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On Thursday, a glimpse at what could have been

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On Thursday, a glimpse at what could have been

RICHMOND—The Redskins and their fans should get a glimpse of what might have been on Thursday when Jake Locker starts at quarterback for the Titans.

Going into the 2011 draft, there was plenty of chatter that Mike Shanahan was enamored with the athletic Locker going back to the quarterback’s sophomore year with the Washington Huskies. The Redskins held the tenth pick in the draft and there seemed to be a very good chance that Locker would be there when the Redskins’ turn came up.

But it didn’t happen. The Titans had the eighth pick and they decided to make him the quarterback of their future. The Redskins ended up trading back and taking Ryan Kerrigan. They would get their QB of the future in 2012.

Locker played in five games as a rookie, mostly late in games where the outcome had been decided. He entered last year as a starter but he missed five games with a shoulder injury.

The 6-foot-3 Locker had an up and down 2012 season with 10 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a decidedly mediocre passer rating of 74.0. He rushed for 41 times for 291 yards.

There is talk that Locker will run some read option this year to take advantage of his speed and athleticism. In the spring, Titans head coach Mike Munchak said that the Titans will "have a lot more things for Jake ... and you want defenses to worry about those types of things."

It is unlikely that we will see much of any new wrinkles the Titans might have for Locker in the first preseason game, but Locker could scramble a time or two in the few series he’ll be in the game. That will give us a glimpse of what might have been here.

The Redskins, of course, limped through the 2011 season with Rex Grossman and John Beck at quarterback and traded up to get Robert Griffin III in the 2012 draft. We’ll never know what might have happened if the Titans had passed on Locker and he had been on the board when the Redskins’ selection came up two picks later. But we’ll get a quick look at the possibility on Thursday.

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

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 their power running game vanishing, mirrored their prospects for winning the game.

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State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 14 of the NFL season.

Record: 6-5-1, 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-2
vs. NFC: 4-4
vs. AFC: 2-1-1
Home: 4-2
Away: 2-3-1

Rankings and changes from Week 13

Offense (yards/game): 418.6 (2nd, no change from Week 13)
Defense (yards/game): 369.6 (23rd, +2)
Points for: 303 (10th, -1)
Points against: 295 (20th, -2)

Passer rating offense:  99.8 (8th, -2)
Opp passer rating: 95.0 (22nd, -3)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.5 (5th, no change)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (29th, +2)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 9.8% (10th, no change)
Playoff chances per FO: 41.5%, -14.1% from last week

Trending the right way: Not much, really. Their ranking in rushing defense improved a couple of notches but mostly because other teams got worse, not because the Redskins put the clamps down on the rushing game.

Trending the wrong way: For the first time in a few weeks the Redskins’ playoff chances are below 50 percent. Two straight losses will do that.  

Top three storylines:

Letting them have it—Jay Gruden is usually supportive of his team after a loss but that was not the case following the Cardinals game. He could be heard speaking to the team in angry tones in the locker room following the loss. We will see if this rare tirade jump-starts the Redskins’ stretch run.

Dealing with injury issues—Not only do the Redskins have to be concerned about the condition of Jordan Reed, whose status is unclear as he rehabs from a shoulder injury he suffered on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, their starting center is in the concussion protocol. If Spencer Long can’t go the Redskins may have to add a center to back up John Sullivan.

Help wanted—The Redskins need other teams to lose if they want to make the playoffs. They need a little help if they win out to finish 10-5-1; they need more help if they finish at 9-6-1. Scoreboard watching starts at 4:25 on Sunday when the Bucs, a half-game ahead of Washington, host the Saints and continues on Sunday night football with the Cowboys at the Giants.

Next three games

Sunday @ Eagles (5-7)—The Redskins handled them well in October; the final score did not indicate how Washington dominated the game. The Eagles look more like a rebuilding team than a playoff contender and the Redskins could elimate them for all practical purposes

December 19 vs. Panthers (4-8)—The season of the defending NFC champs officially came off the rails on Sunday night when Cam Newton started the game on the bench because he didn’t wear a tie and he ended it looking at the wrong end of a 40-7 beatdown by the Seahawks. Still, the Redskins have never beaten Newton so this is not one that will come easily.

Christmas Eve vs. Bears (3-9)—There is no such thing as an easy game in the NFL but if the Redskins can’t manage to win this one they don’t deserve to make the playoffs.