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Redskins by the numbers, Week 13


Redskins by the numbers, Week 13

Redskins by the numbers, Week 13

1—The number of Redskins currently on the roster who are over the age of 27 who have attempted or caught a pass or has a rushing attempt. The one is Santana Moss.

12—The number of players the Redskins have on injured reserve. That does not count Jammal Brown, who technically is on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list.

12.5—Robert Griffin III’s average yards per pass attempt when throwing with play action. He averages 5.7 yards per pass when he doesn’t use play action.

19—The number of touchdowns the Redskins have scored on 35 red zone possessions. They scored 21 all of last year (on 51 possessions).

27—The number of points the Redskins’ opponents have scored off of turnovers. Last year through 11 games they had given up 63 points off of turnovers.

47.3—The Redskins’ third down conversion percentage over their last two games. Their season conversion rate is 31.9%.

235—The number of rushing attempts that Alfred Morris had as a senior last year at Florida Atlantic. His college career high is 263 carries in 2009 as a sophomore. Morris has 208 carries this, his rookie NFL season.

295—The number of points the Redskins have scored in their 11 games this season. The scored 288 in 16 games last year.

558—The number of receiving yards that team leader Leonard Hankerson will have this year if he stays on his current pace. That would be the fewest receiving yards needed to lead the Redskins since Bill Anderson led them with 488 yards in 1960. That was in a 12-game season.


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What should the Redskins do at running back?

What should the Redskins do at running back?

A week ago the Redskins rushed for 230 yards against a strong Eagles defense. Matt Jones led the way, gaining 135 yards including 57 on a game-clinching long run in the last minutes of the game.

Now fast forward to today and there is widespread clamoring for Jones to be benched, perhaps permanently. Having a hand in three fumbles, two of which were lost, will do that.

The first one, for some reason, was charged to Kirk Cousins, although it appeared to be a clean handoff. Jones lost the handle but he recovered it. No harm in that play but it foreshadowed problems to come.

Later on in the first quarter the damage started. On a first and goal play from the seven Jones was fighting for extra yardage inside the five when the ball popped out and rolled into the end zone. The Lions recovered, costing the Redskins at least three and possibly seven points.

Protecting the ball when fighting for yardage is running back 101. Jones needs to retake that course.

The other fumble, in the third quarter with the Redskins driving in Lions territory, was rightfully charged to Cousins. He tripped on the foot of center Spencer Long and tried to get the handoff to Jones anyway. But the missed connections and the Lions recovered the loose ball.

You can’t can put too much of the blame on Jones, but there are plenty of running backs out there who would have reacted to the situation better and would have made an adjustment.

Jones also lost a fumble against the Ravens two weeks ago. After doing a good job of holding onto the ball all during training camp, the preseason, and the start of the regular season, an old problem (Jones lost four fumbles last year) is rearing its ugly head.

So there’s the problem. What’s the solution?

After the second fumble, Jones had just one carry. That may have been at least in part because by the time they got the ball back they were down 13-3 I the fourth quarter. But you have to think that the ball security problems had a lot to do with it.

The rest of the game was mostly the Chris Thompson show with a little bit of Robert Kelley mixed in. For the game Thompson led the team in rushing with 12 carries for 73 yards and threw in seven receptions for 40 yards. Kelley ran four times for 15 yards and he got his first career touchdown on his first career reception.

It worked, in that the Redskins had a four-point lead with 1:05 to go. It’s wasn’t enough but they put up 417 yards and got 26 first downs.

The problem is, having Thompson as your leading rusher is not sustainable. At 5-8, 195 he is not likely to be able to take the pounding if the team needs someone to carry the ball 20 times or so in consecutive games.

Maybe Kelley is the way to go. He’s 6-0, 228, better built to take the punishment. I don’t think the coaches are at the point yet where they fully trust him to handle all aspects of the job for 40+ snaps. But it’s hard to trust Jones at any point of the game right now.

It could unfold something like this: Jones sees very limited action against the Bengals and Thompson and Kelly share the load with about 10-12 carries each. Jones gets back to basics on ball handling (I haven’t seen the ball that beeps when it’s not gripped properly out a practice for a while) and eventually he gets another shot at being the prime running back.

Let’s remember that Jones has a 4.6-yard average per carry this year. That’s not great but it’s pretty good. He has some talent and he’s a worthwhile reclamation project. But I do think he needs a while to ponder the work he has to do.

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Effective in Detroit but lacking big plays, Kirk Cousins says 'I go where my reads take me'

Effective in Detroit but lacking big plays, Kirk Cousins says 'I go where my reads take me'

For whatever reason, a small subset of Redskins fans want to blame Kirk Cousins for any and all Washington losses. Cousins is not to blame for Sunday's defeat in Detroit.

In fact - Cousins played well. He completed 30 of 39 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown, not to mention running for the go-ahead score with under two minutes left. 

That said, the Redskins offense lacked explosive plays, surprising against a suspect Lions secondary that lost top cornerback Darius Slay to a hamstring injury during the game. Afterwards, Cousins explained why so many of his passes seemed to go to underneath routes.

"I go where my reads take me," Cousins said after the game. 

Against the Lions, that largely meant to Jamison Crowder, who had seven catches for 108 yards. Tight end Vernon Davis and running back Chris Thompson also had big days, combining for 13 catches and 119 yards. 

Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson, however, were largely silent, especially in the first half. Jackson finished with five catches for 35 yards, but never once got a deep ball thrown his way. Garçon got even less - two catches for 22 yards.

"I may not be going to DeSean or Pierre every time," Cousins said, "but we're completing the football and going where my reads take me."

Both receviers are in contract years, and for Jackson in particular, his stats are way down. Known as a top vertical threat, Jackson is currently averaging 13.6 yards-per-catch. Last season, he averaged 17.6, and in 2014 that average was nearly 21 YPC. This comes after Jackson looked great throughout training camp and many that watched him in Richmond expected a big year for the veteran wideout. 

Garçon, speaking after the game, explained that deep balls are part of the offense but defenses can also gameplan to stop that facet. In the season opener against Pittsburgh, the Steelers deployed a soft zone coverage against Cousins that did not allow for much vertical attempts. It's possible the Lions borrowed parts of that plan on Sunday.

"We can't really control it," Garçon said.

After wins, players can look past not getting the ball. The victory matters most. After losses, it's only natural for players to wonder how they might have helped the team more, and in spots, frustration can mount.

Cousins might grow frustrated at having to answer questions about where he's throwing the ball, especially on a day when he completed 76 percent of his passes. It's only natural.

On the other side, all receivers want the ball, and top flight guys like Jackson command it. Without the attempts, frustration could mount, and that too is only natural. 

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