Washington Redskins

Quick Links

Need to Know: What should we expect from the Redskins' running game this year?

Need to Know: What should we expect from the Redskins' running game this year?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, July 20, 10 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

I’ll also take your Need to Know questions via email. Hit me up rich.tandler+csn@gmail.com with “NTK” in the subject line. Just keep them relatively brief, please. 

Today’s question comes from Twitter:

I’ve spent a lot of time this offseason looking at various aspects of the running game but Raj’s question here gives me a good opportunity to step back and look at the big picture, how I expect the various parts to fit together. So here we go:

After saying shortly before the start of the 2014 seasons that running the ball was what the Redskins did best, Jay Gruden didn’t call a whole lot of runs. The Redskins were 19th in the NFL in rushing attempts with 401. To put that in context, the Seahawks led the league 525 rushing attempts, ahead of the Cowboys (508) and Jets (507).

I think that Gruden perhaps intended to call more than 25 runs per game but between his natural inclination to pass first and a defense that was giving up points at a pace of almost a touchdown per quarter (27.4 points/game), it just didn’t happen. The defense should be improved and the presence of Bill Callahan on the sideline will nudge Gruden towards keeping the ball on the ground a bit more. If they add four or five runs per game that will get them up in the area of 450-475 rushing attempts.

Who will carry the ball? Gruden has assured us on multiple occasions that Alfred Morris is still the workhorse running back so until I see something different I’ll believe him. Morris carried 265 times last year so let’s say stays right around in that area. Rookie Matt Jones should get the 40 carries that the departed Roy Helu had last year and then some, perhaps 100 total.

The wild card is quarterback rushing attempts. We’re not going to see a return to 2012 when Robert Griffin III ran the ball 120 times. But if Griffin starts at least a dozen games or so he should get more than the 61 rushing attempts the three quarterbacks combined for in 2014. I’d say something around the 86 he had in 13 games in 2013.

So what will it add up to? Last year they averaged 4.2 yards per rushing attempt, 15th in the NFL. The Redskins averaged 105.7 yards per game, 19th in the league. How much better can they be? Adding a half a yard to their average per rush is a fairly ambitious goal but between the addition of Callahan, a new right side of the line, and more power running, it’s possible. We’ll use 4.7 yards per carry to figure things here while recognizing that 4.5 would represent a solid improvement.

Some quick math tells us that if the Redskins run the ball 475 times and average 4.7 yards a pop over 16 games they will average 140 yards on the ground per game. Last year that would have been fourth in the NFL, behind Seattle (173 per game), Dallas (147), and the Jets (142).

How about if they run 450 times and average 4.5? That would still represent a good improvement up to 126 yards per game, which would have been eighth in the NFL in 2014.

Somewhere between 125 and 140 yards per game is the upside prediction and I think their performance will trend that way. But some things must go right—the defense has to be improved and not just different to keep the team in running situations, Griffin or whoever the quarterback is needs to play well enough to keep teams from stacking the box, and the right side of the line needs to gel in a hurry both in run blocking and in pass protection. Things not going according to the preseason plan has been the norm for this franchise. We will see how it all shakes out but it does seem that the intention is to run more often and run better.

Timeline

—It’s been 204 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 55 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 10; Preseason opener @ Browns 24; final cuts 47

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Quick Links

Redskins activate TE Reed off of the PUP list

reed-vs-browns-usat.png
USA Today Sport Images

Redskins activate TE Reed off of the PUP list

 

The Redskins have struggled on offense in the preseason. The good news is that they are getting one of their best offensive players back to work.

The team announced that tight end Jordan Reed has been activated off the physically unable to perform list (PUP). He was placed on the list at the start of training camp with a toe injury.

At first coach Jay Gruden indicated that the injury would be a short-term problem but as it turns out he spent 24 days on the PUP list.

RELATED: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS' LOSS TO PACKERS

Reed made the Pro Bowl last year despite missing a total of four games with a shoulder injury and with a concussion, He caught 66 passes for 686 yards and six touchdowns.

His removal from the list means that he can start practicing with the team immediately. Reed would be eligible to play in the Redskins’ preseason game against the Bengals next Sunday. However, given how cautious the team has been with his injury and his value to the offense it seems likely that he will not take the field for a game until the Redskins’ season opener against the Eagles on September 10.

RELATED: MUST-SEE WEEK 2 PRESEASON

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.

Quick Links

WWE icon Jim Ross really loves Redskins running back Samaje Perine

WWE icon Jim Ross really loves Redskins running back Samaje Perine

Redskins fans don't quite know what they're going to get out of rooking running back Semaje Perine, but legendary WWE icon Jim Ross certainly does. 

Ross, a University of Oklahoma fan, saw a lot of Perine when he was a star on the Sooners. 

RELATED: MUST-SEE WEEK 2 PRESEASON

Ross recently went on CSN to let the people know what, exactly, they were getting from the Oklahoma product. Here's the list of accolades, in no particular order, that Ross has for Perine:

- Restaurant quality running back

- tougher than a 2$ steak 

- a man's man

- all man (which is different than being a man's man, somehow)

- a yard wide (?)

You can see the whole thing here, with Ross coming in at the 1:22 mark. 

RELATED: FIVE OBSERVATIONS FROM REDSKINS-PACKERS