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Snap Judgments: Week 14- Rams @ Redskins- OFFENSE

Looking beyond the box score to see how the Redskins utilized their offensive players in Week 14

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In yesterday's edition of Snap Judgments, I pointed out that the Redskins' winning percentage of .207 since the start of the 2013 season ranks second to last among all of the 122 professional sports teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.  I also discussed how they had less hope than the 5 other cellar-dwelling teams that reside in the bottom 10th percentile of the list.  Today I decided to take it step further and see how this current run compares to other periods in Redskins history; after all, we are only talking about two years here and the Redskins are older than 78% of the other 121 aforementioned franchises.  It's always good to have a little historical context, right?  Well, maybe not so much in this case as it turns out.

We're looking at a period of time stretching from beginning of the 2013 NFL season to the present, and in that time frame the Washington Redskins have played 29 games (6-23).  The Redskins have played in 1,151 games since their inception in 1932 as the Boston Braves and there have been 1,123 spans of 29 games played by the team.  Washington's .207 winning percentage in the current 29-game span is tied for the 15th worst winning percentage in a 29-game span in franchise history.  Two of the 14 worse spans are found between the 1993 (4-12) and 1994 (3-13) seasons when Richie Petitbon and then Norv Turner were hired to coach the team following Joe Gibbs' retirement at the end of the '92 season.  The other 12 spans stretched from the end of the '59 season to the start of the '62 campaign.

If we exclude the first 8 games of 2013, when the Redskins went 3-5, then things look even bleaker.  The resulting now 21-game span produces a winning percentage of just .143 (3-18), which is tied for the 13th worst such span in team history.  All 12 of the spans with lower winning percentages lie in the period between 1959 and 1962 that was mentioned in the preceding paragraph.  The simple explanation for that stretch of sustained futility was that the Redskins' owner at the time, George Preston Marshall, did not allow the team to roster any African-American players.  Every other team had desegregated almost ten years before the Redskins finally did in, you guessed it, 1962, when their record-long run of losing finally ended.

At least those Redskins teams had a legitimate excuse for producing such poor on-the-field results; what's the reason for the team being so miserable now?  I think we all know what, or rather who, the answer to that is; but it's still sad to think that we have to compare this era to that one in order to find similarly awful results.  Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that when it comes to winning and losing, this is the one of the worst times ever to be a Washington Redskins fan.

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

The Offense ran 56 snaps

  • 44 Passing Snaps (79%) and 12 Rushing Snaps (21%)
  • The Redskins set new season-low in rushing snap percentage for the second week in a row.  The passing rate of 79% was the team's highest of the year.
  • This game marked yet another instance in which Jay Gruden strayed from the running game.  He called four Alfred Morris runs on the game's first drive and only seven total rushes thereafter, four more of which went to Morris.  Passing was yet again the order of the day, as the Redskins passed on 68% of their first-half plays (17 of 25) and only rushed the ball on 8 first-half snaps.  They never trailed by more than six points in the opening half.  In the second half, the offense passed on 87% of the snaps and rushed on 13% of them.  I understand that the running game was doing more harm than good from a purely production standpoint in this game, but when 36% of your designed rushing calls come on the first drive of the game I think there's a problem.
  • The game was tied during Washington's first 14 offensive snaps (25%).  They trailed for their remaining 42 snaps (75%) with the ball.  This marks the sixth time this season, and the third time in the last four weeks, that the offense has not recorded a single snap while the Redskins were leading the game.
  • The offense took the field for 10 drives against the St. Louis Rams, the team's fewest number of offensive drives in 2014.  Two of them ended with Colt McCoy interceptions and another two resulted in a turnover on downs.  Washington also went three-and-out on four drives.  The 40% three-and-out percentage is the second highest such rate on the year.
  • According the ESPN play-by-play data, the Redskins utilized the no-huddle offense on seven snaps (13%), their most since Week 11.  Last week Gruden mentioned that the team lacked a sense of urgency; perhaps, the the hurry-up offense was used to remedy that issue.
  • Washington's offense was to blame for three of the team's five accepted penalties (20 yards).  Niles Paul was flagged for a false start, Kory Lichtensteiger's ineligible downfield infraction cost the Redskins a long gain on a Roy Helu screen and Trent Williams' third-quarter holding penalty put the offense in yet another long down-and-distance situation.  St. Louis declined a second holding penalty against Williams.  Trent Williams' 10 overall penalties in 2014 are the most that he's had in a single season, and we still have three more games to go.

Team Snap Data

Quarter Number of Snaps (%)
1st 14 (25%)
2nd 11 (20%)
3rd 11 (20%)
4th 20 (36%)
Down Number of Snaps (%)
1st 23 (41%)
2nd 18 (32%)
3rd 13 (23%)
4th 2 (4%)
Field Position Number of Snaps (%)
Redskins Side 43 (77%)
Enemy Side 13 (23%)
At or Inside Own 20 18 (32%)
Red Zone 1 (2%)
Goal-to-Go 0 (0%)
Formation Number of Snaps (%)
Under Center 6 (11%)
Total Shotgun 50 (89%)
Standard Shotgun 39 (70%)
Pistol 11 (20%)
Play Type Number of Snaps (%)
Regular Pass 38 (68%)
Regular Hand-off 7 (13%)
Screen 4 (7%)
HB Pitch/Toss 2 (4%)
Play Action 2 (4%)
HB Draw 1 (2%)
QB Scramble 1 (2%)
Zone-Read Run 1 (2%)
  • The Redskins took just one red-zone snap in this game - at the St. Louis 20-yard line too, mind you.  That is unsurprisingly yet another season-low.  They also failed to record a goal-to-go snap for only the second time.
  • The six snaps (11%) taken from under-center were by far the fewest in a game by Redskins' QBs this year.  Gruden, instead, opted to go with shotgun looks on season-high 89% of the snaps.
  • The Washington offense used play-action on two snaps (4%) in Sunday's game, the fewest by the team in 2014.  I guess they decided that it didn't make much sense to use the PA-pass when the running game was non-existent and when they needed to get the ball out as quickly as possible in order to protect the quarterbacks from the Rams' dangerous front four.
  • The HB pitch, or toss, to Alfred Morris has been a staple of the offense in recent weeks, but in this game it was only used twice.

Personnel Groupings

Personnel Number of Snaps (%)
11 (1 RB/1 TE/3 WR) 43 (77%)
12 (1 RB/2 TE/2 WR) 7 (13%)
13 (1 RB/3 TE/1 WR) 3 (5%)
21 (2 RB/1 TE/ 2 WR) 3 (5%)
  • Washington used the 21 personnel a season-low 3 times (5%) in Sunday's game versus the Rams.
  • They also did not use the 22 grouping for the third time this year.  Only six snaps were taken from what I would call "heavy" personnel groupings (the 13, 21, 22 and 23), the second lowest total on the year.  A season-low three snaps utilized two-running back looks.  You can call Darrel Young "Patrick Swayze", because he was ghost in this game.
  • The 77% usage of the 11 personnel was the second highest rate of the season.

Individual Player Snaps

Name (* - denotes starter) Position Snaps Snap %
Trent Williams * LT 56 100%
Shawn Lauvao * LG 56 100%
Kory Lichtensteiger * C 56 100%
Chris Chester * RG 56 100%
Tom Compton * RT 56 100%
Colt McCoy * QB 51 91%
Jordan Reed * TE 47 84%
Andre Roberts * WR 45 80%
Pierre Garcon * WR 44 79%
Santana Moss WR 43 77%
Alfred Morris * RB 29 52%
Ryan Grant WR 20 36%
Niles Paul * TE 19 34%
Roy Helu RB 16 29%
Silas Redd RB 11 20%
Robert Griffin QB 5 9%
Logan Paulsen TE 3 5%
Darrel Young FB 3 5%
Spencer Long G 0 0
Morgan Moses T 0 0
Leonard Hankerson WR 0 0
Josh LeRibeus G Inactive N/A
Tyler Polumbus T Inactive N/A
Kirk Cousins QB Inactive N/A
DeSean Jackson WR Inactive N/A
  • Pierre Garcon finally got off the schneid by catching 9 of his 11 targets for 95 yards.  That's all the more impressive when you consider that he did this on a season-low 44 snaps.
  • Both Darrel Young and Logan Paulsen recorded three snaps (5%) in the game, season-lows for both players.  As I mentioned in the comments section of a few previous articles, when the 2014 Redskins are trailing they pass and when they pass Darrel Young and Logan Paulsen sit on the bench.  I certainly don't agree with this strategy, but unfortunately that's just the way it is.
  • With DeSean Jackson out, Andre Roberts moved to the outside and left his slot duties to Santana Moss.  Roberts was split out wide on a season-most 84% of his snaps (38 snaps), and Moss took 86% of his snaps from the slot.  Moss' 43 snaps against the Rams were his most this season.  In the last two weeks, he has supplanted Ryan Grant for the number four receiver job by out-snapping him 70 to 34.  Not bad for a 35.5-year-old veteran.
  • A few weeks ago I was calling for Jordan Reed to get more snaps, and over the course of the past two games that wish has come true.  Reed has put up his two highest snap totals of the year in those two games (50 and 47 snaps).  However, the additional snaps have allowed me to get an extended look at his blocking; an area of his game where his performance has been extremely poor by most accounts.  After watching those 97 snaps multiple times, I can now certainly attest to that belief.  Reed simply does not sustain blocks, but rather just pushes his man for a few second at most and then completely disengages from him.  It appears that he has no desire at all to block and only exerts the smallest modicum of effort when he does just so that he won't be chided too harshly by his coaches during film sessions.  The coaches seemed to have come to terms with the fact that Reed cannot be counted on in this department, as he took a season-high 27 combined snaps from the slot and split out wide (57%).

Records and Rankings

Individual Players

  • This was easily the worst game of Alfred Morris' career.  In a Trent Richardson-esque performance, Morris did not score and his 8 rushing attempts, 6 rushing yards, 17 total yards and 0.75 yards per attempt were all career-lows.  The difference between those numbers and his previous career-lows for each of the respective categories are as follows: 3 attempts (previous low of 11),  20 rushing yards (26), 10 total yards (27) and 1.48 yards per attempt (2.23).  He also allowed a sack for the second week in a row. 
  • It's becoming painfully obvious that Morris is not the same back when Robert Griffin isn't in the game.  In games that Griffin starts, Morris averages 92 yards rushing, 4.9 yards per attempt and .67 touchdowns.  When Griffin does not start those averages fall to 62 yards rushing (-33%), 3.6 yards per attempt (-26%) and .42 touchdowns (-37%).
  • Garcon's 95 receiving yards against the Rams eclipsed the combined total of his six lowest yardage outputs in the 2014 season (6, 9, 12, 15, 23 and 28 yards).  Those six games represented half of the 2014 games that Garcon had played in prior to Sunday.  His production has been particularly poor of late, so much so that his 34 yards on the offense's opening drive were more than he put up against the Colts, Buccaneers and Vikings combined.  As I discussed in a previous installment of Snap Judgments, Garcon needs volume to be productive, and with DeSean Jackson out, that is exactly what he got on Sunday.
  • In the last two weeks, Santana Moss has caught 6 balls for 73 yards.  That is one fewer reception and six more yards than Ryan Grant, Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson have combined to produce in the entire 2014 season.  Yes, that includes Ryan Grant.  In fact, quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions (2) than they have completed passes (1) when targeting Grant since Week 3.  I actually like Grant as a potential future slot/ third receiver, but he's probably not one of the 15 best wide receivers from the 2014 class.


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