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The 5 O’Clock Club: Projecting the Redskins 2019 passing game

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The 5 o’clock club is published Wednesday to Saturday during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

On the 28th of August, I was asked, in the comments section, to ‘define’ what I expected out of the Redskins’ passing attack in 2019.

I complied with the following projections:

This was met with some incredulity. It was suggested that 4,200 yards for the season is a pipe-dream and that this assumed “best case” scenarios for everyone involved.

I defended my projections:

Having gone on record with my projections, I thought it might be interesting to look in at them from time to time throughout the season and see how they stack up to actual performance this season.

We all know that no single player is going to produce at a consistent level from game to game through the season. Indeed, the entire offense will undoubtedly experience highs and lows from week to week. Chances are that the Week 1 passing stats against the Eagles will turn out to be one of the stronger statistical performances, despite the loss (or, perhaps, because of it).

To evaluate my projections, I’d suggest that we look at the three key position groups for receptions (WR, TE, RB) and the overall passing production (QB).

If you spend a couple of minutes with an Excel spreadsheet and enter all my projections from the initial comment I have copied and pasted above, you’ll get something that looks a bit like this:

I’ve shown all the calculations for those who are interested, but the key numbers are these:

Wide Receivers
I’m projecting the Redskins wideouts to haul in 15 TDs and 2,300 yards this season.

Tight Ends
I’m projecting the Redskins tight ends to haul in 7 TDs and 1,100 yards this season.

Running Backs
I’m projecting the Redskins running backs to haul in 3 TDs and 800 yards this season.

Quarterbacks
I’m projecting the Redskins quarterbacks to throw 25 TDs and 4,200 yards this season.

To accomplish this, the team has to average 262.5 yards per game through the air, and about 3 passing TDs every two games.

How did we do against the Eagles?

Obviously, if we didn’t win the game, stats, aside from points scored, don’t really matter, but let’s see how the team compared to the targets I set for them in Week 1 anyway.

The wide receivers went for 225 yards (versus my target of 143.75 ypg), and scored 2 TDs (while my target is for them to score just under one TD per game).

Vernon Davis went for 59 yards and a TD, slightly underperforming on yards, while more than doubling the weekly TD production I projected for the position. There was one more receiver for the ‘Skins on Sunday. Jeremy Sprinkle pulled in an 8-yard pass, bringing the position total to 67 yards (versus my 69 yard target).

The running backs outperformed their 50 yards per game target by accumulating 88 air yards, and they have another 4 weeks to get the receiving TD that would keep them even with my .2 average per week. Both Guice and Thompson outperformed the individual targets I set for them.

Quarterback - By throwing for 380 yards against the Eagles, Keenum piled up 44.8% more air yards than I set as a weekly target, and his 3 touchdown passes were nearly double what he needs in order to hit my 25-TD target for the season.

With a 68.2% completion rate and no interceptions or fumbles, Case Keenum generated a 117.6 passer rating in his Week 1 debut as a Redskin. Unfortunately, it was in a losing effort.

Just an aside

I’m kinda just tossing this idea in at the last minute (actually came back and added it a day later).

I read a couple of comments this week about the Redskins being a strong run-oriented team. I wonder if that idea isn’t a bit out-of-date?

The team’s strength a season ago was the run game. We had a very conservative quarterback in Alex Smith, a limited group of wide receivers, and a resurgent Adrian Peterson.

I think people have looked at Peterson & Guice plus 5 unproven wide receivers and a journeyman quarterback and defaulted to the idea that this is a run-oriented team.

Having seen the downfield attack possibilities with McLaurin, the wide array of players on the receiving end of Keenum’s passes, and the limited production from Guice in Week 1, is it possible that this team may end up looking more like the 2015-16 Redskins, and less like the 2018 version?

Maybe the 2019 Redskins aren’t a run-oriented offense at all.

Poll

How many passing yards will the Redskins finish the 2019 season with?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    less than 3,500
    (4 votes)
  • 33%
    3,501 to 4,000
    (68 votes)
  • 43%
    4,001 to 4,400
    (89 votes)
  • 17%
    4,401 to 4,800
    (36 votes)
  • 4%
    more than 4,800
    (9 votes)
206 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How many passing touchdowns will the Redskins finish the 2019 season with?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    15 or less
    (5 votes)
  • 15%
    16 to 20
    (29 votes)
  • 44%
    21 to 25
    (85 votes)
  • 32%
    26 to 30
    (63 votes)
  • 5%
    31 or more
    (10 votes)
192 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who will be the "Most Valuable Pass Catcher" for the Redskins in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    Scary Terry McLaurin
    (173 votes)
  • 1%
    Chris Thompson
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Vernon Davis
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Paul Richardson
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Kelvin Harmon
    (0 votes)
  • 5%
    Trey Quinn
    (12 votes)
  • 0%
    Derrius Guice
    (0 votes)
  • 8%
    Jordan Reed
    (18 votes)
  • 0%
    Robert Davis
    (1 vote)
214 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will the Redskins have a 1,000 yard receiver in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Yes
    (141 votes)
  • 31%
    No
    (65 votes)
206 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Who will have more passing yards in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Case Keenum
    (187 votes)
  • 7%
    Dwayne Haskins
    (16 votes)
203 votes total Vote Now