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Snap Judgments: Week 15- Redskins @ Giants- OFFENSE

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

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In Tuesday's edition of Snap Judgments, I discussed how the 2014 Redskins' defense was on pace to set a number of franchise records, and I'm not talking about the good kind of records.  I wish I could say that things were different for the offense, but sadly that is far from the truth.

Over the past six games Jay Gruden's biggest problem has been the number of sacks that his quarterbacks are taking.  Washington QBs have been sacked five or more times in each of those games, which is tied for the second longest such streak on record in NFL history.  So, we know it's not going to be pretty, but let's take a look at some of the overall sack statistics and metrics for this team along with the projected full-season totals.  We'll also see where the projected end-of-season totals would rank in franchise history.  When viewing the following tables please keep in mind that team and individual player sack data are only available dating back to the 1950s and late 1960s respectively.

2014 Redskins Sacks
Sacks Sack/G Sack % Sack Yards Sk Yards/G
Current Value 53 3.79 9.89% 372 26.57
2014 NFL Rank 31st 31st 30th 31st 31st
Season Pace Projection 60.58 3.79 9.89% 425.14 26.57
Projected Franchise Rank 2nd Worst 2nd Worst 8th Worst 2nd Worst 8th Worst

Wow.  So, to recap, the 2014 Washington Redskins are the second worst team in the league in terms of being sacked behind only the Jacksonville Jaguars, and if they keep up this pace they will finish eighth or second worst in every major sack category in franchise history.  I should also add that those projected marks would put them just .42 sacks, .02 sacks per game and 2.86 sack yards away from setting the all-time record in each category.  It would also place them 51st in sacks allowed and 93rd in sack yards lost in NFL history.

There's another problem though.  Those projections are based on the team's season long sack pace and not the pace at which they have been operating at in their last six games.  In those games they have been sacked 36 times (6 sacks/game) for 246 yards lost (41 yards/game).  Let's recalculate based on this new pace.

2014 Redskins Sacks Sacks Sack/G Sack % Sack Yards Sk Yards/G
Current Value 53 3.79 9.89% 372 26.57
Week 9-15 Pace Projection 65 4.06 10.59% 454 28.38
Projected Franchise Rank Worst Worst 8th Worst Worst 4th Worst

Well, that certainly had an effect.  According to these new projections, the 2014 Redskins will basically become the franchise kings of pass protection futility.  Their all-time league rankings in sacks allowed and yards lost due to sacks would jump to 20th and 55th respectively.  Why is this happening though?  What changed in Week 9?  Oh yeah, that was when Robert Griffin returned from his ankle injury.  But is Griffin really that much worse than Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins?

Redskins QB Sacks 2014 Sacks 2014 Sack Yards 14 Sack/G 14 Sack % Career Sacks/G Career Sack %
Robert Griffin 28 185 4 15.7% 2.74 8.8%
Colt McCoy 17 117 3.4 11.7% 2.30 8.4%
Kirk Cousins 8 70 1.3 3.8% 1.14 3.8%

If the Redskins' QB competition was based on who takes the most sacks, then Robert Griffin would have the job in a landslide.  He is far and away the worst of this trio when it comes to avoiding the QB sack.  The offensive line and Trent William's injuries certainly are playing a big part in the team's astronomical sack totals this year; but when you look at the numbers in the table above and you connect the dots between them and the fact that the pace at which the team was getting sacked exploded exactly when Griffin returned, then I think it's hard to argue that Griffin is most likely the main reason behind this whole issue.

I mean, we've all seen it with our own eyes.  He looks straight at wide-open receivers, and in the face of pressure he just chooses not to throw it to them.  He's simply not getting rid of the ball quickly enough.

I decided to check one more thing to see if his sack avoidance issue was indeed as out of control as it initially appeared to be.  I looked at the 100 worst seasons in terms of sacks taken by individual quarterbacks and calculated those player's sacks per game, sack yards per game and sack percentage.  Using these efficiency metrics, we can see how Griffin's 2014 season compares to some of worst sack seasons in league history.  We need to look at things from an efficiency standpoint because Griffin will likely only end up playing in more than 11% of the snaps in seven of Washington's games this year.  That is also a reason for you to put more emphasis on his sack percentage than his sack and sack yards lost per game averages.  So here it is, this is how Griffin's 2014 ranks amongst the 100 worst individual sack seasons in NFL history.

Against 100 Worst Seasons Sacks/G Yards/G Sack %
Griffin 2014 Averages 4 26.43 15.7%
Griffin's 2014 Season Rank 9th Most 21st Most 3rd Highest

At these rates, Robert Griffin would have been sacked approximately 64 times for 423 sacks yards lost if he had played in all 16 games.  Those numbers would have ranked 4th and 12th most/worst of all-time.  Maybe it's a good thing that Griffin missed half of the season, at least for his own sake.

***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 70 snaps

  • 42 Passing Snaps (60%) and 28 Rushing Snaps (40%)
  • The Redskins had not rushed on more than 28% of their snaps since Week 12.  However, this number is somewhat deceiving as six of their rushes (21%) against the Giants came in the form of quarterback scrambles.
  • The game was tied during 25 of the offense's snaps (36%).  Washington led the game across 17 snaps (24%) and trailed New York on the remaining 28 offensive snaps (40%).  Since their Week 10 bye, the Redskins had only held the lead over their opponents on a combined three snaps prior Sunday's game.
  • The Washington offense was on the field for 12 drives on Sunday.  They scored on 3 drives (FG, TD, FG) and turned the ball over on a Robert Griffin fumble at the end of the first half.  The 12th and final drive of the game only lasted one play.  The offense also went three-and-out on 3 drives (25%).  The three-and-out drives occurred consecutively between the third and fourth quarter.
  • The offense stayed fairly consistent throughout the game.  They passed on 60% and ran on 40% of the snaps in the first half, and passed on 61% and ran on 39% of the snaps in the second half.  The second-half numbers were, however, heavily affected by the aforementioned QB scrambles.  Five of the six scrambles came in the second half.
  • Only three of the team's 13 penalties (35 yards) were called against the offense.  That is tied for the second fewest number of offensive penalties called against the Redskins this season (zero against Seattle).  Santana Moss drew both of the flags during an argument with the referees over the team's overturned touchdown at the end of first half.  Moss was ejected when the second flag was thrown.  Robert Griffin was also flagged for a delay of game penalty in the fourth quarter.

Team Snap Data

Quarter Number of Snaps (%)
1st 15 (21%)
2nd 27 (39%)
3rd 16 (23%)
4th 12 (17%)
Down Number of Snaps (%)
1st 32 (46%)
2nd 23 (33%)
3rd 14 (20%)
4th 1 (1%)
Field Position Number of Snaps (%)
Redskins Side 41 (59%)
Giants Side 28 (40%)
Midfield 1 (1%)
At or Inside Own 20 13 (19%)
Red Zone 7 (10%)
Goal-to-Go 14 (20%)
Formation Number of Snaps (%)
Under Center 33 (47%)
Total Shotgun 37 (53%)
Shotgun 34 (49%)
Pistol 3 (4%)
Play Type Number of Snaps (%)
Regular Pass 25 (36%)
Regular Hand-off 15 (21%)
Play-Action Pass 11 (16%)
QB Scramble 6 (9%)
Screen 5 (7%)
Zone-Read Run 4 (6%)
HB Draw 1 (1%)
QB Draw 1 (1%)
Reverse 1 (1%)
Zone-Read PA 1 (1%)
HB Pitch/Toss 0 (0%)
  • The offense took a season-high seven snaps in goal-to-go situations and a total of 14 snaps in the red zone.  They did not make the most of these opportunities, as the team only put 13 points in their four visits to the red area.  Unfortunately, this is not a new development.  The Redskins rank 21st in red zone TD scoring percentage (50%).  They would probably be better in this department if they had bigger receivers.
  • When you factor in all of the regular play-action passes, the single zone-read play-action pass and the scrambles that started out with play-action fakes (not double counted in the table), the Redskins used some form of play-action on 15 snaps (21%).  This is the most that they have used PA so far in 2014.
  • Washington took 47% of its snaps from under center, their second highest rate this year.  This directly ties in with the team running the ball and utilizing more play-action.
  • Gruden did not call a HB-pitch play in this game.  That is quite a reversal for him, as the team was averaging seven of them per game in the last four weeks.

Personnel Groupings

Personnel Number of Snaps (%)
01 (0 RB/1 TE/4 WR) 1 (1%)
11 (1 RB/1 TE/3 WR) 37 (53%)
12 (1 RB/2 TE/2 WR) 16 (23%)
21 (2 RB/1 TE/2 WR) 15 (21%)
22 (2 RB/2 TE/1 WR) 1 (1%)
  • The Redskins used the 01 personnel (four receivers and one tight end) for the first time since Week 3 against the Eagles.
  • The 15 snaps from the 21 grouping tied a season-high that was set in Week 2 against the Jaguars.
  • Washington's only touchdown was scored from - you guessed it - the 11 personnel.  Approximately 60% of the team's touchdowns have come courtesy of the 11 this season.

Individual Player Snaps

Name (* -denotes starter) Position Snaps Snap %
Shawn Lauvao * LG 70 100%
Kory Lichtensteiger * C 70 100%
Chris Chester * RG 70 100%
Tom Compton * RT 70 100%
Pierre Garcon * WR 69 99%
DeSean Jackson * WR 59 84%
Robert Griffin III QB 58 83%
Trent Williams * LT 55 79%
Andre Roberts WR 43 61%
Jordan Reed TE 33 47%
Alfred Morris * HB 32 46%
Logan Paulsen * TE 31 44%
Niles Paul * TE 23 33%
Darrel Young FB 20 29%
Chris Thompson HB 20 29%
Tyler Polumbus RT 15 21%
Silas Redd HB 13 19%
Colt McCoy * QB 12 17%
Ryan Grant WR 5 7%
Santana Moss WR 2 3%
Spencer Long G 0 0%
Josh LeRibeus G Inactive N/A
Kirk Cousins QB Inactive N/A
Roy Helu HB Inactive N/A
Leonard Hankerson WR Inactive N/A
  • Pierre Garcon only missed one play against the Giants and was in on a season-most 99% of the team's snaps.  Garcon took 13 of his 69 snaps from the slot, which was also a season-high.
  • Silas Redd and Chris Thompson filled in for the injured Roy Helu in this one.  Redd set a new season-high with 13 offensive snaps, and Thompson burst onto the scene with 20 snaps and a receiving touchdown.  All 13 of Redd's snaps came in the first half, while 55% of Thompson's action (11 snaps) came in the fourth quarter.
  • Thompson, Redd and Darrel Young handled Helu's passing and third down work, as only 41% of Alfred Morris' snaps came on passing plays and he did not record a single third-down snap for the first time this season.  And yes, you read that correctly, Darrel Young was used as the lead half back - not the fullback - on four 3rd-down passing plays.
  • Young made quite the comeback in this game.  Not only did he did get receiving work, but he carried the ball for a first down and followed up his season-low three snaps last week with 20 in this game, which is his second highest total of the year.  Tight end Logan Paulsen was also on the comeback trail, as he followed up his season-low total of three snaps with 31 on Sunday.  That's over a 1,000% increase in snaps!
  • Paulsen's gain was Jordan Reed's loss, as he took almost all of Reed's usual 12 personnel work.  It seems that the coaches have really picked up on Reed's disinterest in all things blocking, because 82% of his snaps came on passing plays and he ran a route on almost everyone of them.  He was asked to line up in the slot or out wide on season-most 73% of his snaps.  That way he wouldn't even have to think about blocking anyone, just the way he likes it.

Records and Rankings

  • In the third quarter of Sunday's game, Andre Roberts turned a short Griffin pass into a 60-yard gain.  Despite some recent offensive struggles, the Redskins still rank very highly in the big-play department.  They rank first with 16 plays or 40 or more yards, second with nine plays of 50 or more yards and third with five plays of 60 or more yards
  • Take a look at these two receiving lines.  The first is: 35 receptions, 291 yards, 8.3 yards per reception and zero touchdowns.  The second is: 11 receptions, 129 yards, 11.7 yards per reception and one touchdown.  The first line is Alfred Morris' career receiving numbers, and the second is what Silas Redd and Chris Thompson have combined to produce on just 67 offensive snaps this year.  If Helu is allowed to walk in free agency, then we may be seeing a lot more of Redd and Thompson in passing situations next year.    
  • When Robert Griffin actually attempted a pass he surprisingly got it away rather quickly; well, at least by his standards.  Griffin's average time of 2.49 seconds to attempt a pass was his lowest time in a start this year.  Unfortunately, his best is only slightly above average, as his time came in as the 13th fastest out of 32 qualifiers this week.  The league average for the week was 2.57 seconds.  This is still quite an improvement on Griffin's season average of 2.74 seconds.
  • Griffin even almost scored his first rushing touchdown in two years (Week 17 of the 2012 season), but the replay official instead ruled that Griffin fumbled out of the end zone for a touchback.  This made me think about how long it's been since he's scored this way and how often he was able to early in his rookie season.  Six of Griffin's seven career rushing touchdowns came in his first six games (1 TD per game).  He went on to then score just one touchdown in his next 29 games (.03 TD per game).  That means that he scored 86% of his rushing touchdowns in those first 6 games (17% of his career games), and that he scored the other 14% them of in 83% of his games.  That seems pretty backwards. 
  • This brings another six game span to mind.  Six of Griffin's 13 career wins came in the final seven games of the 2012 season (six of which he played in).  This means that 46% of his career wins came in less than a month-and-a-half's time (17% of his career games).  That sure was a great month-and-a-half, but he's been here for three years now and we'd like to see some more winning.

CORRECTION (Dec. 18, 11:48 a.m.): The initial version of this article incorrectly stated that Silas Redd and Chris Thompson's combined receiving line was 14 receptions, 191 yards, 13.6 yards per reception and one touchdown.  Their actual line is 11 receptions, 129 yards, 11.7 yards per reception and one touchdown.  The correction has been made.