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What if the Redskins match the Bengals' red zone success?


What if the Redskins match the Bengals' red zone success?

Jay Gruden’s Cincinnati Bengals were one of the best red zone teams in the NFL in 2013. They scored a touchdown on 73.9 percent of the drives where they took at least one snap from inside their opponents’ 21 yard line.

The Redskins, on the other hand, were not so efficient. They got into the end zone on 52 percent of their red zone trips (20th).

Let’s play some “what if” here. The Redskins scored 334 points last season. That comes to an average of 20.9 per game, 23rd in the league. How many points might they have scored if they had been as efficient as the Bengals in the red zone?

The Redskins (48 RZ drives) actually made it into the red zone more often than did Cincinnati (46). Washington scored 25 touchdowns on those drives while the Bengals got 34 on theirs.

If the Redskins had scored TD on 73.9 percent of their red zone drives, they would have had 35 touchdowns from the red zone (rounding from 35.4), 10 more than they actually scored.

The Redskins, of course, did not come up empty in all of their red zone trips where they did not score a touchdown. They settled for field goals 14 times on red zone possessions.

So let’s say that they got field goals on each of those 10 red zone possessions where they didn’t get touchdowns due to relative inefficiency there. That would mean they scored 30 where they had the realistic opportunity to score 70, a difference of 40 points.

If they had scored 40 more points they would have had 374 points, exactly the NFL average. They would have ranked 18th in the league instead of 23rd.

Those lost points could have helped in the wins column if they had come at the right times. The most obvious case was the game at home against the Cowboys. Twice the Redskins settled for field goals from the red zone and they lost the game by one. In a few other games leaving points on the table in the red zone left them needing a touchdown to win or tie a game in the late going instead of a field goal.

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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: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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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.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

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.