5 Areas the Redskins need to improve on offense

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1. Sack Rate:

-The Redskins team sack rate of 9.6% was tied for 30th in the league last year, and an absolute killer for this offense in general. The number was brought up by Kirk Cousins 3.8%, as Robert Griffin had an off the charts 13.4% and Colt McCoy was only slightly better at 11.7%. While some improvements to the offensive line will help this area somewhat, the massive discrepancies between Cousins and the other quarterbacks point to it being more on the signal caller than anything else. If Griffin remains the starter he’s going to have to work hard at reading defenses, feeling pressure and knowing when to get rid of the ball. While hopefully he’s not dealing with that same sack rate again, he’s always held the ball longer than he should and he has to realize he can’t do that without consequence at the NFL level. An increased sack and pressure rate are contributing factors to all the other issues below, so until this is fixed it might be tough to improve on some of the other areas. While some teams (Seattle Seahawks mainly) can survive and even thrive with a higher sack rate, they are more the exception than the rule.

2. Fumble Total:

-The Redskins 31 fumbles last year tied them for the highest number in the league and it meant they put the ball on the ground about twice per game. Now their recovery percentage of their own fumbles was pretty good at over 58%, but that doesn’t excuse putting the ball on the ground. Recovery percentage is a lot more based on luck, than skill or talent and can fluctuate drastically each year. For example in 2013 the 49ers recovered about 53% of their own fumbles, last season that number dropped to 31%. And the extremes can be even higher than that. The Chargers last season recovered 67% of their fumbles, yet the year before the number was 28%, that is about a 40% difference. The Redskins can’t count on recovering their own fumbles at such a high rate going forward so they have to do a better job with ball security. This number ties in with the sack percentage number above as 17 of the 31 fumbles were from the three quarterbacks, the majority of which while they were being sacked. Of the 31 fumbles only 5 came from the 330 odd carries the running backs and fullbacks had (note they also could come from the receptions), so it really isn’t on them to improve their ball security.

From the QB breakdown Griffin fumbled 9 times, McCoy 6 times and Cousins 2 times. From the looks of it 6 of those 17 fumbles came from QB runs (4 Griffin, 2 McCoy), whether it was a designed run or just a scramble that got back (or past) the line of scrimmage is unclear, but it’s obvious that “QB runs” fumbled at a much higher rate than when a running back was rushing the football. Also that means that of the 58 sacks, 11 of them resulted in the ball being on the ground an a potential turnover. While only 5 of those 11 fumbles ended up being lost, the potential was there for it to be far worse. The Redskins can’t afford to take those extra sacks which increase the chances of the ball going on the ground.

3. Interception Rate:

-The Redskins were 28th in the league with a 3.3% interception rate. Some of that goes back to the pressure and holding the ball too long (or maybe getting rid of it too soon), and the number is boosted by Kirk Cousins horrific 4.4%, but just in general the Redskins struggled in this area. Had RGIII’s 2.8% rate been the team number, that would have still been 21st in the league. Whomever the Redskins quarterback is they have to do a much better job of not throwing it to the other team. What’s most troubling is the fact that film reviews showed a number of these interceptions could have easily been avoided, by checking down to an open receiver or throwing the ball away.

These top three areas together are the biggest problem. You can maybe overcome a high sack rate if you protect the football and don’t put it on the ground or give it away through the air, but when you are having issues in all three areas that is way too many big negative plays for a struggling offense (or really any offense) to come back from.

4. Redzone TD%:

-The Redskins offense in general didn’t move the ball effectively, but they really struggled once they got into the Red Zone. The Redskins scored TD’s only 47.9% of the time they made it into the Red Zone which was ranked 27th in the league. Only the Arizona Cardinals were below 50% efficiency and were able to make the playoffs, but that is understandable given the significant injuries they had at QB. For the Redskins that number is just unacceptable, especially given all the investment into the offensive side of the ball over the past few years. While this season the Redskins may hope to win more based upon a stronger defense, they still need their offense to put up points, and the easiest way to do that is to capitalize on Red Zone opportunities (especially if they aren’t as frequent).

5. 3rd down efficiency:

-Now 3rd down plays are not easy as the defense (depending on the situation) can have extra advantages making their job easier. In fact no team in the NFL last year converted 50% or more of their 3rd downs. The Redskins though were 3rd worst in the league with a paltry 31.5% conversion rate. With over half of the teams in the league converting at 40% or more of the time, that 31.5% number was a major disadvantage for the Redskins, and something they need to improve this season. If you can’t convert 40% of the time you are going to have a tough time being successful on offense, and contend for the post season. Only the Bengals (39.8%) and the Lions (38.6%) made the playoffs last season with less than a 40% conversion rate. Making it even tougher on the Redskins is the fact that all three of their division opponents were in the top 10 of the league in conversation % including the Cowboys, who were 2nd in the league at 47.3%. For the Redskins to have success this year they need to at least hit that 38% mark, and hopefully be above 40%.

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