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Washington Redskins - Building an Offensive Identity

How Will the New Redskins Offense Look Under Jay Gruden?

Patrick McDermott

They say a team takes on the identity of it's head coach.  If this holds true, Redskins fans could be in for quite a fun ride!  New head coach Jay Gruden is known to be an offensive mastermind.  He excels at exploiting other team's deficiencies, and creating mismatches for his offense with a plethora of motions, shallow crossing routes, pre-snap audibles, and double moves.  He certainly expects a lot from his quarterback, but at the same time, gives him the freedom to run the offense as if he were a coach himself.

This should be very exciting for Robert Griffin III, and Redskins fans all over the world.

So, what can we expect to see in 2014 from Jay Gruden and the new Redskins offense?  This is impossible to answer without having seen the Skins operate under their new commander, but if you'd like a sneak peek of how the offense MIGHT look next season, you need to dig a bit into Gruden's past three seasons with the Bengals.

Gruden became the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011.  His team finished the season with a 9-7 record.  He helped the team improve their record in each of his following seasons, going 10-6 in 2012, and 11-5 this past season.

2011(9-7) 3rd in AFC North:

21.5 pts(18th), 319.9 yds/g(20th), 209 passing yds/g(20th), 111.1 rushing yds/g(19th)

2012(10-6) 2nd in AFC North:

24.4 pts(12th), 332.7 yds/g(22nd), 223.6 passing yds/g(17th), 109.1 rushing yds/g(18th)

2013(11-5) 1st in AFC North:

26.9 pts(6th), 368.2 yds/g(10th), 258.5 passing yds/g(8th), 109.7 rushing yds/g(18th)

So, looking at these three years, we see an improvement every year in points per game, total yards per game, passing yards per game, and record. Rushing yards per game stayed pretty much the same over these years, averaging in the lower half of teams in the league.

To get a true idea of how the Redskins offense could look under Gruden however, we need to dig a bit deeper into these stats.


Andy Dalton(16 games)

516 passing attempts

3398 yards

58.1 completion percentage

20 TD

13 INT

*3 players caught over 50 passes

Cedric Benson(15 games)

273 attempts

1067 yards

3.9 yards per carry

6 TD


Andy Dalton(16 games)

528 passing attempts

3669 yards

62.3 completion percentage

27 TD

16 INT

*3 players caught over 50 passes

*TEs over 70 combined catches

BenJarvus Green-Ellis(15 games)

278 attempts

1094 yards

3.9 yards per carry

6 TD


Andy Dalton(16 games)

586 passing attempts

4293 yards

61.9 completion percentage

33 TD

20 INT

*3 players over 50 catches

*2 more with over 45 catches

*TEs with 85 combined receptions

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

220 attempts

756 yards

3.4 yards per carry

7 TD

Giovani Bernard

170 attempts

695 yards

4.1 yards per carry

5 TD

3 year averages:

- Threw ball 543 times per season

- 3787 passing yards per season

- 60.8 completion percentage

- 363 rushing attempts combined by teams top two running backs

- 1417 rushing yards per season combined by teams top two running backs

So, if history holds true to Gruden's tendencies, we can logically expect to be a 55-45 pass/run team, who will attempt at least 500 passing attempts, 350 plus rushing attempts, and will spread the ball around to multiple play-makers on the outside.  I would also expect to see tight ends heavily involved in this offense.

As for players to run this projected scheme, we have a capable young quarterback who will likely be molded in a quarterback friendly west coast vertical offense, with multiple options, check downs, and audibles at the line of scrimmage.  I expect RG3 to get his wish, and become a true pocket passer, with the ability to extend plays with his feet when necessary.  I also think we will see a natural progression in completion percentage, TD/INT ratio, and passing yards, just as we saw from a young Andy Dalton under Gruden's guidance.

As for playmakers on the outside, I expect this to be a main focus for Gruden this offseason.  Every season he was a coordinator in the NFL, he's had at least three players with 50+ catches.  We currently have Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed as the only reliable targets in the passing game.  I expect upgrading this group to be a primary area of focus this offseason.

As for the running game, Gruden has never had a single running back go over 278 carries in a single season.  He has inherited Morris, who is known to be a workhorse.  Morris carried the ball 335 times as a rookie, and 276 times this past season, but I wouldn't expect more than 300 touches for Almo, if Gruden holds true to his past.