If you watched the Redskins at all this season, then you know their offensive drive was probably over if they got in a third-down situation. It was incredible to see the number of three-and-outs the Redskins offense subject themselves to per game. Although the success on first and second down has the potential to significantly impact a team’s third-down success rate in a game, third down is still the most critical down of a drive. When starting an offensive drive, the offense is only guaranteed the first down, and third downs are the least common of any of the first three downs. Because third-downs are the least common down, execution becomes critical.
Since Dwayne Haskins Jr. took over in week nine against the Buffalo Bills (seven games), the Redskins are 23-75 on third downs, or 30 percent. What stands out for third down percentages around the league is that the better offenses in the NFL are also the most efficient on third-down. The Redskins offense is 31st in yards per game this season and is also ranked 32nd in third down. Is the inefficiency due to the quarterback position? Or is this more of a collective effort that has severely crippled the Redskins offense? I take a look at Haskins’ performance on third down. Additionally, I took a look at the performance in its entirety in specific football situations to see where Haskins’ performed as a passer to see what can work best for the young quarterback moving forward.
Dwayne Haskins 3rd down success rate (5-12 yards):
Play 1: Dwayne leaves the pocket early as opposed to hanging tight, staying in the pocket one second longer would present to him Terry McLaurin, who broke open as he scrambled left. An A-gap pressure look confused Dwayne as well, which contributed to the pressure.
Play 2: Four weeks later, a similar situation. Haskins’ has a much cleaner pocket, but still did not leave it, patience rewarded him as Jeremy Sprinkle got behind the linebacker. The pocket was clean likely due to the right protection set-up, as Carolina showed Dwayne another A-gap pressure look.
Takeaways: Because the sample size is enormous and presents many different football situations, we have to narrow down the criteria for reasonable distances and game situations. I looked at every third down, between 5-12 yards, in which Haskins has to pass. For a myriad of reasons, Dwayne was unsuccessful in these situations. At times he faced pressures that forced errant throws, his receivers dropped passes, while at other times he was either inexcusably inaccurate or could not find the open man. However, there were occasions where we see growth, too, in his decision-making and timing, which led to more precise throws.
Dwayne Haskins 3rd down success rate (1st half of games):
Play 3: The redzone is big for quarterbacks and an offense, play-makers must stand out. In this instance on third-down, Haskins trust that wide receiver Steven Sims Jr. is on the same page as him, he tries to throw Sims open, but he and Haskins’ are out of sync.
Play 4: Similar situation, four weeks later. This time there is no throw available initially, so Haskins buys time to extend the play on a critical redzone third down.
Takeaways: Similar to the overall third downs, the Redskins passing game struggled with Haskins’ under center. His completion percentage was the second-lowest in this regard, and he played a part in the Redskins slow starts during his seven games at quarterback. His last two games were his best in 2019, converting 50 percent of the time against the Eagles and 60 percent against the Giants, respectively.
Dwayne Haskins 3rd down success rate (2nd half of games):
Play 5: Dwayne’s eyes were steady downfield, which is fine on most plays. However, with pressure oncoming, the check down option to Jeremy Sprinkle was available to him for a likely third-down conversion.
Play 6: Dwayne has another situation with a free rusher pressuring him. This time, Haskins finds his receiver with a quick and accurate throw.
Takeaways: Haskins’ stats as a whole are not very impressive in this category either. His best game in these situations was in his comeback attempt against the Green Bay Packers, where Washington cut the Packers lead to five points with just under 90-seconds left. The Jets game was different in that, although Haskins’ played his best in this situation, the game was entirely out of reach.
Dwayne Haskins success rate (Under 4 minutes at the end of each half):
Takeaways: This is the Redskins’ second-most effective situation with Haskins’ under center. With a team approaching the two-minute drill (if not already there), this situation with Haskins shows how efficient the offense is when the play-caller and the players are at their utmost sense of urgency. Haskins’ completed 67 percent of his passes and was sacked the least amount of times in any situation. His first three starts (Bills, Jets, and Lions) were his least productive efforts in this situation, but as you see, there was significant improvement afterward.
Dwayne Haskins success rate (1st and 4th Quarter)
Takeaways: In Washington’s most-successful situation under Haskins’, the Redskins produced the most points. Haskins threw for five touchdowns and had a 96 quarterback rating. From the charts themselves, his best games were against his last two opponents. Yes, scoring points in every quarter is a positive, but an offense being able to put up points and move the ball effectively, early in the game as well as late, is an excellent asset for any team and their defense. There will be multiple variables that can change the perspective of these numbers, for example, if we were to look at the Haskins statistical production during the beginning of each half, he would look entirely different. Additionally, play-calling by the offensive coordinator may have hindered the ability for Dwayne to be in ideal passing situations.
Nonetheless, with an average of 9 yards to go per play, Haskins is averaging nearly 7 yards per play on first - third down. That is his best average of all the situations I studied on Haskins. An urgent, aggressive, Dwayne Haskins can be a great asset to this offense.
Summary: It is essential to put everything into context when looking at the numbers alone; it is not everything. What I shared is only a glimpse into an aspect of his play. However, moving forward, it will be interesting to see how Dwayne and new offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s relationship develops and grows from a play-calling aspect and how Dwayne will process it on the field. The offensive concepts and principles became second-nature to Dwayne as the season went along, and looking at his situational stats as the weeks went along, you can see he grew as a player. I believe Haskins plays his best when the offense is aggressive and plays with urgency; in a sense, he is much more structured when the offensive pace is significantly faster. The question(s) as we head into Haskins’ second season as a Redskin’ would be, “how can the Redskins streamline Haskins’ production?” or “how can the Redskins avoid the slow starts under Haskins’ to be consistently efficient on a weekly basis?”.
See full film-session here:
What are your notes and takeaways from the analysis? What situation do you think works best for Dwayne moving forward? Comment below.