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Examining Redskins' RG3's passing under pressure

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Examining Redskins' RG3's passing under pressure

The Redskins are taking some steps to try to help Robert Griffin III succeed at quarterback.

—They spent their top draft pick on a new right tackle, Brandon Scherff, to help plug up the leaky offensive line.

—They are going to emphasize power running more, hoping to put Griffin in more favorable down and distance scenarios when he needs to pass.

—You could even say that the upgrades on defense, with six free agent acquisitions and a high second-round pick going on that side of the ball, have the potential to help Griffin succeed by not being put in situations where he is playing from behind.

That’s all good and it should be noted that these upgrades and changes will also help Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy should either one of them end up behind center. But the focus is on Griffin. However, for Griffin to succeed the person that can help him do that the most is Griffin himself.

Let’s take a look at an article from Pro Football Focus to see one of the issues that Griffin needs to fix in order to be successful. In looking at quarterbacks under pressure, they found that Griffin was under pressure when he dropped back to pass 44.9 percent of the time, more than any other NFL quarterback.

Before Griffin’s defenders get all riled up here and insist that he could never succeed behind the offensive line he has played with the last two year, hold on a minute. According to the writer, this “under pressure” stat is much more a reflection of a quarterback who holds on to the ball longer than others than it is of the quality of the offensive line.

Certainly it is reflective of some jailbreaks by the defense but it also has to do with Griffin being indecisive when surveying the field. But there’s not point in dwelling on it here because that’s not the most alarming thing about Griffin that was in this article.

Griffin’s PFF score while he was under pressure was -2.6. Zero is average so that’s not too bad. He was better under pressure than Joe Flacco, Cousins, Andy Dalton and both of the Manning brothers.

But you look at Griffin’s score when he is not under pressure and it’s -7.9. Yes, he was worse when he was not under pressure than he was when he was under pressure. (For the record, Cousins’ PFF score without pressure is a +2.7)

Let me insert a sample size warning here. Griffin dropped back only 247 times last year (214 pass attempts, 33 sacks) so a few things going wrong while he wasn’t under pressure can skew the numbers.

Still, it has to be somewhat alarming that Griffin is not substantially better when he does have blocking and is able to make the decision to throw before the pressure gets to him. If he can’t thrive even when the line is doing its job and he is making decisions quickly it is going to be difficult for him to be successful.

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Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

Redskins Playbook: After worst to first in 2016, how strong will NFC East be?

When the Redskins won the NFC East in 2015 with a 9-7 record, most critics dismissed the division as weak. That theory was largely proved right when the Redskins got stomped at home in the first round of the playoffs by the Wild Card Green Bay Packers.

In 2016, however, the NFC East largely looked like the best division in football, or at least among the best divisions. Dallas won 13 games and took the NFC East title, the Giants won 11 and took the NFC's top Wild Card spot. The Redskins had a chance to make the playoffs in Week 17, but unceremoniously lost and fell short.

Still, Washington won eight games and Philadelphia won seven. In fact, the NFC East was the only division in the NFL without a team that lost 10 or more games. The AFC West - a division that some would argue was tougher than the NFC East - still had the Chargers and their 5-11 record.

What does it mean for 2017? If anything the only team expected to regress would be the Cowboys, and their regression could easily still have them looking to win around 10 games. 

The Eagles have improved with young, star QB Carson Wentz. New York will be interesting, as they have some age at various spots on their roster but still feature a two-time Super Bowl winning QB in Eli Manning and one of the best defenses in the NFL.

As for Washington? The defense should be much improved. It almost has to be as the 2016 version struggled significantly. If the defense can just be average (and I'd argue it could push for Top 15) the offense should continue to move the ball well. Producing in the red zone needs to look different than last season too.

The NFC East looks like a beast yet again. It would be no surprise if both NFC Wild Cards come from the division.

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Need to Know:Redskins faced one of the toughest schedules in NFL in 2016

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 28, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start their mandatory minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/27) 60
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 74
—Season opener Eagles @ Redskins (9/10) 105

Note: I am on vacation this week in the Outer Banks. Need to Know will be a mix of new content and some of the most popular posts of 2017.

Redskins faced one of NFL’s toughest slates in 2016

(originally posted January 28)

As the Redskins came off their 2015 playoff season and looked towards 2016, one thing jumped out. Even before any games were played it looked like their path to a repeat playoff appearance would be difficult, more so than it was when they went 9-7 and took the NFC East title.

The 2015 schedule looked fairly easy when applying the eyeball test. They played just two games against teams that made the playoffs and those teams, the Patriots and Panthers, plus the Jets were the only teams they faced that finished the season with winning records.

The eyeball test was borne out by the numbers. According to the stat gurus at Football Outsiders the Redskins faced the 28th toughest schedule in terms of the DVOA of opposing defenses and the opposing offenses added up to the 24th most difficult.

The going was considerably tougher in 2016. The Redskins played seven games against teams that were in the playoff field. The defenses they faced stacked up as the toughest group of any NFL team. They played nine games against teams that finished in the top 11 in defensive DVOA. The offenses they faced were a little better than average, ranking 13th as a group.

While the Redskins’ season was widely regarded as a disappointment, it would be reasonable to say that given vastly improved quality of the competition that they did well in only having their record drop by half a game.

Of course, the goal is to be good enough to prosper and make the playoffs no matter what mix of teams the luck of the draw happens to put on the schedule. They will need to get there in a hurry. Awaiting the Redskins on their 2017 schedule are seven 2016 playoff teams plus one more that finished the year with a winning record.

The fortunes of NFL teams can’t always be predicted in advance, especially more than seven months before the season kicks off. But it’s safe to say that the 2017 slate will be challenging. If they are going to improve their record they are going to have to improve their level of play dramatically.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.