Alfred Morris is the early favorite to be the Redskins leading rusher but he might not want to be. In recent years the status of being the Redskins top ground gainer has rivaled the Sports Illustrated or Madden covers in terms of being bad luck. The news that Roy Helu Jr., who led the team with 640 yards on the ground in 2011, has been placed on the injured reserve list means that the Redskins will have a new leading rusher for the fourth year in a row.Clinton Portis led the team in rushing for three straight seasons, from 2007 through 2009.In 2010 Portis had a groin injury that limited him to five games. Ryan Torain, a Mike Shanahan reclamation project from Denver, ran for 742 yards to pace the Redskins running attack.But Torain fell out of favor with the coaching staff due to his inability to stay healthy. That prompted them to trade for Tim Hightower just after the 2011 lockout ended. Last year Torain played in nine games, starting four, and rushed for 200 yards on 59 carries. He was released shortly before the end of the season.Even leading the team in rushing for even a partial season has proven to be bad luck. Last year, Hightower had a team-best 321 yards on the ground when he suffered a torn ACL in the sixth game of the season. That opened the door for Helu to take the team rushing title.For most of their history the Redskins have had pretty good stability at running back. Only once before have the Redskins had four different leading rushers in four years. From 1992-1995 the season leaders were Earnest Byner, Reggie Brooks, Ricky Ervins, and Terry Allen.
When you’re fighting for a playoff spot, it’s not only about what happens to you. It’s also about what happens to the teams you’re competing against for that playoff spot. And one of the Redskins’ main competitors got some very bad news this morning.
The Giants, who are in the No. 5 spot in the NFC, the first wild card spot, got word today that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has had sports hernia surgery. The recovery time is at least four weeks, probably more like six. The Giants’ season is likely to be over by the time six weeks elapse, barring a playoff run without one of their best defensive players.
Pierre-Paul has helped solidify what was a shaky Giants defense last year. He has seven sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. He has been heating up down the stretch with 5.5 sacks in his last three games.
His loss is a big blow for the Giants. They are a game ahead of the Buccaneers, who hold the No. 6 spot, and a game and a half ahead of the Redskins, who are currently seventh.
The Redskins play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins have to pick up just one game on the Giants over the next three to have a shot at passing them in the season finale.
The chances of that happening looked pretty good with Washington playing playing three teams with losing records in the Eagles, Panthers, and Bears and the Giants going against division leaders Dallas and Detroit in addition to the Eagles. With the Giants now without Pierre-Paul, the Redskins’ probabilities got tilted in their direction a little bit more.
Just finishing a win ahead of the Giants wouldn’t guarantee a playoff spot but it would come close. It would mean that the Redskins would have at least nine wins and the Redskins’ tie means that two teams would have to get to 10 wins to knock them out of the playoffs. The Bucs have to win three more games to get to nine wins and the Packers and Vikings would have to run the table.
CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.
Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley.
The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.
In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs.
As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.
As the Redskins power run game vanished, so did their prospects for winning the game.
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