The preseason is finally over, and we only have to suffer through one more Sunday without NFL Football this year. The Redskins wrapped things up with a 17-16 loss against the Jaguars en route to their fifth consecutive winning record in August and early September. We all know that wins and losses mean nothing this time of year, but perhaps we can find some meaning in the team's overall statistics and rankings.
|3rd Down %||2nd||9th|
|Pass 1st Downs||3rd||3rd|
|Pass 1st Down %||2nd||9th|
|Rush 1st Downs||2nd||1st|
|Rush 1st Down %||14th||1st|
- I absolutely do not expect to see the Redskins in the top ten in almost every major team offensive and defensive category come the regular season, but it's kind of nice to look at for now.
- The fact that the team did so well with penalties, sacks and third downs is encouraging to see after they were among the worst in league in each category last year. That's actually putting it lightly, because they hit all-time franchise lows in each of these areas.
- Washington dominated the running game on both sides of the ball this preseason, as they ranked in the top ten in nearly every important rushing category on both offense and defense. Perhaps the most telling and encouraging ranking of all is that the team was ranked first in rushing attempts (36.2 attempts per game) and 21st in passing attempts. This is a passing league and being better through the air is the best way to win in the NFL today; but unfortunately, that is just not a formula that is going to work for the 2015 Washington Redskins. They need to follow a game plan that is much closer to this than what we saw from Gruden and McVay last year. Listen to Bill Callahan, you two.
- It's also interesting to note that the defense saw the least amount of rushing attempts in the NFL from their opponents. That is likely for two reasons, one of which is good and one of which is bad. The first reason is that McCloughan's newly constructed front seven seems to have the ability to form a wall that can stop running games dead in their tracks. And because of that teams may just be giving up on the idea of running on this defense all together, instead choosing to focus their attack on some of the team's lesser players in the secondary.
- If there is any issue that these numbers can help us to detect, it is that one of the weakest spots on the team may very well be its pass defense. And go figure, because almost half of the players remain from a 2014 secondary that allowed a historic 35 passing touchdowns, tenth most in the history of the league. The group has not looked quite that bad in the preseason, but passing defense is one of the only areas where the team ranks in the bottom half of the league in multiple categories.
- Using the running game to cover up a potentially porous pass defense in a 2014 cowboys-esque fashion would seem to be the best course of action to take here; but it's pretty clear that the Redskins don't quite yet have the offensive personnel to pull such a strategy off. The only way for Washington to be successful may be for both the front seven and the running game to find a way to play at or above their talent level and to do so consistently throughout the course of the season. That and a little luck on the injury front might be enough; this team must be due for some in that department, right?
Offensive Snaps and Takeaways:
- Only 18 offensive and 42 total Washington players saw the field against the Jaguars on Thursday.
- Colt McCoy took all 75 offensive snaps from under center and led the team in snaps. He was followed closely by the only three Redskins receivers that played on offense in this game: Rashad Ross (73 snaps), Colin Lockett (69 snaps) and Reggie Bell (60 snaps).
- McCoy finished the exhibition season ranked third in passing touchdowns (4) and fourth in passing first downs (26). The new Redskins number two quarterback also completed over 70 percent of his passes and placed 13th in QB rating and 14th in first down percentage (minimum of 10 attempts).
- Spencer Long led the team in total offensive snaps this preseason (170 snaps) and tied for the lead in total overall snaps - 182 snaps between offense and special teams. Fellow backup offensive linemen Arie Koundijo (167), Ty Nsekhe (158) and Tom Compton (157) finished right behind him in second, fourth and fifth respectively in offensive snaps. Colt McCoy (155), Rashad Ross (162), Chris Thompson (91) and Je'Ron Hamm (98) each saw the most snaps at their positions.
- Speaking of Spencer Long, it's too bad for him that getting a lot of playing time doesn't necessarily mean that you're playing well. Long is tied for the team lead in total quarterback pressures allowed and was given the lowest PFF grade on the entire team (-7.7). That same PFF rating has him ranked 134th out of 146 offensive guards this preseason.
- Ty Nsekhe is on the opposite end of that spectrum. He boasts the highest PFF grade among all Redskins offensive players and the second highest among all offensive tackles in the NFL. Nsekhe only allowed one QB pressure on 70 passing snaps through four games.
- The other top performer on offense is obvious: Rashad Ross. I'm sure you've heard by now that Ross is ranked first in preseason receptions (25), receiving yards (266) and receiving touchdowns (4).
- I'll go ahead and share some numbers on him that you probably haven't heard yet. Ross had eight more receptions and 23 more receiving yards than the players that ranked second in receptions and yards. He was also one of only three players with at least three touchdown receptions. He led the league in receiving first downs (13) and was given the second highest grade at his position by PFF. Ross had the highest yards per route run average among receivers that went out on more than 71 passing routes. Quarterbacks had a higher passer rating when targeting him than they did with any other receiver that saw more than 15 targets.
Defensive Snaps and Takeaways:
- Terrance Plummer played on every defensive snap against the Jaguars (45 snaps). Plummer was on the field for 117 defensive snaps through four exhibition contests, the second most on the team.
- Only fellow rookie linebacker Matrell Spaight (136 snaps) saw more playing time on defense this preseason. The other defenders that made it onto the field more than 100 times were: Trenton Robinson (113), Preston Smith (105) and Houston Bates (103).
- The Redskins surprisingly played what I would consider to be four of their starters in this game. Hall will open games up opposite of Chris Culliver and Bashaud Breeland will man the slot, while Trent Murphy and Preston Smith will likely see something close to a 50/50 split at ROLB. Murphy and Smith played the first two series and Hall was in for the entire first quarter. Breeland played almost the entire game and got the most playing time among the active cornerbacks. I understand that these guys needed the work and that they couldn't rest everybody; but it would've been absolutely brutal if any of these players had been lost for any amount of time due to an injury sustained in such a meaningless game.
- In his first game back from injury, Bashaud Breeland was back doing his thing in the slot. Justin Rogers, Kyshoen Jarrett and the recently released Bryan McCann filled in for him over the last three weeks, but it was all Breeland on Thursday. His 12 snaps in slot coverage were twice that of Jarrett's two and Roger's four such snaps combined.
- Per PFF, David Amerson and Bashaud Breeland are the only two corners currently on the roster that allowed a touchdown this preseason. Amerson allowed a team-most 99 receiving yards on four receptions, while Breeland allowed all five of the times that he was targeted to be converted into receptions for a total of 62 yards. Chris Culliver and DeAngelo Hall played like the starters they are, by only allowing nine and 28 receiving yards respectively. Special Teams favorite Deshazor Everett gave up 72 yards on seven catches.
- Everett's biggest play on special teams was a forced fumble against the Ravens that led to a field goal. Chris Baker and Jackson Jeffcoat caused the opposition to fumble the rock as well. Jeffcoat was also one of three players to record an interception. He was joined by rookie Kyshoen Jarrett and the just released Akeem Davis.
- Jackson Jeffcoat was to the defense this preseason, what Rashad Ross was to the offense. Not only did he pick off a pass and force a fumble, but he led the team and the league with four sacks. Jeffcoat is one of only ten players to notch four or more sacks in the preseason since 2011. He finished the preseason with by far the highest PFF grade on the team and the third best such mark among all 3-4 outside linebackers. Jeffcoat is a superb athlete, and with Junior Galette out for the season, he should have ample opportunity to put that talent to use.
Special Teams Snaps and Takeaways:
- Deshazor Everett set the pace for the Redskins on special teams with 18 snaps. His 43 total preseason special teams snaps are the fourth most on the team behind only Matrell Spaight's 46 snaps, Houston Bates' 46 and Kyshoen Jarrett's 44. Everett's three solo special teams tackles are tied for the most on the team. He also assisted on tackle and forced a fumble for Ben Kotwica's unit.
- Everett is tied with Trenton Robinson, who also tallied three solo special teams tackles and one assist. Robinson was, however, credited with a team-high two missed tackles as a part of this group.
- Matrell Spaight's 182 combined special teams and defensive snaps ties him with Spencer Long for the most total overall snaps on the team.
- Kai Forbath went 4-for-5 on field goals this August and September by hitting from distances of 33, 52, 44 and 25, while missing from 56 yards out against Jacksonville. I think we all know by now that booting long field goals on a consistent basis is not Forbath's game. He was 7-for-7 on this year's new 32-yard extra point.