A few posters have put their ideas down for how they feel the Washington Redskins' offense will perform in the 2014 season. I'm no different, but I think I've really got it nailed, under a few given assumptions, of course (aka... my escape clause).
The major assumptions I have made for these predictions are based on the following important factors:
- RGIII plays all 16 games this season for his first full season. It would also be nice to see as this would help to begin a trust process between him, his coaches, his fans, and the ever-watchful scrutiny of the press in believing he's not a play away from living off endorsement deals.
- Bruce Allen, et al. recognizing the gapping insufficiencies we have on our offensive line and throwing our high round draft picks into as many possible contributing roles there as possible. A Right Offensive Tackle and a Center, at very least, that are quality players would help RGIII not have to celebrate on his ass and not make every Redskins fan hold their breaths and clutch their beers tighter every time someone has snuck (let's be real... barreled) through the line in fear for our beloved QB's life and career. This draft, think O-line, O-line, O-line!!!
- Our defense really does bring it more than the last few years. We have been led to believe that the front 7, especially the defensive line, will be applying a lot more pressure and using packages we haven't seen out of defensive head coach Jim Haslett since he's been in Washington. We've added some better-than average players to our existing squad to help change it up a bit and with this added pressure up front, the backfield boys, who each had been recruited because they are all ball-hawks in their own rights, should show a marked improvement in getting Robert Griffin the Third the ball a lot more and help us not to have to change up our game plan too much because we're scrambling to come from behind again.
- Our special teams doesn't give the opposing teams the ball within easy driving distances for their offenses and, again, make us have to change our game plans too often. Some of the additions in free agency, such as Sharpton (and...let's be real... not re-signing Sav Rocca, and Keith 'Man did we ever get' Burns, the worst Special Teams coach in Redskins' history) show that we were definitely serious about making a much more professional showing here. This will help the offense run the pace of the game the way they want to.
- Finally, and almost certainly as important as the assumption that Robert stays healthy, we've got to have all of our guys staying in with us this season so we're not having to keep playing with the brew, so to speak. Keeping everyone healthy will give us the needed continuity this team has lacked for some time and... frankly will allow me a better chance of my predictions below coming true.
In any event, here are my predictions along with how I came to these conclusions. Enjoy the ride!
In 2014, I am predicting the following statistics of our offense:
- RGIII will have 4,032 passing yards, with a 67% completion rate on his 496 attempts, completing 336 of them of the 16 game season. He will have 27 touchdown passes and 2 running touchdowns.
- Alfred Morris will accumulate 1,520 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 304 rushing attempts.
- The receiving numbers will be like this:
- Pierre Garcon - 72 catches; 792 yards (avg. 11 yds./catch); 5 TDs
- DeSean Jackson - 66 catches; 1,188 yards (avg. 18 yds./catch); 7 TDs
- Jordan Reed - 69 catches; 966 yards (avg. 14 yds./catch); 5 TDs
- Andre Roberts - 56 catches; 504 yards (avg. 9 yds./catch); 4 TDs
- Chris Thompson - 32 catches; 352 yards (avg. 11 yds./catch); 3 TDs
- Santana Moss - 16 catches; 192 yards (avg. 12 yds./catch); 2 TDs
- Roy Helu, Jr. - 16 catches; 96 yards (avg. 6 yds./catch); 0 TDs
- Leonard Hankerson - 8 catches; 104 yards (avg. 13 yds./catch); 1 TD
- Logan Paulson - 8 catches; 40 yards (avg. 5 yds./catch); 0 TDs
- The rushing numbers will be like this:
- Alfred Morris - 304 attempts 1,520 rushing yards 10 touchdowns
- Roy Helu, Jr. - 80 attempts 288 rushing yards 0 touchdowns
- Chris Thompson - 32 attempts 208 rushing yards 1 touchdown
- RGIII - 80 attempts 560 rushing yards 2 touchdowns
- Darrel Young - 48 attempts 144 rushing yards 3 touchdowns
- (other) - 16 attempts 64 rushing yards 2 touchdowns
Now, I'm sure most people reading this would think these are wild (yet weirdly detailed) guesses. While they are guesses, I am feeling confident they are neither weird nor wild. Hear me out. This is how I came to believe the above fortune teller-like postings.
Most offenses in the NFL run between 60 - 70 offensive plays in a regular length game. In 2012, the Skins averaged 60 games, and went up to 66.5 plays a game in 2013. This is because our defense couldn't stay on the field very long after opposing offenses marched on us like the freedom-loving homosexuals wearing chaps with no pants or underwear underneath marched in Phoenix a couple weekends ago. Yes... it was that disturbing.
This year, I believe the Redskins offense will average 66 plays per game similarly to last year, not because our defense can't stop the offenses, but because this year they will stop them so quickly that our offense is having to take the field more than the defense. Nice problem to have, right?
With the knowledge that the offense will be running 66 plays a game, we need to look at the breakdown of how the Skins will be calling their offensive plays. This is highly speculative given the new offensive-minded head coach and the newly promoted, young prodigy offensive coordinator may think differently than me and recent history of the Redskins' offensive patterns may be moot this year. In any even, in 2012 when we did well and had a fairly balanced game, we had a 53/47 run vs. pass ratio which was amongst the top 3 in the league in this category. We were way off base on this ratio in 2013 when that dropped dramatically down to 42%, but I believe the Redskins are poised to bounce back to the 53% marker again as head coach Gruden has stated that he wants to have a run-heavy offense and he knows that he's got the weapons available in Morris, RGIII, and others to enforce that type of game-management philosophy.
How many offensive plays will we run this year? Well, at the above calculation of 66 plays per game, we would be running 1,056 plays over the course of the season, which would put us around 5th most in the league. We'd be aggressive, but definitely using the ground game to chew up the clocks appropriately. The 1,056 plays falls in line with the last 2 years of offensive production when we ran 961 in 2012 and 1,064 in 2013.
So with running 66 offensive plays a game at a 53%/47% run to pass ratio, that means Robert is attempting 31 passes a game. Robert's accuracy in 2013 went down a bit, but during his 13 games in 2012, he was hitting on 65.6% of his attempts. This year, with better weapons and, knock on wood, better protection, I am thinking he will join the next echelon of quarterbacks and improve his accuracy ratio to 67%, which would put him at one of the top 3 or 4 most accurate QBs in the league. He's healthy, he's been working with his receivers, and the team is psyched with the new energy at the park. It could definitely happen!
At a 67% accuracy ratio and throwing 31 passes a game, RGIII is finding his targets' hands 21 times throughout the game. In 2012, he averaged 12.4 yards per catch and it dropped to 11.7 in 2013, but we'll round it out to 12.0 yards per catch for 2014 to give 252 passing yards per game to our QB's stats sheets. Over 16 weeks, that's 4,032 yards.
I discussed him throwing just under 500 passes this season. Well that is in the bottom sixth of pass attempts of all teams last season, so this is extremely conservative, but does show our emphasis on the ground game as advertised by our new staff. Interesting note about other teams that are heavy on the run attempts and have a high run vs pass ratio. Two teams that were right there with the Redskins in 2012 as the top 3 teams and then also in the top 3 again the following year for highest run vs. pass ratios (not with the Redskins last year... thanks Shanahans) were the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. The 2013 SuperBowl Champion Ravens were in the top 10 in this category, so this is clearly significant and shows strong ties with being a winning-caliber team in this era of football.
The running game, as stated above, accounts for 53% of the offensive calls. That would be 35 run attempts each game. I broke down the season numbers above and they may have sounded outlandish, but it adds up this way:
- Morris takes 54% of all runs with 19 attempts per game this year. In 2012, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry, but was a complete workhorse that would die an early death if he kept running the sheer number of times (335) he did that season and in the bruising manner in which he did which far surpassed everyone's hopes and dreams for his production and value that he brought to us. At 19 carries a game this season, he's still carrying a load, but not quite as much. His season total of 304 will be quite high for a RB, but there were 7 others last season that produced more than that. I am predicting that, given the improved spread-oriented offense with an improved O-line (finger's crossed), that Morris will be able to exploit a few more holes than in the previous years and average 5.0 yards per carry for the first time in his career, averaging 95 yards per game on the ground. Another nice thing about Morris is that over his 2 year career with the Redskins, he has averaged a touchdown on over 2.2% of his run attempts. With the estimated 304 attempts I put in above, he would have the 10 TDs over the season like I predicted. Last year, Morris only got ahold of the football 276 times running (+6 receiving), so he should be a bit fresher this year, too, which bodes well for him hitting his projected numbers. It will be nice to have some real, up-to-date offensive minds that will know how to use Alfred much better to his abilities than in last year's games where he should have been in the games getting way more touches than he did, especially in the second halves of some games in which we had the lead and Morris was riding the pine instead of the clock out. Also, with the previously mentioned spread offense with the level of talent we've accrued out there, Morris should be able to run without 7 and 8 guys in the box all ready to take him down. The fact Morris averaged 4.6 yards last year was really remarkable and a testament to the strength and fortitude he has brought to our organization.
- The remaining 16 various running plays would be combinations of change-up backs, quick scats, quarterback sneaks and/or scrambles, and bull rushes at the line for 1st down or touchdown attempts. I see us adding 3,104 running yards to our offensive production this way to total our year end offensive gains at 7,136 yards, or an average of 446 yards per game.
SOoooo... don't believe me now?!? The numbers don't lie as long as my initial assumptions hold true throughout the season. I live in the outskirts of the Phoenix metro area and there's already a lot of talk about the Super Bowl being hosted here again this year and I couldn't imagine a cooler game than to watch the Skins in my own back yard.
Hail to the Redskins
"Whatcha Talkin' About" Willis Lee