Washington Redskins: Stats That Matter Through Week 4
About 75 percent of people know that you can use stats to skew perspectives. The reality is that they rarely tell the whole story, but I also find that they almost always tell part of the story.
Let's attempt to complete the story by tossing out a few of the key stats regarding the Washington Redskins four weeks into the season.
That's how many turnovers Washington is committing on a per-drive basis on offense this season, which ranks first in the NFL (per Football Outsiders). Only the unbeaten Falcons and Texans have turned it over as rarely as the Redskins (two for each), but the 'Skins have possessed the ball twice more than Houston and five times more than Atlanta.
In 2011, the Redskins ranked 31st in this same category with turnovers on 0.189 percent of their offensive possessions. That's one of the key differences in having Robert Griffin III leading the passing attack, rather than Rex Grossman. Griffin has taken some risks with his body, but he's rarely been making himself vulnerable to turnovers.
It wasn't all Grossman and John Beck last year. Roy Helu and Ryan Torain had three fumbles, and they had their share on special-teams gaffes. But this year, Alfred Morris has been a rock, and no one except Griffin has coughed it up.
Only the Bears have forced more turnovers than the Falcons have on defense this season, which means we'll see this suddenly responsible and efficient Washington offense gets its stiffest test yet in Week 5.
19.1 and 18.4
That's how many yards per pass attempt cornerbacks Josh Wilson and Cedric Griffin have given up, respectively, according to Pro Football Focus. Only four corners who have taken at least 25 percent of their team's snaps have surrendered more yards in that category.
Do the Redskins have to give Cedric Griffin more help in coverage?
Griffin's number is particularly concerning because he's only allowed 18 yards after the catch, while Wilson YAC number is 106. And every other corner in the top six in this category has surrendered at least 40 yards after the catch.
Griffin's average also hasn't been inflated by one big play. The longest reception he's allowed this year went for 34 yards. Wilson and Jacob Lacey, who sandwich him in the YPA category, have given up passes of 65 yards and 71 yards, respectively.
So Griffin's been beat deep more than anyone, and eight of the 10 passes thrown at him this year have been caught. Against quarterbacks like Josh Freeman and Sam Bradford, that's a bad sign.
Does this indicate that Jim Haslett isn't giving his corners enough help? Maybe, but Madieu Williams and DeJon Gomes have taken 150 run or pass-rush snaps and have been in coverage 269 times, which indicates they've been made available often. The problem, instead, could be poor coverage combined with mediocre safety play.
That's Will Montgomery's PFF run-block rating four games into the season, which ranks third among NFL centers. Montgomery ranks third overall among centers too, but the key is the way in which he's been blocking for Alfred Morris up front.
Last year, Montgomery was ranked 12th and 16th in those categories, and the Redskins running game suffered when Kory Lichtensteiger got hurt and Montgomery had to temporarily swing over to guard. And while they've still given up more pressure than they'd like, a return to normalcy has helped the line open up holes for the running game.
As a result, their yards-per-carry number has grown from 4.0 in 2011 to 5.2 this year, which ranks third in football. And in terms of expected points per play, no running game has been close to as successful as Washington's this season, according to Pro Football Reference.
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