I am glad I read the comments section from the defensive grade post earlier before I wrote this--poor Anthony. I asked him to get the first quarter grading conversation going, but it looks like we have only kicked off the "grading system" discussion! Hahaha...
I think to make it easy on everyone and to make it fun for the comments section, I am going to grade the offense in the same fashion as my political science professor graded my papers in college. In short, I was left wondering sometimes how the hell I had received the grade I did, and had little clue how to improve on it as a result.
Maybe I will be slightly more technical. After all, at the beginning of the season, "not soiling ourselves on offense" was one of my highest goals. If that was the sole metric for grading this current offensive bunch, I would be racing to hand out a big, fat 'A'. A few short months ago, here are the categories I may have employed on an offensive scorecard for this team:
Not soiling ourselves
Synchronized post-huddle clap
Cool audible calls
Edgy hand signals
Banned substance suspensions
It's exciting that we can even consider grading this group on things like:
Time of possession
3rd down conversion percentage
Rushing attack effectiveness
What a day and age we have entered into! The Redskins are currently EIGHTH in total offense (via nfl.com), racking up 383 yards per game. We are currently rated as the league's TOP rushing attack, dropping about 140 yards per game on our opponents. (I have maintained a target of 175 yards per game, but that might just be too greedy.) We are committed, logging the second-highest total of rushing attempts per game in the league, but you might also note that our rushing touchdown tally (three rushing scores) is rather middling. (Hutch, whenever I use the word "middling," I think of your wife, which I thought I would point out in front of everyone, but then I thought better of it because nobody would get it and somebody might think I was making a crude joke. So I decided to just leave it alone and move on. Just a little something I am working on in my personal life called "discretion.").
I feel like TOP calls for a new paragraph, TCO! The Redskins lead the league in TOP, currently holding the ball on offense for over 36 minutes per game. I am in love with this stat, even though I am fully aware that you can lose plenty of games holding onto the ball.
It comes as no surprise that our passing attack is squarely in the middle third of the league, but there are some passing stats that the Redskins look considerably better in--most notably that we are in the top ten in completion percentage. It would be easy to point out that without DeSean Jackson, our passing game has a hand tied behind its back. (Pointing out easy stuff is something I have excelled at over the years.)
If I were to base a grade on where I thought we would be back in the summer versus where we actually are right now, it would be hard not to throw a high 'A' out there. I just can't hand out an 'A' to this group yet though because turnovers are a problem. Our -4 turnover stat is good for the fourth-worst in the league. I am anything but a hard grader, but to be an 'A' offense, you can't be this low in the turnover department.
In an attempt to provide even greater clarity to my thought process before I put out a grade, I will add the following color: red.
Just kidding. I love what our offensive line is doing. Bill Callahan could easily be the single biggest addition to this franchise in 2015, as we have seen crazy improvement from guys like Morgan Moses and even--yes, I am going here...Spencer Long. (God, that felt good.) We have a strategy and we stick to it. We execute it. Pierre Garcon is all of a sudden a relevant member of our offense again. Also, and I can't stress this enough--WE ARE FOURTH IN THE LEAGUE IN 3RD DOWN CONVERSION PERCENTAGE!! Holy crap, is that big! In case you were worried about sample size, we are second in total 3rd down attempts, and second in total 3rd down conversions made.
I am giving this group a B-, but I think this is a HUGE story. We have failed to show up for two or three quarters this season already on offense, and the turnovers are too much of a problem for me to not add the minus. I hope I don't come off as too grumpy or too hard of a grader, because I am actually pretty pleased with our offense.
But the post-huddle clap could be way more synchronized.