the cards.
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