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Snap Judgments: Week 15- Redskins @ Giants- DEFENSE

Looking beyond the box score to see how the Redskins utilized their defensive players in Week 15

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After the Colts game in Week 13, I used statistics and advanced metrics to show that the Redskins have the worst secondary in the NFL, but since then I have come across some statistics that are even more troubling.  Things are much worse than I, and probably most everyone else thought.  The entire passing defense is to blame, as this team is on pace to become one of the worst teams against the pass in franchise and, in some respects, NFL history.

In the table below, you'll find the following pass defense statistics and NFL rankings for the 2014 Redskins: completions allowed, completion percentage allowed, yards per pass attempt allowed, passing touchdowns allowed and interceptions.  End of season projected totals were then calculated based on the team's per game averages.  Finally, the last two rows show where those projected totals would rank in team and NFL history.  There are a few caveats that you should take note of before you dive into the contents of the table though.

First, most of the data that is available only dates back to 1940, and the NFL and the Redskins were founded in 1920 and 1932 respectively.  However, I don't think that much if any of these rankings will be affected by this, because almost all of the Redskins data is available, and because of the fact that teams did not pass nearly as much in the 20s and 30s as they do today.  There still may be a few gaps, but for simplicity's sake, and for the purposes of this article, I will just say "all-time", instead of "since 1940 and most likely all-time".*

I also need to point out that I did not have a way to sort the yards-per-attempt data, so I only calculated it for the worst 516 defenses in terms of total passing yards allowed.**  Why 516, you ask?  Well, because that is where the 2014 Redskins rank as of today.  I also feel that using 500-plus of the worst passing defenses, according to their passing yardage allowed totals, provides for a more than adequate sample size.  So without further ado, here's how the 2014 Redskins passing defense stands.

2014 Redskins Pass Defense Completions Comp % Pass Yards Y/A TD INT
Value 286 65.7% 3,330 7.7 31 5
Current NFL Rank 5th 26th 17th 29th 31st 31st
Pace Projection 327 65.7% 3,806 7.7 35.4 5.7
Projected Franchise Rank 7th Worst
Worst 5th Worst 9th Worst 2nd Worst Worst
Projected All-Time NFL Rank *
287th Worst
41st Worst
134th Worst 33rd Worst **
11th worst 9th Worst

See what I mean about the state of the passing defense being worse than everyone thought?  If they continue to perform at this abysmal pace, then the 2014 Redskins will rank in the bottom ten in franchise history for each of these categories.  They are on pace to force the fewest interceptions and allow the highest completion percentage in franchise history.

Washington is also projected to post bottom-50 NFL marks in completion percentage allowed, yards per attempt allowed, passing touchdowns allowed and interceptions.  Their touchdown and interception totals would both rank among the dozen worst in league history.

This pass defense is not just bad, it's historically bad.  The poor secondary might be the primary reason for this, but it's not the only one.  Everyone on the defense needs to take responsibility when the product that they are putting out there is this pathetic.  The defensive linemen and linebackers either cover receivers or rush the quarterback on every play too, so they need to share some of the blame.  Also, I understand that the talent just isn't there for Jim Haslett and company to work with; but again, you just simply cannot be let off the hook if you have any association with the performance of this group, and these are the people (the coaches) that are ultimately charged with the performance of the defensive units and the defense as a whole.

Maybe things will change in the final two weeks of the season, and the passing defense will narrowly avoid being ranked so poorly in the vast annals of NFL and Washington Redskins' history.  Maybe, but it will not be easy with Chip Kelly's high powered offense and the Cowboys ultra-efficient passing attack coming to FedEx Field to close out the season. Only time will tell, but I won't be holding my breath, nor should you.

61 Snaps were run against the Defense

39 Passing Snaps (64%)

22 Rushing Snaps (36%)

  • The Giants took their 61 snaps against the Redskins' defense over the course of 11 drives.  New York finished off four of those drives with scores (two field goals and two touchdowns), three of which came in the second half.  The Washington defense did cause one turnover on downs, when Ryan Clark tackled Odell Beckham short of the line to gain on a questionable fourth down sweep call.
  • Seven penalties (four accepted) were called against the defense for 70 yards.  Bashaud Breeland committed both a defensive holding and a taunting penalty on the same play; both of which could not be accepted, so the 15-yard personal foul was chosen by the Giants.  David Amerson's illegal hands to face penalty was declined in favor of an Odell Beckham touchdown and a 12-men on the field call was turned down to allow for a 21-yard Odell Beckham gain.  The Redskins basically couldn't stop Beckham even when they were cheating.
  • Breeland was responsible for all four of the accepted penalties against the defense (70 yards).  In addition to the taunting infraction, he was also twice flagged for pass interference and was called for unnecessary roughness on the game's first play.  Breeland's five total and four accepted penalties in this game were both the most by a Redskins player in 2014.  In fact, the only players on the team that have committed more than 5 total penalties in the entire year are Logan Paulsen with 7 (2 ST) and Trent Williams with 10.  Breeland's 11 total and 9 accepted penalties now lead the team.  Only eight players in the league have been flagged more than the Redskins' rookie corner.


Down # of Plays Short (1-3 yards) Med (4-6 yards) Long (7+ yards)
1st 22 0 1 21
2nd 20 0 7 13
3rd 13 3 2 8
4th 2 2 0 0
  • The defense forced a third down on a quite healthy 59% of New York's offensive sets.
  • They also did an admirable job of keeping the Giants out of second and third-and-short situations.  Only 9% of the second and third-down snaps plays of the short yardage variety.  The Giants offense had seven or more yards-to-go on 65% and 62% of their second and third down plays respectively.
  • The Giants converted on five of their fourteen combined third and fourth-down opportunities (36%).
  • That's actually quite an improvement for this Redskins defense.  Most people will talk about their poor offensive performance on third down, but they don't always look the other side of the ball.  They rank 23rd in third-down conversion rate allowed (42.5%) and 24th in combined third and fourth-down conversion rate allowed (43.6%).
  • Washington also ranks 29th in combined second and third-and-long conversion rate allowed (28.5%).  This should come as no surprise, as we've seen them allow opposing offenses to frequently convert in these situations over the past several weeks.

Defensive Snaps

Name Position Snaps Snap %
David Amerson * CB 61 100%
Ryan Clark * FS 61 100%
Will Compton * ILB 61 100%
Perry Riley * ILB 61 100%
Ryan Kerrigan * OLB 61 100%
Trent Murphy * OLB 58 95%
Bashaud Breeland * CB 49 80%
Chris Baker * DE 41 67%
E.J. Biggers CB 40 66%
Phillip Thomas * SS 38 62%
Stephen Bowen * DE 37 61%
Barry Cofield NT 36 59%
Jarvis Jenkins * DE 32 52%
Kedric Golston DE 17 28%
Frank Kearse DE 11 18%
Kenny Okoro CB 3 5%
Trenton Robinson S 3 5%
Justin Rogers CB 1 2%
Ja'Gared Davis LB 0 0%
Gabe Miller LB 0 0%
Trevardo Williams LB 0 0%
Akeem Davis S 0 0%
Jason Hatcher DE Inactive N/A
Keenan Robinson ILB Inactive N/A
Brandon Merriweahter SS Inactive N/A
  • For the second week in a row, reserve linebacker Will Compton was tied for the team lead in defensive snaps taken.
  • With the exception of Jason Hatcher, the defensive line has continued to get healthier over the past several weeks.  Chris Baker, Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield all recorded their second highest snaps totals of the season against the Giants.
  • Newly signed cornerback, Justin Rogers, recorded his first, and so far only, snap with the Redskins.  Rogers, a 2011 seventh round selection by the Bills, had played in 35 games prior to this one and has three career interceptions.
  • Starting strong safety Brandon Merriweather was inactive for the second game in a row, and in that time the team's number three and four safeties have been on the field for only a combined four snaps.  I find it a little strange that coaches wouldn't want to use this opportunity to get a closer look at Trenton Robinson (4 snaps last two weeks) and Akeem Davis (0 snaps), because Merriweather and Clark are clearly nothing more than short-term stopgaps.  Although, what's clear to us is not always so obvious to this front office.

Special Teams Snaps

Name Position Snaps Snap %
Trenton Robinson S 21 75%
Niles Paul TE 21 75%
Ja'Gared Davis LB 19 68%
Trevardo Williams LB 19 68%
Darrel Young FB 17 61%
Silas Redd RB 17 61%
Akeem Davis S 15 54%
Frank Kearse DE 14 50%
Trent Murphy OLB 13 46%
Logan Paulsen TE 12 43%
Justin Rogers CB 11 39%
Andre Roberts WR 11 39%
David Amerson CB 10 36%
Kenny Okoro CB 10 36%
Will Compton ILB 9 32%
Nick Sunberg LS 9 32%
Tress Way P 9 32%
Bashaud Breeland CB 8 29%
Kedric Golston DE 7 25%
Kai Forbath K 7 25%
E.J. Biggers CB 5 18%
Stephen Bowen DE 4 14%
Perry Riley ILB 4 14%
Gabe Miller LB 4 14%
Barry Cofield NT 4 14%
Ryan Kerrigan OLB 4 14%
Philip Thomas SS 4 14%
Chris Chester G 3 11%
Shawn Lauvao G 3 11%
Spencer Long G 3 11%
Tom Compton T 3 11%
Tyler Polumbus T 3 11%
Ryan Grant WR 3 11%
Chris Thompson RB 1 4%
Pierre Garcon WR 1 4%
  • Well, at least Trenton Robinson saw some action on special teams.  Robinson and Niles Paul led the team with 21 special teams snaps against the Giants.
  • All three of the Redskins new signees saw their fair share of special teams work on Sunday.  The aforementioned Rogers was in on 11 teams snaps, and linebackers Ja'Gared Davis and Trevardo Williams were tied for second on the team with 19 snaps.  They should all expect heavy special teams workloads going forward.

Records and Rankings

  • Just about every Redskins fan knows that Ryan Kerrigan is enjoying a career year, but most don't know why other than the fact that his 12.5 sacks are four more than his previous career high.  Let's take a look at few more of his statistics, but on a per-game and a per-pass-rush basis, and we'll see how good he's really doing and where his performance this year ranks relative to his other three seasons in the league.

Tackles/G FF/G Sacks/G Total Pressures/G Sack/Rush Press/Rush
Value 4.0 0.29 0.89 4.07 0.033 0.15
Career Rank 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st
  • As you can see this is either his best or second best season in each of the categories listed.  The only reason that this is not his best season from a pressure per-game standpoint, is that he had far more opportunities to rush the passer in 2012 (will end this year with over 100 less).  This was because Brian Orakpo went down earlier and the team held the lead far more often that year, which forced opponents into more obvious passing situations..
  • When Eli Manning (pictured here, here and here) has faced the Redskins in 2014 he has averaged 275 yards passing, a 70% completion percentage, 7.53 yards per attempt, 3.5 touchdowns and .5 interceptions.  Those numbers drop dramatically if we look at his combined performance against all of the other 2014 Giants' opponents.  They fall to 253 yards passing (-22), 62% completion percentage (-8%), 6.86 yards per attempt (-.67), 1.58 touchdowns (-1.92) and 1 interception (+.5).
  • When the Giants' Preston Parker gained 45 yards on a kick return we were reminded yet again that despite some improvements over last year's historically horrible showing, this year's iteration isn't any good either.  In the table below I've included some basic return yardage averages and rankings along with advanced metrics from Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders.

KR Yards Yards/KR Opp KR Yards Opp Yards/KR PR Yards Yards/PR Opp PR Yards Opp Yards/PR PFF Rating FO DVOA
Value 569 21.9 991 26.1 193 7.1 375 9.9 14.1 -7.0%
Rank 26th 23rd 25th 26th 25th 23rd 29th 26th 27th 27th

**Statistics derived from ESPN, NFL GSIS, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference and Team Rankings**

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