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Redskins' second-half offense has been second rate

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Redskins' second-half offense has been second rate

One of the things we have heard coming from Redskins Park during the team’s current four-game losing streak is players and coaches bemoaning the fact that the team can’t put together a full 60-minute game of football. A look at the numbers shows this is true when you look at the offensive production in the first 30 minutes of play compared to the last 30 minutes.

During the first halves of the four games of the losing skid Washington hasn’t been a scoring machine but has been able to move the ball. In the first 30 minutes of those four games they have rushed for 423 yards (105 per game) and passed for 438 yards (109 yards/game). If the Redskins rolled up 214 yards in every half of their 12 games this season they would have over 5,100 yards of offense, a total that would rank second in the NFL.

It’s been a different story in the second half. The Redskins have rushed for a total of 198 yards (50/game) and passed for 441 (110/game). If they had gained that combined 160 yards in every half of their 12 games, they would have 3,840 total yards. That would rank 27th in the NFL.

There are many theories as to why the offensive production has dropped off so precipitously in the second halves. Many fans frequently talk about a lack of halftime adjustments by the coaches being a factor. That may be a factor but making major changes to strategy when the break is just 12 minutes is largely a thing of the past. Kyle Shanahan has said many times that adjustments take place constantly during the game, from the first series to the last.

Regardless of when they happen, it doesn’t appear that the adjustments are working. That could be due to poor strategy or it could be execution. Tight end Logan Paulsen said that the latter is an issue. “So the counter punches to their counter punches are things we have not been able to execute as well,” Paulsen told John Keim of ESPN after the Giants game.

It’s hard not to notice that passing yards a close in the first and second halves of the last four games (438 in first halves, 441 in second) but their rushing total declines by over 50 percent from the first half to the second. It appears that fan and media comments that the team is too quick to abandon the running game have some merit.

Since the name of the game is scoring points, let’s take a look there before we wrap up. In the last four games, the Redskins have scored a total of 44 first-half points. In the second halves of those games they have scored 22. The only touchdowns they have scored in the last 30 minutes came in the fourth quarter against the Eagles in a game where their opponent seemed to have lost some interest after building a 24-0 lead in the first three quarters of play.

As they say, it’s not how you start that counts, it’s how you finish. The Redskins seem to have this backwards and they will continue to struggle until they find a solution.

Note: I was asked about the run-pass ratio in the comments. I answered there but since I should have included them in the original post, here they are:

Second half–44 runs, 83 pass plays (69 att + 14 sacks)
First half–88 runs, 65 pass plays (62 att + 3 sacks)

 

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The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 7 worst play of 2016

Giants at Redskins, Week 17

4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10

Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing all season. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

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What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!