Look you can’t completely get rid of penalties, but you have to minimize them as much as possible. Heading into week 10 the Redskins led the NFL with 75 accepted penalties. They’ve had 38 on offense, 27 on defense and 10 on special teams. The offense may be the most troubling given that they went out and spent so many resources to fix that side of the ball. Also the offense has been the strength of this team, so the fact that they have so many self-inflicted wounds limits their overall effectiveness. The defensive penalties are also troubling given that they only committed 22 defensive penalties all of last season. The Redskins need to exercise better discipline, and the coaching staff needs to hold chronic offenders accountable.
The Redskins are just 1-3 at home this season, but their lack of homefield issues goes well beyond that. The Bengals twice held leads of 14points in that game, and the Redskins passing offense was shutdown until the final 8 minutes of the game. Though the Falcons game appeared close, Atlanta’s offense ran 80 plus plays in that game and was in total control. Finally the 1-6 Carolina Panthers came in last week and outplayed the Redskins in every facet of the game. The Washington Redskins are just getting out played at home and it needs to stop. In years past you could maybe say that other team’s fan f had taken over the stadium, but that hasn’t been the case this season.
So far this season the Washington Redskins Special teams have been somewhere between awful and ordinary. Kai Forbath has finally given the Redskins a good placekicker, but he is the only positive so far. While Forbath has been automatic on field goals, his kickoffs haven’t had much hangtime leading to a number of solid returns. Punter Sav Rocca has already seen two of his punts blocked, and has had multiple poor punting games. On the flip side returner Brandon Banks has done next to nothing in both kick-off and punt returns, and has on many decisions made poor decisions that cost the Redskins either yards or time. The Redskins need to get better production out of their Special Teams if they want to win some of those close games.
Many people want to point to the offensive line being more of a success given the strong rushing numbers and the fact that sacks are down. The problem with that is both of those numbers are highly misleading. Sacks as a whole may be down, but that is only because the Washington Redskins are throwing the ball less this season. The Redskins are allowing a sack 7.2% of their dropbacks, which is 9th worst in the league. That is 2% higher than Rex Grossman last season (John Beck skewed the overall numbers a bit). That 7.2% is even worse when you consider, how many sacks Robert Griffin III has run away from this year, not to mention all the quick passing and throwing out of shotgun. Two factors that should reduce the number of sacks allowed. As for the rushing numbers, they aren’t solely based on the offensive line. Much of Robert Griffin‘s rushing success has come from scrambling away from pass rush pressure. Also Alfred Morris has dealt with contact on far too many rushes at or behind the line of scrimmage. He typically can still fight his way for positive yards, but it is usually in spite of the offensive line than because of it.
Since losing Brian Orakpo the Redskins pass rush has become a huge liability. Not only are they not even getting to the quarterback for sacks, but they rarely are getting pressures on the opposing quarterback. While sacks are obviously the best outcome for a pass rush, you can’t get a sack unless you get a pressure first, making it next to impossible to get a lot of sacks if you aren’t getting a lot of pressures. Ideally you are generating a pressure at least 20% of the time (30% or more is considered very good), but the Redskins defense isn’t close to that 20% goal. In fact they appear closer to 10% than 20%, which is allowing opposing quarterbacks pick them apart.That just isn’t acceptable with Ryan Kerrigan and Stephen Bowen still on the team. Yes the Redskins may be missing their top pass rusher, but they still have their 2nd and 3rd best, and they have to do a better job for the final 7 games of the season.