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Redskins have plenty of room for improvement in situational running

Redskins have plenty of room for improvement in situational running

The Redskins improved their first-down running average from 2015 to last season but if you’re looking for areas where they can do better this season that is still on the list.

In 2015, they couldn’t run on first down. On first-down carries they gained an average of 3.3 yards per carry, the worst in the NFL. They ran for either no gain or a loss on 63 plays in 2015, tied for third worst in the league.

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They improved to, well, the lower end of mediocre in this category in 2016. The Redskins averaged 3.8 yards per first-down run, good for 20th in the NFL. They improved in the negative plays category, with 48 carries for zero or minus yards.

Rob Kelley’s calling card is his ability to avoid negative plays. Given that, it was somewhat surprising to see that Kelley had 19 negative carries on first down in his nine starts. Matt Jones had 13 in his seven starts.

Being able to run on first down is not necessarily an indicator of success. Last year, four teams gained over five yards per carry on first down. The Falcons and Cowboys had the two best records in the NFC. The Bears and Bills posted losing records.

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Still, with the defense rebuilding the Redskins will once again rely on being able to move the ball to win games. Consistently getting to second and five is better than facing to second and seven. It opens up more of the playbook and makes it easier to get a first down on second down. Your third-down conversion percentage may not mean much if you don’t have to run many third-down plays.

Or, perhaps the better solution is to pass more often on first down. The Redskins averaged 7.7 yards per first-down pass attempt, fourth in the NFL. You can’t throw every play but perhaps Jay Gruden should try to figure out just how little the Redskins can run on first down while still being able to pass effectively.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt


Adrian Peterson's kids and the Internet are why he designed that shoe-in-facemask shirt

Luke Kuechly was just trying to make a tackle.

During the Redskins-Panthers Week 6 matchup, the Carolina star dove to wrap up Adrian Peterson and, like many, many, many before him, failed to bring the RB down.

Unfortunately for Kuechly, something else happened on the play that is going to help it live on much longer than your routine defensive mistake.

That something, of course, is that Peterson's cleat came off in the collision and lodged itself in Kuechly's facemask. And the uniqueness of that is why Peterson is now selling T-shirts commemorating it:

"I thought it was pretty cool," Peterson said Thursday in the 'Skins' locker room when asked why he felt moved to create the shirts, of which there are three to choose from on his site. "My kids got a big kick out of it. Obviously, the Internet did as well."

No. 26 has carried the ball 2,651 times in his career but said he's never had an attempt go like that one that involved his footwear and Kuechly's headgear.

However, because he's a legend, Peterson was able to deal with the lost shoe and still go on to pick up a nice chunk of yards as well as a first down.

"As I'm breaking free and I feel my shoe coming off, the only thing on my mind is, 'OK, let me make sure I plant my foot in a way where I don't slip,'" he explained. "That was the only thing I was focusing on on that play."

Will Kuechly get a shirt, though? After all, without him, they wouldn't exist in the first place.

"I might send him one," Peterson said.

What's lower: the odds of Kuechly wearing that shirt should Peterson ever send it along or the odds of another shoe finding its way into the linebacker's facemask? 

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Crowder, Richardson headline long list of injury questions for Redskins during Dallas week

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Crowder, Richardson headline long list of injury questions for Redskins during Dallas week

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden joked about optimism when going over the team's injury report, but that might be the coach's only way to deal with the current situation. 

Receivers Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson did not practice on Thursday, and their status for Sunday seems murky at best. Crowder was spotted at Redskins Park using a scooter to keep his weight off his injured ankle, and while Richardson was seen walking around, his knee remains an issue. 

There was some good news, however, that Chris Thompson and Shawn Lauvao practiced, albeit in a limited role. 

Getting Thompson back on the field would be a big help for the Redskins offense, and alleviate some pressure off Adrian Peterson. The future Hall of Famer did not practice Wednesday as he is dealing with a host of injuries, including his shoulder and knee. 

The one player Gruden said he did not have optimisim in a return this week was rookie safety Troy Apke. There has been some conversation about possibly moving him to the injured reserve, but that has not happened yet. 

The Redskins currently have one open roster spot as the team released veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood earlier this week. With all the concerns at wideout, maybe Washington uses that spot to bring up a practice squad player to support the unit. 

UPDATE (5:20 p.m.): The Redskins announced that they have elevated receiver Jehu Chesson from their practice squad to the active roster.

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