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Good start and finish for Redskins' McCoy but issues in between

Good start and finish for Redskins' McCoy but issues in between

Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy is getting kudos for first providing a spark to the Redskins offense in the second half by throwng a 70-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon to erase a halftime deficit and then engineering a 10-play drive in the last minutes of the game to set up the game-winning field goal.

His numbers looked pretty good in a half of work in relief of Kirk Cousins. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards with the one touchdown and, perhaps most importantly, no interceptions. That comes to a passer rating of 138.9.

But a closer look at the numbers and what actually happened during the game might lead one to wonder if he should automatically get the start in Dallas next Monday night if Robert Griffin III is not yet 100 percent.

For one thing, while McCoy gets as much credit for that 70-yard touchdown play to Garçon as he would if it was a long, perfectly placed bomb, the fact is that it was a five-yard pass to the flat. It turned into a TD because Garçon was able to spin away from cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson and because safety Michael Griffin did a poor job of being the last line of defense, taking a bad angle on the receiver as he sped down the sideline.

If you give McCoy five yards on that completion instead of 70, he has only 63 yards passing and his yards per attempt from an impressive 10.7 to a substandard 5.3. Add in the eight yards he lost to sacks and it comes to a net yards per attempt of 3.9.

A team can occasionally win a game with a passing performance like that but it’s unusual. A team has averaged 3.9 net yards per pass attempt in 285 games since the start of the 2010 season. Those teams are 31-254, a .109 winning percentage.

Until the final drive, half of McCoy’s completions really didn’t do the offense much good. On one third-quarter drive he went to Garçon for three yards on second and nine, to Roy Helu for a loss of seven on second and 11 and to Garçon for six on third and 18. In a key possession after the Titans had scored to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, McCoy was sacked on consecutive plays.

In between the TD pass to Garçon and the final drive, a span of about 24 minutes, McCoy completed five of six passes for a net of 10 yards and was sacked twice for a loss of eight.

But, to his credit, McCoy got it done when it needed to get done. He did what Cousins has not been able to get done since taking over for the injured Griffin.

On that final drive he was five for five for 38 yards. He had a 36-yard pass to DeSean Jackson wiped out due to offsetting penalties and he might have won the game a few plays earlier with a 29-yard TD pass to Jackson but Jason McCourty interfered, setting up the chip-shot field goal to win it.

Give McCoy credit, tons of it, for getting it done in the end of the game and for playing a part in the TD pass to Garçon. But Jay Gruden and company have to consider the whole game played by McCoy and some of it wasn’t very pretty. Will it be enough to give the Redskins a shot against the Cowboys in a week?

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Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Need to Know: Did the Redskins underachieve in 2016?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 18, 99 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 43
NFL free agency starts 51
First Sunday of 2017 season 236

The coordinator search and more

Did the Redskins underachieve this year? I know that a metric like Football Outsiders' DVOA is not the final word in the quality of a team but looking at it year after year it usually does work out that the teams with the better numbers in DVOA usually win more games than those with worse numbers. The Redskins finished 2016 eighth in DVOA. Considering that 12 teams make the playoffs, that could be considered a playoff quality team. Yet 15 teams finished with a better record than they did. I’m sure there are some holes in the formula for the stat but just looking at that it sure appears that the Redskins did leave some wins out on the field.

John Keim is reporting that the Redskins are prepared to switch to a 4-3 defense if that is what their new defensive coordinator prefers. They have been in the 3-4 since Mike Shanahan arrived in 2010. Whether it is because of the scheme or lack of draft and free agent resources spent on the line and at safety, the defense hasn’t been very good. As Keim notes, they will need to make some personnel changes if they do change but with a full load of draft picks and $62 million in cap space this may be the time to do it.

I expected the angst that was all over Twitter when word of the Rob Ryan interview got out. But it’s pretty dumb to get all worked up over an interview (with all due respect to readers here who may have been upset). It’s not a hiring. Look, somehow or another Ryan managed to stay employed as an NFL defensive coordinator for 12 straight seasons. I don’t know how to research it without going through some very time consuming and tedious steps but I’d be willing to bet that only about a few dozen men in the history of the league have been able to remain a defensive coordinator for that many season in a row. The organization can learn something from sitting down and talking to him for a few hours.

I understand that we want things to talk about in a relatively slow time. But I just don’t see why there is fear out there over the possibility that Kyle Shanahan will get hired as the coach of the 49ers and somehow steal Kirk Cousins away to be his quarterback. The Redskins can maintain his rights via the franchise tag. They could tag Cousins and trade him to the 49ers but there would be a heavy price in terms of draft picks. But while it’s possible, it’s unlikely. The chances are very, very good that Cousins will be in a Redskins uniform this year via either the tag or a long-term deal. 

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In case you missed it

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

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

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