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Need to Know: Lack of opportunistic play among 2014 Redskins’ fatal flaws

Dec 29, 2014, 6:18 AM EDT

Paul fumble vs Texans

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 29, 122 days before the first round of the 2015 NFL draft.

Three and out—Third downs, pass defense Redskins’ big issues

1. We’ll spend a lot of the next few weeks doing an autopsy on the 2014 season and looking at what the Redskins need to do to improve. But you don’t have to dig too deep to see that third down conversions were a big issue for the offense. Yesterday they converted three of 12, which inched their rate for the season up every so slightly. But they were still 30th in the NFL at 31.5 percent. If you want to figure out why the Redskins were 13th in yards gained but 27th in points scored, this is a big factor. They would move it some but drives would stall.

2. Defensively the big issue is pass defense. Opposing passers have lit up the Redskins with passer rating of 108.3. That means that the composite quarterback the Redskins faced in 2014 was better than Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. If assigned to an individual quarterback that rating would have ranked third in the NFL. Communication issues, fundamental mistakes, and subpar talent at safety, and an inconsistent pass rush are all factors.

3. The Cowboys pulled off a surprise onside kick in the second quarter. “We got the look we wanted,” said Dallas coach Jason Garrett. Presumably that “look” was seeing the Redskins special teams unit lined up on the other side. That was two successful surprise onside kicks that the last three weeks. Add in a fake on an extra point that led to a two-point conversion by the Rams and you have a team that’s is just not paying enough attention. Such trick plays should work every once in a while, not every time they are tried.

Out: Back to the first point, another reason the Redskins rank near the bottom in points scored is that the defense and special teams didn’t contribute any return touchdowns. Redskins opponents had seven return touchdowns this year. You don’t have to be a math major to figure out that put Washington at a major disadvantage. If you are perhaps deficient in talent while rebuilding one way to make up for it is to be opportunistic. I’m not sure what the opposite of that is, but whatever it is would be an apt description for the 2014 Redskins.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Open locker room 9 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference 3 p.m.

Days until: 2015 NFL Draft 122; 2015 NFL season opening Sunday 258

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. I’ll answer all questions as soon as I can get to them. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. mr.moneylover - Dec 29, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Until we get rid of bruce allen and scott campbell jim hasslet raheem morris…we will continue to be a failure we havent draft good players for years and we let good talented players walk out the door and became good for other teams…its up to jay gruden to see all the negatives..and you follow that up with the trainers not getting these players in shape for a long season I seen players gasp for air all year long u can tell witch ones keep they body in shape and prepare for a long season for example ryan kerrigan the most I seen ryan kerrigan do is breath hard and he still play hard the next play …we need players like that …this free agency and draft is so important and it will let us know if the future is bright or we have no hope…I herd jay gruden is already evaluating something this morning I dont know if thats true but thats good if he is cause its a long process

    • Anthony - Dec 29, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      No the problem is the defense is on the field way too long. The problem is not the conditioning.

  2. goback2rfk - Dec 29, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    I want to see people getting fired and i want to see it right now. No excuses anymore, no need to think about or debate it, it is time to let go of the dis-function and get people in here that know how to win.

  3. bill greathead - Dec 29, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    We are not a football smart team

    • penz84 - Dec 29, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      Nope, neither the coaches or players seem to switched on at all times. A lot of them just don’t seem to be proper football players, more like decent athletes who can play a bit.

  4. penz84 - Dec 29, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Rich, you’re comment about the look Garrett was looking for was merely seeing the Redskins special teams lined up opposite his made me chuckle, thanks!!

  5. greed - Dec 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    where was the pride fire yesterday daboys onside kick up 20-7 & no mention of it in grudens postgame conference a clear slap in the face by daboys and we took it like chumps

    • goback2rfk - Dec 29, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      it is like the players have no field awareness or any coaching helping them understand the facets of the game.

    • hcicron - Dec 29, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      I feel the same way. One of my biggest problems with this team? That other teams punch us in the mouth and we fold. Seattle, Stl, Dallas to name a few just laughed at us all game and our guys just took it.

      • goback2rfk - Dec 29, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        The Redskins also commit horrible high school type mistakes. Not being aware of the ball on a kick off is things that is learned in pee wee football. How can professionals make amateurish mistakes? Not pretty guys, its not pretty.

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