Oct 9, 2015, 5:05 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 9, two days before the Washington Redskins play the Atlanta Falcons.
Lost away from home
Among the issues the Redskins must solve before they can be considered a competitive NFL team is their inability to win on the road.
Under Jay Gruden, the Redskins are doing a better job of sending the FedEx Field fans home happy. They are 5-6 at home since the start of the 2014 season. That is a .454 winning percentage, certainly not where they want to be. But it is an improvement on the 12-20 home record (.375) they posted in four years under Mike Shanahan.
But Gruden has plenty of work cut out for him when it comes to games on to road. The Redskins are 1-8 away from FedEx Field under him, a dismal .111 winning percentage. With Shanahan in charge they were 12-20 on the road, the same .375 winning percentage they had at home.
Over the years in the NFL, home teams (going back to 1966), home teams have won 57.3 percent of the time, meaning that to be average on the road you need a winning percentage of .427. The Redskins aren’t there.
“I don’t what the reason is, to be honest with you,” said Gruden. “We’ve just been outplayed on the road for whatever reason. I guess the only game we’ve won was Dallas on Monday night. I don’t really have a reason for it. I don’t have an answer. We just have to come out of the tunnel and start fast and try to get some momentum on our side and take the crowd out of it. A lot of times, we go on the road, like the Giants game for instance, we weren’t able to maintain the momentum and quiet the crowd. We’ve got to try to figure out ways to do that. That’s forcing turnovers. That’s obviously protecting the football and making some plays on special teams.”
The thing is, this is not a team that forces many turnovers, protects the ball particularly, and makes plays on special teams, the kinds of things that take a crowd out of a game.
But another thing that can blunt the home team’s momentum and lull a crowd to sleep are long, time-consuming drives by the visiting team’s offense. The Redskins are pretty good at these. They have 13 drives of 10 plays or more, the most in the NFL. Those drives have consumed an average of just under six minutes of clock time and 11 of them have finished in scores (6 touchdowns, 5 field goals).
If they can get a few of these going, and avoid the mistakes that had them back on their heels from the start against the Giants, they might have a shot in the dome in Atlanta on Sunday. But since they have not demonstrated the ability to get it done on the road, the best course is to remain skeptical until they do.
—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:15; Jay Gruden and Sean McVay news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 12:30
—Days until: Redskins @ Falcons 2; Redskins @ Jets 9; Bucs @ Redskins 16
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