Sunday, October 12, 2014

Griffin vs. Cousins: Downfield throws, Touchdowns, and Interceptions

Was just doing some research comparing the two. Here are the results:

Griffin: 30 starts, 30 games played
17 Interceptions to 36 TD throws (as well as 7 rushing)

Cousins: 8 starts, 13 games played
18 interceptions to 18 thrown (none rushing)

I was approached with the theory that it's an unfair comparison because Cousins pushes the ball down field and goes deep vastly more often than Griffin, so I decided to look at that, for the sake of replacing pervasive impressions with accurate information. Here are the actual numbers. To note, this is obviously skewed in Cousins' favor because a great deal of his throws have been with the more-vertically-aggressive Gruden compared to Griffin's throws with Shanahan, as well as because Cousins has had better weapons than Griffin (particularly one of the league's best deep threats in Jackson). Regardless, here are the raw numbers as they stood before today's game vs. Arizona.

Cousins, excluding today's game, has gone more than 10 yards downfield on 123 throws, out of a total of 363 attempts (33.9%). 38 out of his 363 were throws of 20+ yards (10.5%).

Griffin has gone more than 10 yards downfield on 280 throws, out of a total of 907 attempts (30.9%). 80 of Griffin's 907 attempts were 20+ yards (8.9%).

To make those splits more explicit, that means that Cousins throws between 10 and 20 yards 23.4% of the time, compared to Griffin's 22.1% The difference, then, in Cousins' favor is 1.3% on 10-19 yard throws, and 1.6% on 20+.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Week Three at Philadelphia

After the first half of this one, I got a bit too invested in the game to keep up the tablet notation out at a bar, but here is some of my thought process throughout watching the first half and some general takeaways about the team after the brutally close loss to Philadelphia.

-The team looks more fired up than I've seen in a long time. Unsurprisingly, DeSean Jackson looks particularly amped.

-We're finally going to Garcon early, it will be interesting to see if it keeps up, and how much it has to do with Jackson playing injured.

-The DB was rightly penalized there, despite what the announcers are crying for, but Jackson should have been as well. It's odd that the initial action is caught, but the retaliation isn't, but both were guilty.

-Aaaaand, there's the make-up call. No one did anything wrong on that play, it was a clear apology to Philadelphia for the previous play.

-Morris isn't getting a lot of room to run. Paulsen failed to seal the edge on this particular run, making him fight in the backfield.

-They lined up with Jackson in the backfield, faked a deep pitch to him before turning and tossing a bubble screen to Garcon. I like the creativity, but that was a terribly conceived play. There's no way the team was going to throw it 8 yards into the backfield to get it to Jackson, so the fooled no one regardless of execution and was a waste of time. 

-Back in the red zone, once again going to Young. I don't know when opposing defenses will start realizing how much the team loves going to the fullback in the red zone.

-This isn't the first time I've had this revelation, but Niles Paul would be a really good receiving option if he could reliably catch the ball. 

Takeaways from Week 2's Dismantling of the Jaguars, and a Look at the QB Situation Going Forward

This will be just a bullet-point list of some of the notes I took of my impressions during week two's win over Jacksonville and week three's blank blank the Eagles. I may add to it or reformat it as I re-watch games, but will put this up for now.

-Love the keeper first play of the game. Force defenses to respect that possibility, which Houston's did not in week one. Worked for a first down, and, perhaps most importantly, Giffin slid competently at the end of his run. 

-Tyler Polombus vacated his man to try to help Chester, letting his block go for an easy sack. Terrible play.

-On defense, our pass rush continues to look fearsome while our complete lack of a secondary to provide coverage allows completions. Allen Hurns did us a big favor by dropping a sure-fire touchdown pass.

-A return that goes nowhere yet still manages to have two penalties on it. That's a staggering level of incompetence from our special teams.

-On the play Griffin got injured, he actually did a phenomenal job of using his athleticism to extend the play while keeping his eyes downfield, and found an open receiver for a first down. Unfortunately, it ended with the awkward step and dislocated ankle.

-I like the gameplan of mixing it up and taking shots while still running the ball, but things aren’t going our way here. Outside of unfortunate injuries the only area we actually see to be struggling is on the OL, particularly the right side. Chester is a weak link and Polombus is even weaker.

-Defensive backs aren't on the same page. Amerson nearly had an interception, but Biggers got in the way going for the ball himself.

-Run the ball to the left instead of the right, and we see Trent Williams actually seal his block leaving a seam off his hip for Morris to pick up 15 yards. That's the difference between the left and right side of the OL, even in the run game, where Polombus is relatively solid. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Success rate of taking runningbacks high in the draft lately is atrocious

I decided to take a look at recently-drafted runningbacks league-wide to support an impression I had, and found the results interesting, so I' going to post them here in a rare Redskins-unrelated piece. Trent Richardson gets a lot of flak for being so obviously and visibly disappointing, but he's hardly the only runningback taken recently who hasn't lived up to the hype. In fact, there are many times more failures than success stories.

Simply put, there are a lot of these dudes. Not all out of the league or anything, but guys like Darren McFadden, who flashed and was built up as ready to break out for years, and then rather suddenly stopped being talked about. The list goes on with names like Ingram, Williams, Jones... Even guys like Ryan Mathews and CJ Spiller may not be busts but have been extremely disappointing given their pedigree and expectations, and people discuss that a lot. Players managed to go straight from still-promising to forgotten and skip the vitriol that Richardson has incurred. It got me thinking and well...

Looking at 2008-2012 RBs drafted in the first two rounds (so, guys who are still fairly young but are now in at least their third season) yields the following:

'08 (8 backs)
4th overall, Darren McFadden, (Bust. Still on the Raiders, backing up a decrepit Maurice Jones-Drew)
13th overall, Jonathan Stewart (Huge disappointment. Panthers never even seemed to want him based on usage. Had one good season)
22nd, Felix Jones (Horrible bust, currently a free agent)
23rd, Rashard Mendenhall (Bust and hated for sympathizing with terrorists. Retired because nobody wanted him)
24th, Chris Johnson (Had a phenomenal early career, but quickly fell off, now being replacement-level on the Jets)
44th, Matt Forte (Good, reliable, versatile player)
55th, Ray Rice* (Was a good player, now suspended indefinitely)
64th (actually first pick of the third round), Kevin Smith (Bust)

'09 (4 backs)
12th overall, Knowshon Moreno (Had a couple okayish years, but hasn't been impressive at all. Big disappointment)
27th, Donald Brown (Has contributed some in a backup role. Bust)
31st, Beanie Wells (Awful bust)
53rd, LeSean McCoy (One of the best HBs in the NFL)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Practice squad hopes

The roster is in place, so it's time to move on down. This is subject to change given players released by other teams who are/aren't placed on their respective practice squads, but based on what we cut and what is available now, the following would be my picks for the initial now-10-man practice squad, provided they do not get claimed by another team:

HB Lache Seastrunk, HB Chris Thompson, S Phillip Thomas (who is eligible due to the new rules pertaining to first- and second-year players), C/G Tevita Stevens, DT Robert Thomas, WR Nick Williams, WR Rashad Ross, WR Cody Hoffman, LB Jeremy Kimbrough, and TE Ted Bolser

Each is a young player who has shown to have some ability or skill, and at least a few of them I think could be contributors on the active roster in the future.

If you need a refresher on the practice squad and what determines player eligibility, check this link.

How I would have constructed the roster differently

The Redskins' initial 53-man roster has been decided. The offense is very close to what I predicted and what I would have done outside of HB, but defense has a few changes. For some reason, we kept six inside linebackers with another one on IR/designated to return (which was a very poor usage of that), as well as six defensive ends, with a seventh on PUP.

Cut: QB Colt McCoy, HB Silas Redd, DE Frank Kearse, ILB Adam Hayward, S Trenton Robinson

Keep: HB Lache Seastrunk, HB Chris Thompson, OLB Rob Jackson (or Everette Brown, for his special teams play), CB Richard Crawford, S Phillip Thomas

Friday, August 29, 2014

Roster predictions/evaluation- Defense and Special Teams

With the Redskins' final 2014 preseason snap played, we're less than 2 days out from the cut down to 53. Let's take a look at the prospects, what I think will happen, and what I think should happen.

bold: lock
italics: predicted roster spot
normal: off the roster  



Nose Tackle (1)
1. Barry Cofield
2. Chris Neild (Injured)

3. Robert Thomas
This is tricky, because I think Cofield and Neild were the pretty clear picks, but Neild hurt his knee against the Bucs last night, and there's speculation it might be a torn ACL. If that's the case, obviously he will be on injured reserve. Even then, I think the team opts for an extra defense end that can play the nose rather than keeping Thomas, leaving Cofield as the only true nose tackle (if you can call him that). 

Defensive End (5)
1. Jason Hatcher
2. Stephen Bowen (PUP?)
3. Chris Baker
4. Jarvis Jenkins
5. Kedric Golston
6. Clifton Geathers
7. Frank Kearse 
Six defensive ends is a lot, but seven total defensive linemen is reasonable. I predict Stephen Bowen starts the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, also, which means only 5 for the time being. Clifton Geathers has put together a very strong preseason and has the size to help out at nose tackle, so I think he makes the team, and I expect Golston to as well. 

Inside Linebacker (5)
1. Perry Riley
2. Keenan Robinson
3. Adam Hayward
4. Will Compton
5. Darryl Sharpton
6. Akeem Jordan (Injured. PUP?)

Roster predictions/evaluations- Offense

With the Redskins' final 2014 preseason snap played, we're less than 2 days out from the cut down to 53. Let's take a look at the prospects, what I think will happen, and what I think should happen.

bold: lock
italics: predicted roster spot
normal: off the 53-man roster  


Quarterback (3)
1. RG3
2. Kirk Cousins
3. Colt McCoy
Obviously Griffin an Cousins are locks. McCoy was decent this preseason, so it's mostly an issue of whether Gruden and Allen decide to keep 3 quarterbacks. I'd prefer we went with two because a third would mean losing out on someone who would help on a game-to-game basis. That said, I think we keep three.

Halfback (3)
1. Alfred Morris
2. Roy Helu (third down duties)
3. Chris Thompson
4. Silas Redd
5. Evan Royster
6. Lache Seastrunk