On our show Redskins Lunchbox, Kevin and I have spent a considerable amount of time covering our woes on 3rd down, both on offense and defense. Against the Eagles, we were better on offense at keeping drives alive on 3rd downs (versus previous games), and even more importantly, we picked up 8 first downs on the ground (not all on 3rd down plays). The ability to get first downs via the rushing game cannot be overlooked. In addition to the fact that our running game has been slow to develop period, we were not helping Don Burgundy out at all when it came to defensive game-planning. Opposing defensive coordinators might have to respect our running backs a little bit more going forward, though we still have a lot to prove.
I am coming to you from the road this week, so I was hoping to make today's STAT! column a little more interactive. In the comments section below, I ask each of you the same question Kevin and I ask ourselves each week before filming: What stat do you want to argue over? Pick a stat from the last game or one from the season as a whole and explain to us all what we must do to either get better in that category or utilize a strength against the Packers. (looking forward to your numbers smutsboy)
I will update the season spreadsheet for next week and hopefully solve the problem of it not fitting on the screen.
I'll pick an easy one: Turnovers. The Redskins are currently +3 in turnover differential, which is good for 7th in the NFL. Here is my concern: we are already playing everyone close. We don't have to look too far back (two seasons ago) to find the last time our team kind of over-achieved based on a lack of game-breaking mistakes. At 6-2 under Jim Zorn in 2008, Jason Campbell was relatively mistake-free. Our defense was solid and we thought we were a good team. Yet, as soon as we made a mistake here and there, we proved to be a team that was unable to overcome them to win games.
The dropped interception by Carlos Rogers last week is one we have to make this season if we expect to end any game in Victory formation. In fact, he has two chances to cement victories this season I believe with catches that should be made in this league.
Our current positive turnover differential is where we need to be, but if 7th in the league is only good for a 2-2 W/L record, we simply have to do better. A combination of being more opportunistic as well as protecting the ball on offense will continue to guard this very important stat. Here's hoping Ryan Torain keeps the ball off the ground this week.
The Packers are excellent in getting turnovers. Though their team differential is -1, I don't expect that to continue. Therefore, I see this stat as being an integral part of the game this week.