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Redskins hold on to progress in key stat but must improve going forward

Redskins hold on to progress in key stat but must improve going forward

In 2013 and 2014 the Redskins suffered through two of the worst back-to-back seasons in team history. They won a combined seven games (3-13 followed up by 4-12) and it wasn’t bad luck. The Redskins were outscored by 144 points in 2013, their worst point differential since 1961. The improvement was marginal in 2014 as they were only a touchdown better with a point differential of minus-137. That was the second-worst since the merger. (stats via the indispensable Pro Football Reference)

The 2015 Redskins outscored the opposition 388 points to 379. The net differential of plus-9 points wasn’t anything to write home about. But compared to the previous season it was a substantial improvement. Only twice since the merger have the Redskins had a larger year-to-year improvement in their point differential.

RELATED: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Mike Pettine

The Redskins did improve their point differential this past season although the increase was minimal. They scored 396 points and gave up 383, a difference of 13 points.

However, having positive point differentials two straight seasons is something that the Redskins have not done in a while. Yes, it’s a low bar and it doesn’t warrant a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, or even one down Loudoun County Parkway. But they haven’t been on the plus side of the points ledger in two straight seasons since 1999-2000.

That seems incredible but it shows the inconsistency that the franchise and its fans have suffered through since the team last won the Super Bowl in 1991. They haven’t had three straight seasons with a positive point differential since that era; Washington had four straight plus-points seasons from 1989-1992. Since then they were on the plus side in points in 1996-1997, the last time the team had back-to-back winning seasons, and in the aforementioned 99-00 seasons.

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You would like to see the team make more than baby steps. But the current situation is better than what the team experienced after the 2005 and 2012 seasons. Those teams went from having winning records and playoff spots to double-digit losses and negatives on the points ledger. Their ability to tread water won’t mean much unless they advance in 2017 but the state of the franchise has been such that what the Redskins have done these past two years represents progress.

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. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0: CORNERING THE MARKET

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

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Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

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.