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Snap Judgments: Week 7 Titans @ Redskins - OFFENSE

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Looking beyond the box score to see how the Redskins utilized their offensive players in Week 7

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The Redskins beat the Titans with a last-second field goal on Sunday and snapped their four game long streak in the process.  They came out on on top, but it's clear that they still have quite a few areas to work on, and it's hard to get too excited about beating a lowly Tennessee team led by Clipboard Jesus, Charlie Whitehurst, that came into the game at 2-4.  Even with all that being said, I do think there are a few real positives that we can take away from this game.

Jay Gruden finally pulled the plug on both Kirk Cousins and Tyler Polumbus.  These were two moves that had to be made, as both players have been among the worst (if not the worst) in the league at their respective positions this year.  Gruden also stay committed to the run in a way that he has not done all season.  He didn't shy away from it in the second half, when they were trailing and on first down.  Those are all areas in which Gruden has called running plays at a lower rate than league average this year (he actually ran too much on first down though, with 69% of the team's rushing attempts coming on that down).  So, not only did the Redskins come away with the much needed win, but their head coach and leader started to make the necessary changes to the personnel and offensive strategy that this team has needed for weeks.  It may only be a baby step, but this appears to be the first step in the right direction.  Hopefully it will be the first of many.

***Data Disclaimer: This is my own count after watching the game tape.  Snap data for kneel-down snaps and plays negated by pre-snap penalties are not included.***

The Offense ran 62 snaps

  • 37 Passing Snaps (60%) and 25 Rushing Snaps (40%)
  • In the previous three weeks Washington had set or matched season-lows with their number and percentage of rushing snaps.  Things were much different this week, however, as they posted their third highest number and second highest percentage of rushing snaps this year.  They only ran the ball at a higher rate in the Week 2 home blowout of Jacksonville (41 snaps/49%).
  • The Redskins were both tied with and trailed the Titans for 22 of their offensive snaps (35% each).  They held the lead for the other 18 snaps (29%).  Knowing that they trailed for more snaps than they led, should help you to realize just how close the Skins came to losing this one.
  • According to the ESPN play-by-play log, the Redskins ran 2 no-huddle snaps against the Titans (3%).  That is the lowest number and percentage of hurry-up snaps on the season.  It's somewhat odd that Gruden didn't go with this approach a bit more when you consider that they trailed more than they led and that they ended both halves in possession of the football.
  • The Redskins put points on the board on 5 of their 11 drives.  The offense also twice turned the ball over and went three-and-out. 
  • Jay Gruden called rushing plays on 13 of 33 first half offensive snaps (39%); and for once he stuck with it in the second half, by dialing up rushes on 12 of the 29 second half snaps (41%).  Washington trailed for 16 of those 29 snaps (55%), so rushing at a higher rate in the second half than they did in the first is somewhat of an about-face for the pass-happy Gruden.
  • The offense was to blame for four of the seven accepted penalties (35 yards).  Kirk Cousins was responsible for three of these four infractions (two delay of games and intentional grounding).  According to Pro Football Focus, Cousins is now tied for the NFL lead in penalties by a quarterback with four.  Tyler Polumbus was also called for Holding.  Jordan Reed and Tom Compton got off the hook as their penalties (illegal formation and illegal use of hands) were offset by penalties against Tennessee. 

Team Snap Data:

Quarter Number of Snaps (%)
1st 16 (26%)
2nd 17 (27%)
3rd 12 (19%)
4th 17 (27%)
Down Number of Snaps (%)
1st 29 (47%)
2nd 20 (32%)
3rd 13 (21%)
4th 0 (0%)
Field Position Number of Snaps (%)
Redskins Side 36 (58%)
Titans Side 25 (40%)
Midfield 1 (2%)
At or Inside Own 20 7 (11%)
Red Zone 12 (19%)
Goal-to-Go 1 (2%)
Formation Number of Snaps (%)
Under Center 29 (47%)
Total Shotgun 33 (53%)
Shotgun 26 (42%)
Pistol 7 (11%)
Play Type Number of Snaps (%)
Regular Pass 25 (40%)
Regular Run 24 (39%)
Play Action 7 (11%)
Screen 5 (8%)
Draw 1 (2%)

  • Washington actually did something positive in the field position battle in this game.  The 11% of snaps either at or inside their own 20-yard line is the lowest on the year.
  • The 19% of snaps from the red zone is the second most for the team in 2014.
  • The offense only operated from under center more in the Jacksonville game (45 snaps/58% in that game).  Again, this is also the second most that they have run the ball and they won both games.  I'm pretty sure that this is not a coincidence.
  • The Redskins called five screens against the Titans, with one going to Andre Roberts and two going to both Pierre Garcon and Roy Helu.

Personnel Groupings:

Personnel Number of Snaps (%)
11 (1 RB/1 TE/3 WR) 34 (55%)
12 (1 RB/2 TE/2 WR) 7 (11%)
13 (1 RB/3 TE/1 WR) 8 (13%)
21 (2 RB/1 TE/ 2 WR) 10 (16%)
22 (2 RB/ 2 TE/ 1 WR) 3 (5%)
  • The lone touchdown on the day was scored with the 11 personnel.  The Redskins have scored their last five touchdowns from the 11.
  • Nine of the team's seventeen touchdowns (53%) this year have come with 11 grouping on the field.
  • The eight snaps and thirteen percent usage are both season-highs for the 13 personnel.  They used Reed, Paulsen and Paul together in this package and called six runs and two play-action bootlegs from it.

Individual Player Snaps:

Name Position Snaps Snap %
Trent Williams * LT 62 100%
Shawn Lauvao * LG 62 100%
Kory Lichtensteiger * C 62 100%
Chris Chester * RG 62 100%
DeSean Jackson * WR 52 84%
Pierre Garcon * WR 52 84%
Jordan Reed TE 41 66%
Tyler Polumbus * RT 40 65%
Andre Roberts WR 39 63%
Kirk Cousins * QB 33 53%
Roy Helu HB 31 50%
Alfred Morris * HB 31 50%
Colt McCoy QB 29 47%
Logan Paulsen * TE 25 40%
Tom Compton RT 22 35%
Niles Paul TE 21 34%
Darrel Young * FB 13 21%
Santana Moss WR 3 5%
Ryan Grant WR 2 3%
Josh LeRibeus G 0 0%
Silas Redd RB 0 0%
  • There were 21 active offensive players in this game.  All of them except Josh LeRibeus and Silas Redd recorded an offensive snap.  Robert Griffin, Aldrick Robinson, Morgan Moses and Spencer Long were declared inactive.
  • With Colt McCoy getting his first snaps of the year, every offensive player on the active roster has now recorded a snap in 2014.  Leonard Hankerson (PUP list) is now the only offensive player on the team that has yet to record a snap.  We'll find out if he'll have a chance to get on the field in about two weeks, when the team must either add him to the active 53-man roster, put him on the season ending injured reserve list or cut him.
  • Tyler Polumbus was benched for ineffectiveness and injury (mainly the former), and as a result he recorded a season-low 40 snaps (65%).  His backup, Tom Compton, saw a season-high in snaps with 22 (35%).  Polumbus allowed a sack and a hurry against the Titans, while Compton did not allow a QB pressure of any kind. 
  • Alfred Morris and Roy Helu split the running back work down the middle with 31 snaps each.  Washington rushed the ball on 61% of Morris' snaps (19 of 31) and passed it on 81% of Helu's (25 of 31).  Helu was the back on 92% of the team's third-down snaps (12 of 13) and on 82% of the snaps from the 11 personnel (28 of 34).  Morris manned the RB spot for 100% of the 12 personnel snaps (7 of 7), 88% of the 13 personnel snaps (7 of 8) and 90% of the snaps from the 21 (9 of 10).
  • Over the last three weeks, Morris has not received more than 50% of the snaps (49%, 43% and 50%) and Helu has not received less than 50% of the snaps (51%, 57% and 50%).  Helu has out-snapped Morris 93 to 84 in that time frame. 

Team Records, Streaks & Rankings:

Team

  • The Redskins are 2-5, despite being ranked 5th in total offense, 4th in passing offense, 7th in total defense, 8th in passing defense and 12th in rushing defense (all per game).  Their poor record probably has something to do with the following rankings: 21st in rushing yards per game, 22nd in offensive red zone TD %, 23rd in points scored per game, 24th in points allowed per game, 31st in third-down conversion %, 31st in penalty yards, 32nd in giveaways and 32nd in turnover margin.
  • The Redskins have converted a pathetic 31.7 percent of their third downs this year.  What's worse is that they aren't getting any better in this department.  Over the course of the last four games, they've only converted 9 of their 41 third-down attempts (22%).  This includes a 3 for 11 effort against the Titans.
  • The Titans committed 11 penalties in Sunday's game.  The Redskins' last three opponents have combined to commit 38 penalties (13, 14 and 11).  This is only the second time since 1940 that three Redskins opponents have committed 11 or more penalties against Washington in the same season.  It should then be no surprise that this is the first time since 1940 that opponents have committed 11 or more penalties in three straight games against the Redskins.  Full game statistics are only currently available dating back to 1940, so it's a fairly safe bet that these are also franchise records (franchise founded in 1932).
  • Niles Paul and Pierre Garcon caught passes of 50 and 70 yards respectively against the Titans.  The Redskins lead the NFL in plays of over 50 yards with seven such plays.  Oh, and they also lead the league in plays of over 60 yards (4), 40 yards (10) and 30 yards (15).  Jay likes his plays explosive.  That Seinfeld reference was probably shoehorned in there, but I don't care.  

Individual Players

  • Remember how I said that the Redskins led the NFL in the number of 60, 50, 40 and 30 yard plays?  Well, there's a reason for that, and his name is DeSean Jackson.  Jackson ranks first or second among all players in each of the aforementioned categories (see links above).
  • With his 4 for 4 field goal performance in Sunday's game, Kai Forbath became the most accurate kicker in Redskins' history.  He actually ranks as one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history so far in his young career.  Sweep the leg, Kai!  No mercy!
  • Colt McCoy had the lowest aDOT, average depth per aimed throw, of any quarterback in week 7.  His passes traveled an average of only three yards in the air.  That number would rank him 55th out of 57 quarterbacks on the year.
  • After an underrated, bounce-back 2013 campaign, Tyler Polumbus has come crashing back to earth in 2014.  According to PFF, Polumbus is tied for the 23rd most hurries allowed (12), the 11th most total QB pressures allowed (20) and the most sacks allowed (8) by any offensive linemen.  To give you some perspective on how bad that is, keep in mind that this is includes every offensive linemen that has recorded a snap in 2014.  That is a list of well over 200 players.
  • Alfred Morris has not rushed for over 100 yards in the last 14 games.  He has only gone over 100 total yards once in that span (106 yards against Atlanta in Week 15 of 2013).  This year, he is averaging a career-worst 62.9 rushing yards per game, 3.8 yards per attempt and .43 touchdowns per game.  Meanwhile, Roy Helu is averaging a career-best 5.4 yards per attempt, 12.5 yards per reception and 35.6 receiving yards per game.
  • To wrap things up, I want to take a quick look at the career numbers for Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy.  There a few things that stand out to me in the table below.  It's pretty clear that Cousins is the more prolific passer in terms of accumulating yards.  However, that might be the only area that he is truly better than McCoy in.  They have nearly identical career completion percentages and Cousins' QB rating is only 1.4 higher.  McCoy has a far better interception percentage and turns the ball over much less on a per game basis.  He also has a lot more NFL experience.  He has played in and started more than double the number of games that Cousins has.  McCoy is also two years older and has been in the league for two years longer.  Colt McCoy is most likely not going to come in and save the Redskins' season, but if he can limit his turnovers better than Cousins did, then he might just prove to be an adequate two week fill-in for Robert Griffin. 
Player Games Starts Age Comp % Y/A Yards/Start TD Int Int Rate QB Rat Start Record
Kirk Cousins 14 9 26.17 58.97% 7.4 282 18 19 4.7% 77.5 2-7
Colt McCoy 29 21 28.12 58.88% 6.3 205 22 20 2.8% 76.1 6-15

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