The Redskins have been starting games well but finishing them poorly.
In aggregate they have outscored their opponents in each of the first three quarters of their five games. The Redskins have scored 38 points in the first quarter to 27 for the other team, have a slim 41-40 advantage in the second period and have come out of the locker room and doubled up the other team 34-17 in the third quarter. That is a 113-84 edge in the first 45 minutes of play.
But in the fourth quarter things fall apart. They have been outscored 63-27 in the final 15 minutes of play. The fourth quarter woes are why the Redskins are 2-3 instead of having a better record.
In each game they have played they have been leading or tied going into the fourth quarter and have been outscored in the final 15 minutes.
In New Orleans the Redskins led 30-17 going into the fourth quarter and were outscored 15-10 in the last period.
In St. Louis they were up 28-23 at the end of three quarters and were outscored 8-0 in the fourth.
They were tied 24-24 with the Bengals going into the fourth quarter and were outscored 14-7.
The Redskins led the Bucs 21-13 after three quarters of play and were outscored 9-3 in the fourth quarter.
Last Sunday, the Redskins led 10-7 after 45 minutes and were outscored in the fourth quarter 17-7.
Thats when it really matters, said linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. Thats been the issue around here for a long time. We can compete with teams but in the fourth quarter when it comes down to it, making plays, we tend to fade away and the other teams seem to make plays.
Thats across the board and if you want to become a good team in this league you cant allow that to happen.
The fourth-quarter fades continue a trend from last year. In 2011 the Redskins were outscored 126-82 in the final period.
Scot McCloughan raised some eyebrows by executing draft trades that got the Redskins three picks in the 2017 NFL draft. He says he did it in part with the 2017 draft in mind. But he also wanted some trade assets should any needs arise this coming season.
“A lot of people don’t want to do it because it’s not immediate impact,” McCloughan said at a news conference at Redskins Park. “‘Well, that’s next year. What about this year?’ Coaches want this year, which I understand completely. But what it gives me the opportunity to do is not just worry about next year’s draft and trading up and that kind of stuff, but this offseason and during the season trading. We’ve got multiple picks now.”
So if the Redskins find themselves in need of a player at any point between now and the trading deadline, which falls in early November, they have spare picks in the next draft to be able to do so.
The Redskins acquired 2017 picks in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. They traded away their own 2017 fifth-rounder last summer for tight end Derek Carrier. They currently have nine 2017 selections, one in each of the seven rounds plus two in the fourth and two in the sixth.
The deal that made some fans moderately unhappy was the one McCloughan made the Jets to give them a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2017. But it’s clear that McCloughan didn’t see much value on his board at that point in time.
“Well, the thing about it was if I was dead set on the guys on the board at that pick, I would have taken them,” said McCloughan. “But knowing I can get a fourth next year for them and knowing that it gives me ammunition to trade around too later if need be this year or next year? Yeah, it’s valuable.”
When the Redskins draft Su’a Cravens in the second round, they told him that he would be a nickel outside linebacker. But his jersey number is 36, which is not a linebackers number; it is the number that safety Sean Taylor wore during his rookie year. And he was listed on the roster as a safety.
When speaking to the media yesterday, Scot McCloughan was still unsure what meeting room Cravens would sit in. Apparently the situation has been clarified. This morning McCloughan said that Cravens will play strong safety in the Redskins’ base defense.
“I think he’ll come in as a strong safety,” McCloughan told Mike Florio on PFT Live. “We’ll put him in that room first.”
The fact that they will start him off at safety, however, does not mean that they will not take advantage of his versatility.
“As you’re well aware, he has the ability to play outside backer,” said McCloughan. “The thing we’re excited about . . . is pass rush ability. We see him, in base, probably being a strong safety, in sub, be an outside backer, even play him at inside linebacker in sub.”
McCloughan sees Cravens as a player who can become a playmaker on a defense that doesn’t have many players like that.
“He’s a good football player, you know, he’s instinctive. Day 1, he talked into USC, starting making plays,” he said. “Again, he’s not the biggest, he’s not the fastest, he’s not the quickest but he makes plays. He’s got instincts. That’s what you look for on Sundays.”
In addition to releasing veteran cornerback Chris Culliver on Monday, the Redskins also released the following seven players:
— DL Christo Bilukidi
— LB Desmond Bishop
— WR LaRon Byrd
— DL Anthony Johnson
— DL Kamal Johnson
— CB Al Louis-Jean
— LB Derrick Mathews
None of the above players saw a snap for the Redskins last season.
ach was also a long shot to earn spots on Washington’s 2016 53-man roster and probably was displaced by a recent free agent addition and/or draft pick.