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.
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|
|Pass Yards||3490||16||Pass Yards||3316||8|
|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|
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|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||25||-9||13||15.25||-2.25|
|Kansas City Chiefs||6||26.5||-20.5||14||18.38||-4.38|
|New Orleans Saints||30||21.31||8.69||33||31.88||1.13|
|New York Giants||12||26.69||-14.69||45||25.13||19.88|
|San Diego Chargers||20||20||0||23||28.38||-5.38|
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|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||277||365.56||-88.56||229||287.5||-58.5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||265||388.19||-123.19||268||303.19||-35.19|
|New Orleans Saints||455||357.75||97.25||463||403.81||59.19|
|New York Giants||302||324.88||-22.88||387||366||21|
|San Diego Chargers||341||326.88||14.13||364||360.06||3.94|
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|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||152||207.38||-55.38||100||185.94||-85.94|
|Kansas City Chiefs||147||231.69||-84.69||158||182.63||-24.63|
|New Orleans Saints||367||235.56||131.44||408||272.19||135.81|
|New York Giants||213||214.06||-1.06||273||251.19||21.81|
|San Diego Chargers||275||209.25||65.75||314||271.13||42.88|
|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|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||125||158.19||-33.19||129||101.56||27.44|
|Kansas City Chiefs||118||156.5||-38.5||110||120.56||-10.56|
|New Orleans Saints||88||122.19||-34.19||55||131.63||-76.63|
|New York Giants||89||110.81||-21.81||114||114.81||-0.81|
|San Diego Chargers||66||117.63||-51.63||50||88.94||-38.94|
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).