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Redskins stat breakdown: Red zone struggles mounted in 2nd half of 2016 for Cousins

Redskins stat breakdown: Red zone struggles mounted in 2nd half of 2016 for Cousins

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the 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.

Throughout the 2016 season, the Redskins struggled to score inside the Red Zone. At times it seemed fluky, but week after week, similar problems occured. The offense simply couldn't consistently get the ball into the end zone from inside the 20-yard-line. 

It's overly simplistic to blame one player for the 'Skins red zone woes, but it can be helpful to look at Kirk Cousins body of work in that area of the field across the arc of the entire 2016 season. It's particularly relevant as the organization is again on the precipice of placing the franchise tag on Cousins, working towards a long-term deal, or perhaps even some other option.

Working with The Edge Systems, every single one of Cousins passes thrown inside the opponent's 20-yard-line was analyzed and judged to be a success or not. Success was considered when:

  • Any play resulting in a first down or a Touchdown
  • 1st Down: gains 40 percent of yards needed for a new first down

  • 2nd Down: gains 50 percent of the remaining yards for a new first down

  • 3rd and 4th Down: results in a new first down

Below are Cousins' red zone pass attempts charted out for the entire season. (Click here for an enlarged chart)

The results run a similar pattern to the Redskins season. As Washington slumped over their final six games, going 2-4 and falling short out of the playoffs, the team struggled to score in the red zone and Cousins was particularly poor. Cousins found success on 36 percent of his red zone throws in the season's first eight games. That number dropped more than 10 points over the season's final eight games.

In the final two home games of the season, disappointing losses to the Panthers and Giants, Cousins found success on just one of eight red zone passes. Week 17, in a game the 'Skins needed to win to make the playoffs, Cousins went 0 for 3 on red zone passes. 

Again, these numbers can't be all put on Cousins. Poor run game and protection problems emerged over the second half of the year, especially against the Panthers and Giants. The numbers do provide another good measure of the quarterback that will likely determine the future of the Redskins franchise. 

This data dive wasn't intended to compare Cousins in the red zone with other quarterbacks. That data is more readily available (here from Pro Football Reference). Overall, Cousins completed 67 percent of his passes in 2017. Inside the 20, that number drops to about 46 percent. For a quick comparison, Tom Brady and Drew Brees completed more than 65 percent of their red zone passes, Matt Ryan completed 61 percent of his red zone passes, Eli Manning came in at 53 percent and Ben Roethlisberger at 47 percent. 

[Ed. Note: Georgetown assistant offensive coach Tyler Stevens coach compiled 2016 red zone data for this report]


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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

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Amidst Jags controversy, Landon Collins goes full Suge Knight to recruit Jalen Ramsey to Redskins

Even during this relatively quiet period of the NFL calendar, there's still plenty of controversy around the league.

Take Jacksonville for example, where Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been firing back at executive vice president Tom Coughlin for saying he wants every player to attend the team's voluntary offseason workouts. Ramsey, as you may have already guessed, has elected to skip these workouts. 

Seeing an opportunity, new Redskins safety Landon Collins invited Ramsey to Washington via Twitter, going into full Suge Knight "Come to Death Row" mode to make his pitch. 

Ramsey seemed quite amused by the prospect, but also didn't seem totally opposed to the idea of teaming up with Collins in D.C. 

While it's unlikely Washington trades for Ramsey, nothing's stopping you from firing up the NFL Roster Builder and putting the two-time Pro Bowler in burgundy and gold, Redskins fans! 


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Redskins fans shouldn't hate the idea of Daniel Jones at No. 15 as much as they seem to


Redskins fans shouldn't hate the idea of Daniel Jones at No. 15 as much as they seem to

For some reason — whether it's because they like another quarterback better, or because his college numbers don't exactly pop, or because he went to college at Duke — a ton of Redskins fans really don't like the idea of their team drafting Daniel Jones 15th overall.

In fact, its gotten to the point where some have even changed their handle on Twitter to names that reflect their anti-Jones stance. 

In a Mock Draft Special on NBC Sports Washington's MyTeams app, though, Charley Casserly has the Redskins taking Jones at pick No. 15. Now, before you punt your phone or spike your laptop, hear Casserly out on what there is to like about Jones. 

"He's the most pro-ready quarterback in this year's draft," the former GM explained. "Why do I say that? Vision and anticipation. Vision is the ability to see the field and go in a progression from one to two to three in the receivers. Anticipation — see the blitz coming, get it to the hot receiver, get the ball out before the receiver makes his break. He's very good at both of those things."

What Jones doesn't have, such as a top arm, is something you can see right away in workouts and on tape. But his strengths, such as his ability to find the right read or throw a wideout open, aren't as simple to notice.

Perhaps that's why 'Skins fans are so against him — because you have to do more projecting when it comes to his future as opposed to someone like Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins, guys with tons of college success and tape that will wow you.

Jay Gruden has mentioned this offseason how, if Washington does grab a QB, he expects that player to come in early and compete. They can't be treated like a minor leaguer, someone who can slowly work their way up to a place where they're ready for Sundays. 

According to Casserly at least, Jones won't need much grooming. Maybe that catches Gruden's eye.

In his mock, the analyst slotted the Duke product to the Redskins instead of Missouri's Drew Lock due to, among other things, Lock not being as accurate. Other players the Burgundy and Gold could've selected but didn't were Brian Burns, Clelin Ferrell and DK Metcalf.

In the end, Casserly kept lauding Jones' readiness. In addition to his athleticism, Casserly expects Jones to come into the league and make a difference early with his eyes and his mind.

"Super smart guy," he said. "He's a natural at that stuff. That's not natural. That's stuff you have to learn."