FanPost

Reviewing the Washington Redskins 2009 Season

Hello, Hogs Haven readers! I just wrote up a statistical post reviewing the Redskins' 2009 season. I ran it by KevinE, and he agreed that you all would probably like to check it out. The original is located my site, called Checking the Numbers. So, here you go. Hope you like it.

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Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins are next up on my list of 2009 NFL Season Reviews. At 4-12, they pick 4th in the upcoming 2010 NFL Draft. Of the teams that I've looked at so far, the 'skins had by far the most disappointing season. Following their 8-8 season in 2008, in which they had a top 5 defense, many expected that this year the offense would improve enough to get them into the playoffs and back on the winning track. It didn't quite work out that way. The defense was still solid, ranked 10th in yards allowed, but the offense didn't really improve enough to get them into contention. The conventional wisdom is for them to look for the QB of the future with the 4th pick. Let's take a look at their offensive and defensive performance compared against their opponents' averages and see if that appears to be the biggest need.

These posts follow a set formula, which is described in this paragraph. First, we will look at the team’s Offensive and Defensive values and ranks for total yards, points, passing and rushing. This will give a general feel for the team’s season. Next, we have a set of tables that compares the team’s points scored and allowed as well as their total yards, and passing and rushing yards, gained and allowed for each game. These values will be compared with the respective opponent’s corresponding averages, with the differences between the team’s value and the opponent’s average calculated. Finally, I included a sum of the differences for the entire season. This should give a good indication of how the team’s various units performed with respect to their opposition as well as which units performed better or worse. (Note: All stats are from Pro-Football-Reference.com)

With that background description, let’s see how the Redskins performed this season. First, we’ll look at their raw numbers in terms of offensive and defensive yards and league rankings.

Team Offense Value Rank   Team Defense Value Rank
Points 266 26   Points 336 18
Yards 5000 22   Yards 5115 10
Cmp 340 --   Cmp 314 --
Att 533 --   Att 511 --
Pass Yards 3490 16   Pass Yards 3316 8
NY/A 6 16   NY/A 6 17
Pass TD 21 16   Pass TD 19 10
Pass INTs 16 16   Pass INTs 11 26
Rush Yards 1510 27   Rush Yards 1799 16
Rush TD 8 25   Rush TD 10 7
Y/A 3.9 29   Y/A 4 10
Sacks 46 28   Sacks 40 T-8

Table 1

As mentioned above, the strength of the Redskins in 2009 was the defense. They were 10th in total yards and 8th in pass yards allowed. The rush defense was not as good as one would have expected considering that they had Albert Haynesworth at DT, but that stat may have been even worse due to the offensive struggles and the fact that Washington was probably playing from behind in most games.

Now that we’ve looked at the general overview, let’s look at the game by game statistical tables. Table 2 contains the Redskins’ points scored and allowed in each game next to the opponents’ average defensive points allowed and average offensive points scored. It also shows the 'skins’ points scored minus the opponent’s average points allowed and their  points allowed minus the opponent’s average points scored. For the Diff1 column, a positive number would be good, while for the Diff2 column, a negative number would be good.


Wash Pts Opp D
Opp Pts Opp O
Opp Score Avg Pt Diff1 Score Avg Pt Diff2
New York Giants 17 26.69 -9.69 23 25.13 -2.13
St. Louis Rams 9 27.25 -18.25 7 10.94 -3.94
Detroit Lions 14 30.88 -16.88 19 16.38 2.63
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 25 -9 13 15.25 -2.25
Carolina Panthers 17 19.25 -2.25 20 19.69 0.31
Kansas City Chiefs 6 26.5 -20.5 14 18.38 -4.38
Philadelphia Eagles 17 21.06 -4.06 27 26.81 0.19
Atlanta Falcons 17 20.31 -3.31 31 22.69 8.31
Denver Broncos 27 20.25 6.75 17 20.38 -3.38
Dallas Cowboys 6 15.63 -9.63 7 22.56 -15.56
Philadelphia Eagles 24 21.06 2.94 27 26.81 0.19
New Orleans Saints 30 21.31 8.69 33 31.88 1.13
Oakland Raiders 34 23.69 10.31 13 12.31 0.69
New York Giants 12 26.69 -14.69 45 25.13 19.88
Dallas Cowboys 0 15.63 -15.63 17 22.56 -5.56
San Diego Chargers 20 20 0 23 28.38 -5.38
Sum Difference     -95.19     -9.25

Table 2

This table mainly shows what we had seen in Table 1, namely that Washington's defense was better than the offense. Over the entire season, the defense gave up 9 fewer points cumulatively than the opponents' average points scored. So, again, the defense looks to be in pretty good shape going into 2010. The offense struggled most of the season. Let's see if the yardage data, shown in Table 3 below, agrees with these thoughts.


Wash Yds Opp D
Opp Yds Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Yd Diff1 Gained Avg Yd Diff2
New York Giants 272 324.88 -52.88 351 366 -15
St. Louis Rams 362 372.81 -10.81 245 279.38 -34.38
Detroit Lions 390 392.13 -2.13 381 299 82
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 277 365.56 -88.56 229 287.5 -58.5
Carolina Panthers 198 315.81 -117.81 248 331.06 -83.06
Kansas City Chiefs 265 388.19 -123.19 268 303.19 -35.19
Philadelphia Eagles 308 321.06 -13.06 262 357.88 -95.88
Atlanta Falcons 312 348.88 -36.88 306 340.44 -34.44
Denver Broncos 388 315 73 305 341.44 -36.44
Dallas Cowboys 324 315.88 8.13 305 399.38 -94.38
Philadelphia Eagles 303 321.06 -18.06 381 357.88 23.13
New Orleans Saints 455 357.75 97.25 463 403.81 59.19
Oakland Raiders 295 361.94 -66.94 227 266.13 -39.13
New York Giants 302 324.88 -22.88 387 366 21
Dallas Cowboys 208 315.88 -107.88 393 399.38 -6.38
San Diego Chargers 341 326.88 14.13 364 360.06 3.94
Sum Difference     -468.56     -343.5

Table 3

 In fact, this table shows that the defense was a strength in 2009, while the offense was a definite liability. The defense held opponents to a combined 343.5 yards below their season averages. Conversely the offense gained nearly 470 yards below what their opponents averaged allowing. In Tables 4 and 5, we'll break it down by rush and pass offense and defense.


Wash P-Yd Opp D
Opp P-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Pa Diff1 Gained Avg Pa Diff2
New York Giants 187 214.06 -27.06 248 251.19 -3.19
St. Louis Rams 237 235.25 1.75 119 167.88 -48.88
Detroit Lions 325 265.56 59.44 227 198 29
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 152 207.38 -55.38 100 185.94 -85.94
Carolina Panthers 124 191 -67 162 174.94 -12.94
Kansas City Chiefs 147 231.69 -84.69 158 182.63 -24.63
Philadelphia Eagles 246 216.38 29.63 140 255.56 -115.56
Atlanta Falcons 176 242.06 -66.06 125 223.19 -98.19
Denver Broncos 214 186.31 27.69 185 226.69 -41.69
Dallas Cowboys 246 225.38 20.63 152 267.94 -115.94
Philadelphia Eagles 221 216.38 4.63 258 255.56 2.44
New Orleans Saints 367 235.56 131.44 408 272.19 135.81
Oakland Raiders 195 206.44 -11.44 162 159.81 2.19
New York Giants 213 214.06 -1.06 273 251.19 21.81
Dallas Cowboys 165 225.38 -60.38 285 267.94 17.06
San Diego Chargers 275 209.25 65.75 314 271.13 42.88
Sum Difference     -32.13     -295.75

Table 4


Wash R-Yd Opp D
Opp R-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Ru Diff1 Gained Avg Ru Diff2
New York Giants 85 110.81 -25.81 103 114.81 -11.81
St. Louis Rams 125 137.56 -12.56 126 111.5 14.5
Detroit Lions 65 126.56 -61.56 154 101 53
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 125 158.19 -33.19 129 101.56 27.44
Carolina Panthers 74 124.81 -50.81 86 156.13 -70.13
Kansas City Chiefs 118 156.5 -38.5 110 120.56 -10.56
Philadelphia Eagles 62 104.69 -42.69 122 102.31 19.69
Atlanta Falcons 136 106.81 29.19 181 117.25 63.75
Denver Broncos 174 128.69 45.31 120 114.75 5.25
Dallas Cowboys 78 90.5 -12.5 153 131.44 21.56
Philadelphia Eagles 82 104.69 -22.69 123 102.31 20.69
New Orleans Saints 88 122.19 -34.19 55 131.63 -76.63
Oakland Raiders 100 155.5 -55.5 65 106.31 -41.31
New York Giants 89 110.81 -21.81 114 114.81 -0.81
Dallas Cowboys 43 90.5 -47.5 108 131.44 -23.44
San Diego Chargers 66 117.63 -51.63 50 88.94 -38.94
Sum Difference     -436.44     -47.75

Table 5

Since Jason Campbell has been somewhat of a scapegoat, it's somewhat surprising to see that the biggest weakness, according to these numbers anyway, is in the rush offense. The pass offense gained only 32 yards below what opponents' averaged allowing, while the rush offense gained nearly 450 yards below opponents' averages for the season. On defense, both rush and pass defense held opponents' below their season averages. As expected, the pass defense out-performed the rush defense here.

Redskins fans will know better than I what caused the rush offense to struggle so much. I know that Clinton Portis missed several games due to injury this season, and they don't seem to have anyone comparable (or even close) behind him. But, even when he played, he was not as dominant as in years past, gaining less than 500 yards in 8 games. The question is whether the Redskins problems are more associate with the offensive line or the running back position. So, while many are expecting the 'skins to go QB with the 4th pick, a stud OL pick may very well be the direction that they take as well. RB is unlikely here, as I don't see any really great RB's coming out this year. And, solid RBs can be picked up more easily than just about any other position.

To sum up, Redskin fans know that this coming season will be a time of transition, with Mike Shanahan coming in to replace departed head coach Jim Zorn. Based on this analysis, he should have a solid defense to complement the expected offensive improvements that he should bring. I wouldn't be surpised if they draft a stud OL with the 4th pick, add a solid RB in a later round, and sign a decent veteran free agent QB (maybe a Culpepper or Leftwich).

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