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Third down issues affecting Redskins offense and defense

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Third down issues affecting Redskins offense and defense

After five games, the Redskins rank dead last in the NFL in third down conversion rate.They converted only one of nine third downs in Sundays 24-17 loss to the undefeated Falcons, dropping the teams success rate to 23.3 percent (14 for 60) as Redskins record slipped to 2-3. Over the past two weeks, in fact, Washington is just 3 for 20 on third downs.We missed a third down and one, third down and two, third down and three, Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday, rattling off the missed opportunities. Obviously, its an area where we have to get better at. We were also 0 for 2 in the red zone, an area where we had been good. So you take the combination of being 1 for 9 on third downs and 0 for 2 in the red zone, its really hard to win a football game.Fullback Darrel Young added: We got to start making plays. Third downs have been our shortcoming.The Redskins had the second-worst conversion rate in 2010 before jumping to 15thlast season. Now theyre scuffling again.Weve been putting ourselves in better situations on first and second downs, Young said. But we have to get over that hump. Thats what we need to win games.In addition to hurting the teams point production, it has an adverse affect on the defense, as Young pointed out.But 81 snaps is entirely too much for any defense,"Young said, referring to the number of plays Atlanta ran on offense. "We have to take at least 15 to 20 snaps away just to help them. Its on the offense.Its important, Young added. I cant say we have to take more pride, because guys are serious about what were doing on third down. Its just were not executing.

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Need to Know: Adrian Peterson visit part of Redskins contingency planning at running back

Need to Know: Adrian Peterson visit part of Redskins contingency planning at running back

Here is what you need to know on Monday, August 20, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

Jay Gruden added some clarity to the Redskins’ running back situation, although questions remain. 

First, and perhaps most important, he said that there are no immediate plans to sign Jamaal Charles or Orleans Darkwa, both of whom visited Redskins Park on Sunday, or Adrian Peterson, who is scheduled to come to Ashburn today. 

"Well we want to bring them in to get physicals on them just in case,” said Gruden. Like I said, we have had very [unlucky] situations with our running backs with obviously Guice and Marshall and Samaje, if something else happens, we are going to be really, really, really thin, so we just want to make sure we are covering all our bases right now and we will address it when we feel like we have to." 

Derrius Guice is out for the season with a torn ACL. Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine suffered injuries last Thursday against the Jets. According to media reports, Perine should be out a week and Marshall for two to four weeks. 

The key to what Gruden said was the part about “covering all of our bases right now”. Things are tight at running back now. But they are a Rob Kelley injury or a Perine setback away from being in big trouble. They would need to go to Plan B and that might be Peterson or Charles or Darkwa. 

But the Redskins have a short-term problem. Assuming Perine won’t play on Friday in the third preseason game against the Broncos, the Redskins would only be left with Kelley and Kapri Bibbs to handle most of the load in that game. Chris Thompson is scheduled to play some, but only for about a quarter. The Redskins will want to acquire at least one other running back to play on Friday. 

It sounds like that back won’t be someone like Charles or Darkwa, but it could well be someone you’ve never heard of. It was somewhat surprising that they didn’t have a new running back at practice today, but it’s very likely that they will have someone in place in time for practice on Tuesday. 

Bureau of statistics

2017 stat slash lines for RBs visiting the Redskins

Darkwa (NYG) 171 att./751 yds./4.4 yds per att./5 TD
Charles (DEN) 69/296/4.3/1
Peterson (AZ/NO) 156/529/3.4/2

The agenda

Today: Off day

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 4 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 12 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 20 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page,Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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The Redskins are reportedly hosting Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit

The Redskins are reportedly hosting Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit

After sustaining a number of injuries to their running back group, the Redskins need help at the position. 

In that quest, the team will bring in veteran Adrian Peterson for a free agent visit, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Arguably one of the best all-time running backs in the NFL, Peterson not being on a roster at this point in the season might be a surprise. Last year, Peterson split time between New Orleans and Arizona and rushed for more than 500 yards. 

Peterson built his fame and name with a long run of success in Minnesota, including a 2,000-yard season in 2012. In 123 games with the Vikings spanning 10 years, he rushed for nearly 12,000 yards and 97 touchdowns. 

Washington is in serious need for depth and talent at RB. 

Rookie Derrius Guice went down for the season in the preseason opener, and last week Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall sustained injuries. 

At Sunday's practice, head coach Jay Gruden joked that his son, Jack, should take some practice reps at the position. 

Currently, the Redskins only have Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs as running backs on the roster, and Thompson hasn't played yet this preseason as he's working back from a broken leg last November.

The Redskins also worked out veteran runners Jamaal Charles and Orleans Darkwa. Peterson has the biggest name of all of them.

This offseason, Peterson also worked out with Redskins tackle Trent Williams.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

For more analysis on Peterson's visit, check out this RB-oriented episode of Redskins Talk.