Niswander’s Notes on Redskins After First Four Games

The 2018 Washington Redskins are similar to the battle between the changing of the seasons most people in the DMV are experiencing currently. One day it feels like summer in October, and the next day it feels like fall. One week the Redskins look like a playoff team, and the next week look abysmal.

After five weeks of football, the Redskins sit at 2-2 having already had their bye week in Week 4. With the NFC East, or should I say NFC Least after going 0-4 as a division in Week 5, still wide open, the Redskins are a half game up on the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys for first place.

Let’s look at some stats so far this season for the Skins on defense:

1. The Redskins rank 5th in total defensive yards per game at 320.2.

In Week 1, the Redskins defense almost shut out the Arizona Cardinals on their home field and just surrendered six points. To put that in retrospect, the Cardinals got shut out the following week and rank 31st in points per game at 13.0. This could discredit how great the defense truly is. The Saints have one of the most prolific offenses in the league and torched the putrid Skins secondary for 43 points after numerous blown coverages. The dismal defensive performance resembled the rookie level setting in Madden, let alone a national game on Monday night.

2. The Redskins defense ranks 6th in opponent rushing yards per game at 92.5 which is down from 134.1 from 2017.

It appears a healthy Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne are helping to anchor a strong front seven for the Skins making it tougher for teams to run on them.

3. The Redskins defense ranks 27th in opponent third down conversion percentage (44.68%)

This means they are allowing their opponents to convert nearly half of their third downs to sustain drives which is not an ideal winning formula.

Now time for the offense:

1. The Redskins offense ranks 24th in points per game at 20.8.

This is roughly a point less than last season, when Washington averaged 21.4 points per game. 

2. The Redskins offense ranks 32nd in second half points per game at 4.5.

This stat is just as hard to fathom as it is to read and process. Basically, if the Skins get down early this season, they are not coming back. They have scored just one second-half touchdown through four games. For those wondering, it came during garbage time last week against the Saints.

3. The Redskins offense ranks 13th in rushing yards per game at 113.  

Led by Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson, the Redskins are averaging roughly 13 more rushing yards per game than they did last season.

How disciplined has Jay Gruden’s squad been?

1. The Redskins rank 16th in penalties per game at 7.

Seven penalties may not seem like a lot, but it is more so the time in the game of the penalties and what type of penalties that can be the most costly. Also, this stat is up from last year’s average of just 5.5 penalties per game and is something to keep an eye on moving forward as the silly undisciplined penalties need to stop in order for this team to be successful down the stretch.

Conclusion: These stats point to the inconsistencies fans have seen from the Redskins all season long. The offense will need to score more points in the second half, the defense will need to get off the field on critical third downs. The Redskins need to eliminate silly, bonehead penalties and clean up their act. These next five games are all against conference opponents in the thick of the playoff wildcard and division race.

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