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Raiders vs. Washington: Kirk Cousins went nuts, yet Terrelle Pryor had two catches for 19 yards. He's an early candidate for biggest bust...I'm beginning to think Jordan Reed is injury prone...Chris Thompson is on pace to finish with 1,232 receiving yards (and 21 total touchdowns).
Josh Doctson's snap rate has gone from 32 percent to 41 percent to 53 percent through three weeks.
Chris Thompson has 17.3 percent of the Washington touches, the lowest rate for all backs currently in the top-12 scorers. The other 11 average 41.3 percent of their team touches.
7. Washington Redskins
Last Week: 15
The biggest risers this week come from the nation's capital, where Washington has leveraged the outrageous play of running back Chris Thompson to put up 27 points in consecutive weeks. Thompson has only played 57 snaps during that time, but he has averaged an outrageous 4.97 yards per route run and another 10.5 yards per carry. If Washington can get Terrelle Pryor (only 1.18 yards per route run so far) going, look out.
Washington Redskins at Kansas City Chiefs
This game may appear misplaced in the low-volume section, but while both offenses can score points in a hurry, their pace is less explosive. Washington is averaging the 14th-most plays per game (64.7), roughly two snaps above league average (62.3). Their opponents, however, average the fewest plays (54), in large part due to the Redskins' ponderous pace. They rank fourth-slowest (31 seconds per snap) and don't dabble with no-huddle (2.6 percent). After leading the league in neutral-situation pass rate in Week 1 against the pass-funnel Eagles, Washington has leaned so run-heavy they've since fallen to 20th.
The uber-efficient Chiefs rank second in points-per-snap (0.55). Yet, they average the second-fewest plays per game (55.7), have taken only two no-huddle snaps in three games, and operate at an even slower seconds-per-snap pace than Washington (32.3)
Holloway: Perine has not displayed special skills as a running back. As a team, Washington is averaging 4.5 ypc—tied for 9th—but Perine is managing only 2.9 ypc. Perine has only 2 receptions thus far for 6 yards. All other Washington running backs have averaged 4.5 yards per carry or greater. Chris Thompson has rushed for 3 yards more than Perine and he has 26 fewer carries.
Hindery: It may never all come together for Pryor to really emerge as a legitimate No.1 wide receiver, which shouldn't be a surprise considering he is attempting the nearly impossible task of converting to wide receiver in the NFL at age 27. Pryor surprised defenses early last season before they had a great scouting report on him but has put up very few notable performances since then. It has been 11 weeks since Pryor has scored a touchdown (way back in Week 9 of 2016). He has topped 36 yards in just two of his last seven games, so the yardage numbers haven't been there either.
3. Kirk Cousins
Cousins got a lot of help from his receivers. His average completion was caught 4.9 yards past the line of scrimmage, fifth-lowest among starters this week. However, his average completion gained 9.7 yards after the catch, better than any other passer by 2 full yards.
Cousins' last four passing yards/touchdown totals in road games are 179/1 > 270/1 > 234/2 > 271/1. Cousins is a timing-and-rhythm passer whose slow Weeks 1-2 start can be explained away, and Kansas City's to-date allowance of the NFL's seventh-most passing yards (772) is one data point working in his favor.
Kirk Cousins: 6th career game with 350 Pass Yds & 3 Pass TD, 2 more than the next-closest QB in franchise history, HOFer Sonny Jurgensen. pic.twitter.com/KkxmnK0j4U— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 25, 2017
Kirk Cousins without pressure tonight:— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 25, 2017
158.3 Passer Rating
Updated chart showing relevant QBs and the percentage of their throws that have travelled 15 or more yards through the air this year. pic.twitter.com/VMAz1cs1Kp— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) September 26, 2017
Washington running back Chris Thompson again made the most of limited touches in Week 3 against Oakland. Thompson actually lost 0.53 expected points on his 8 carries but posted 16.34 Reception NEP, second-most of any player in Week 3. Kirk Cousins added 28.16 expected points on just 30 attempts and was 4 of 6 on deep passes (passes traveling at least 16 yards downfield) for 2 touchdowns in Week 3.
Washington: Over the last two seasons combined, Chris Thompson has avoided being tackled on first contact on 38.3 percent of his carries. That is the second-best rate for running backs in that time.
And here's one from Adam Harstad: Redskins RB Chris Thompson is averaging over 30 rushing yards and 70 receiving yards per game; that's probably not sustainable. Another unsustainable Thompson stat: among players with at least 12 receptions and 12 rush attempts, Thompson would be just the 5th player since the merger to average 8 yards per rush and 16 yards per reception.
Last week, I noted that Thompson had "a solid and predictable role," but wondered if he could sustain double-digit point production. Well, he did. Thompson dismantled the Oakland Raiders defense, racking up 188 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. His 8 rushing attempts were a big-time number for him -- in 38 career games, he's only had more than 8 carries on two occasions. He showed well on the ground (4.75 yards per attempt) but left a larger mark in the passing game, corralling 6 of his team-high 7 targets for 150 yards and a score.
Running back Chris Thompson
Thompson has been in a league of his own when it comes to generating yards after the catch this season. His 216 yards post-catch are more than any other back has receiving, and his 16.6 yards after catch per reception are 2.2 more than the next closest back. Those numbers have come on 13 total receptions -- and he has broken three tackles to get them.
Josh Doctson is a well-tuned guitar hitting all the notes of a breakout NFL wide receiver. At 6'2″ and 202 pounds, Doctson is a beautifully terrifying size-adjusted athlete, evidenced by an exceptional 135.2 (97th percentile) Burst Score and a 10.36 (96th percentile) Catch Radius on PlayerProfiler.com. Unfortunately, Doctson was the oldest rookie receiver in the 2016 NFL draft, but (much like Kenny Golladay) Doctson was a playmaker at a small school (Wyoming) at age 18 before transferring to TCU and redshirting a year per NCAA rules. At TCU, Doctson continued his high level of production, achieving a 38.6 percent (75th percentile) College Dominator Rating while posting 78 receptions, 1,326 yards, and 14 touchdowns in just 10 games as a senior.
Doctson has been snake-bitten by injuries since he entered the NFL, costing him the majority of his rookie season and precious practice time this offseason. Unable to develop trust and rapport with his teammates and coaches, Doctson was relegated to a rotational role early in the season, splitting third receiver duties with Ryan Grant. However, Doctson's snaps have increased from 32 percent (Week 1) to 41 percent (Week 2) to 52.9 percent (Week 3). When targeted, Doctson is delivering splash plays, most recently reeling in a 52-yard contested catch for a touchdown in Week 3 against the Raiders.
Right in the middle of the spotlight of Washington's early offensive disappointment is their top-two receivers in Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder. Neither player has crossed the 70-yard threshold this season and Pyror had just four targets in back-to-back games. As Rotoworld's Rich Hribar noted, the fact that Kirk Cousins offered up a near flawless output on Sunday night with Pryor and Crowder mere afterthoughts is damning to any hopes of predictable weekly production from them.
Despite their disappointing start, don't be surprised if either or both of Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder have a big game this week. The Chiefs have allowed 216 yards to receiver lined up at left wide receiver and 271 yards to slot receivers.
Terrelle Pryor targets by alignment
Left wide - 63 percent
Right wide - 37 percent
Slot - 0 percent
Jamison Crowder targets by alignment
Left wide - 17 percent
Right wide - 17 percent
Slot - 67 percent
A huge problem has been usage in the red zone. From within the opponent's 20-yard line, Pryor has just 2 targets out of a possible 12 that Washington has run. And he hasn't seen a single target (out of three, to be fair) from within the opponent's 10.
He's also not stretching the field the way we'd ideally like, either, having seen just four deep targets in three games. More than 40 wide receivers have seen more long-ball looks.
Expect both to be just fine, but Terrelle Pryor & Amari Cooper have been really #bad so far. PFF's No. 103 & 104 WRs among 109 qualifiers.— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 25, 2017
Vernon Davis, Redskins (@ KC)
Pending Jordan Reed's status, Davis may be a Sneaky Start again in Week 4. Since last season, in the five games that Reed has missed, Davis has averaged 3.8 catches for 49 yards and 0.40 touchdowns. It's not a good matchup, but Davis' production sans Reed can't be ignored.
Top TE grades through the first 3 weeks pic.twitter.com/Qy96ClCobR— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 28, 2017
Washington has allowed 250 receiving yards to opposing tight ends, the most in the league.
Just 43.6 percent of the receiving yardage posted against Washington has gone to wide receivers, the lowest rate in the league.
Smith may have a tougher time in this game than we might have imagined at the beginning of the season: The Redskins have the third-most efficient defense in the league so far this year.
4. Things that won't last...
0 -- Washington has given up zero rushes of 15-plus yards and only one rush of 12+ (face Kareem Hunt and Chiefs this week).
The Redskins defense stepped up in a major way on Sunday night pressuring Carr on 30.0 percent of his dropbacks after he had seen pressure only 14.0 percent of the time in the first two weeks.
Raiders 0/11 on 3rd down. It's the only non wk-17 game the Redskins defense skunked an offense in at least 25 yrs (unable to check pre-91).— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 25, 2017
WAS DT Matt Ioannidis bandwagon picking up steam; he beat OAK G Gabe Jackson, who'd never allowed more than 4 pressures in a game, for 5— Trey Cunningham (@PFF_TreyC) September 26, 2017
Galette started his career with the New Orleans Saints, and played a total of 2216 snaps from 2010 to 2014. The best year of his career came in 2014, where he ended the year ranked 11th of 77 edge defenders with a PFF overall grade of 84.2.
That season, Galette was formidable in the pass-rush and racked up the third most pressures (67) among the 56 4-3 defensive ends with at least 143 snaps. He ended the year ranked second among the same group with a pass-rush productivity (the PFF metric that measures pressures produced on a per snap basis with weighting towards sacks) of 12.2.
Galette signed with Washington prior to the 2015 season, but two significant Achilles tendon injuries kept him sidelined for two straight seasons. However, the time off doesn't seem to have affected his abilities. Through three games of the 2017 season, Galette has produced eight quarterback pressures from just 39 pass-rush snaps, and ranks third among 3-4 outside linebackers with a pass-rush productivity of 16.9.
Safety - Montae Nicholson, Washington Redskins
PFF Grade: 88.6
Elite Stat: Montae Nicholson didn't allow anything into his coverage this week.
Nicholson had the highlight reel interception of QB Derek Carr on a deep shot on Sunday night, but he was also in close coverage numerous other times in the game, forcing an overthrow on another deep pass, as well as forcing the ball out on a third as Michael Crabtree tried to go up to bring it in. Nicholson also notched a pressure on the blitz.
Flex D - Kendall Fuller, Washington Redskins
PFF Grade: 90.1
Elite Stat: Kendall Fuller was thrown at four times, allowing just two catches for 17 yards against the Raiders.
Thrown at four times, Fuller allowed just two catches for 17 yards and intercepted a pass against Derek Carr and the high-flying Oakland Raiders offense. He spent the majority of his time covering Seth Roberts, who was the receiver that caught the two passes he did surrender. Fuller also forced a fumble on Roberts after he caught one of the two passes.
Star corner Josh Norman lined up and shut down Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree from his seated position on the left side of the defense. The two ran 16 routes against him (11 by Cooper) and caught just one ball: the lone Crabtree catch of the game, for 7 yards. Cooper is an odd player at this point.
Rank 1: Josh Norman, Redskins
Next up: at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday.
What an outing by the Redskins' defense in the team's upset win over Oakland. The Raiders' offense was completely out of sorts, as Derek Carr's favorite targets ( Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree) had one catch apiece. Norman, who lined up 11 times against Cooper and five against Crabtree, allowed just one catch for seven yards (to Crabtree), letting his dominant performance be known after the contest. Washington's CB1 has yet to give up a touchdown this season, but will face another tough opponent in Week 4, when Washington heads to Kansas City. The focus for Norman, who's vulnerable on deep routes, will be keeping the sunroof closed on the Chiefs' Ferrari (Tyreek Hill).
Rank 3: Redskins
Players: Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland.
It's clear Breeland put the struggles of yesteryear behind him, which was necessary if he wants to be a good corner in this league. Offenses took advantage of him last year (Norman's first season in Washington), but he's holding his own in 2017. Breeland has allowed four catches on 10 targets for 48 yards, no touchdowns and a 55.4 passer rating against in 2017. It's day and night from a year ago.
When facing a Chiefs offense that features Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and other dynamic skill players, tackling is huge. There's a lot of speed, and if Norman and Breeland let receivers get behind them, it's going to be a long night.
Next up: at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday.
No safety graded higher than Terrence Brooks in Week 3 pic.twitter.com/cDYfW6Jd1C— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 29, 2017
The top cornerbacks in football from Week 3 pic.twitter.com/3aoX26ZHSD— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 28, 2017
Josh Norman allowed just 7 receiving yards tonight. It was his 4th time with Washington and 1st time in 2017 he allowed single digit yards— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 25, 2017
By this measure, Smith's adjusted career winning percentage (including his three starts this year) is 0.669, which is 0.075 higher than his actual winning percentage of 0.594. That's pretty significant, but it's not the largest disparity. That title goes to Billy Kilmer, who had a terrible record with the Saints but a very good with the Redskins. He had an actual career winning percentage of just 0.539, but weighted for games that came later, it was 0.632, an increase of 0.092.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE (OR LACK THEREOF)
Quantifying Home Field Advantage (2007-2016) pic.twitter.com/OhD4wDZnrS— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 29, 2017