Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 27, seven days before the Redskins host the Eagles.
Five areas where the Redskins have improved this season
The Redskins are 1-2 and what they have done wrong has been discussed and rehashed in great detail. But they have been doing some things right and at this point, just under a fifth of the way through the season, the numbers are beginning to take on a degree of statistical significance. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Third down conversions—The Redskins have converted 44.4 percent of their third downs, compared to a pathetic 31.5 percent last year. Their rushing game has helped but even against the Giants, when they struggled to run, they converted at a 40 percent clip (6/15).
Opponent passer rating—Last year even average quarterbacks played like Ben Roethlisberger against the Redskins as they had a 108.3 passer rating against them. This year they guys they play against are more like Derek Carr. A 96.3 rating isn’t quite where they want it to be but it is a significant improvement.
Points allowed per game—After giving up 27.4 points per game last year, nearly a touchdown per quarter, they are down to 19.7. Their current average ranks eighth in the NFL.
Sack percentage (offense)—Kirk Cousins has plenty of flaws and the offensive line still has to gel but between them they are doing a much better job at avoiding sacks. Last year the Redskins were sacked on 9.6 percent of their pass drop backs. This year the rate is 3.6 percent. That has undoubtedly helped them with their third down conversions (see above) since they don’t have as far to go.
Red zone scoring—The Redskins have scored a touchdown on 66.7 percent of their red zone possessions. Last year they punched it in for six from inside the 20 just 47.9 percent of time.
—Today’s schedule: Off day
—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 7; Redskins @ Falcons 14; Redskins @ Jets 21
In case you missed it
Well it looks like the name many considered to be the Redskins top choice at defensive coordinator is off the market. Adam Schefter broke the news of Gus Bradley to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Redskins interviewed Bradley early in their process of selecting a new defensive coordinator. His latest gig ended poorly after he was fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Bradley's best success came as defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks.
When he served in that role with Seattle, Bradley worked with Scot McCloughan. And prior to his coaching stint in Seattle, Bradley coached in Tampa, where he worked with both Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden.
Those connections, and his success in Seattle, had many fans hoping Bradley would take over for Joe Barry, who Washington dismissed more than two weeks ago.
The connection between Bradley and the Chargers comes as no surprise, and it leaves Washington still in need of a defensive boss.
Mike Pettine probably jumps to the top of the ranks of other coaches the Redskins have interviewed, but it still seems internal candidate Greg Manusky could be in position to move up to coordinator. Manusky spent the 2016 season as outside linebackers coach and has prior coordinator experience.
The Skins have also interviewed Dennis Thurman, last of Buffalo, Jason Tarver, last of San Francisco, Rob Ryan, also last in Buffalo, and John Pagano, last with the Chargers.
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The Redskins are reported to have a new quarterbacks coach. Normally that is not news that moves the needle much but if the report proves to be accurate the move has some big implications for the Redskins coaching staff.
First, about the coach. Kevin O’Connell was most recently an offensive assistant with the 49ers. Prior to that he was a quarterback who spent time with the Patriots, who drafted him out of San Diego State in the third round in 2008, Lions, Jets, Dolphins, and Chargers. He only saw the field the Patriots and he attempted just six passes. His addition as the Redskins’ quarterbacks coach was reported by Fox Sports.
Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh
The thing is, the Redskins don’t officially have an opening for a quarterbacks coach. The job is held by Matt Cavanaugh. However, the Redskins do need an offensive coordinator since Sean McVay left last week to become the head coach of the Rams. Moving Cavanaugh, who played quarterback in the NFL for 13 seasons before starting a 23-year career in coaching, to offensive coordinator, seems to be the logical move to make to many.
If O’Connell’s addition to the staff does indeed become a reality, that would all but confirm that Cavanaugh is getting the promotion. Nothing is official until it’s official but this seems to be the way things are heading.
Stay tuned to CSNmidatlantic.com for the latest.
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.