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Need to Know: Can the Redskins hold on to improvements in red zone and on third down?

Feb 16, 2016, 5:12 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 16, 8 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Three and out: Consolidating gains

1- I don’t want to jumble your head with numbers in the morning but I do want to take a quick look at two major improvements the Redskins made last year. They went from converting 31.5 percent of their third downs in 2014 (30th in the NFL) to 43.5 percent last year (5th). That’s a 28 percent improvement in the conversion rate. And red zone conversion also improved 28 percent (from 47.9% to 61.2%). If they want to contend for the playoffs again they will need to hold on to those gains.

2- The more I think about it the more I think the Redskins will go with a wide receiver in the first or second rounds. And, as I have mentioned elsewhere, I think that both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson will be back this year. But they are both turning 30 later this year and both are in the last year of their contracts. The draft, remember, is much more about future season than it is the coming season.

3- If I had to bet I’s say that Dashon Goldson will be back at a reduced salary with some incentives. I’ll say it gets cut from $8 million to $3 million with the ability to make about a million back with some incentives and per-game roster bonuses. That’s about what he could get on the open market if the Redskins were to let him go, which they could with no dead money hit. The one thing I am sure of is that he won’t play this season for $8 million.

Out: Don’t believe the talk of a $155 million salary cap, up from the previous high estimate of $153.6 million. If the past is any indication, it will be up near $156 million. The estimates are almost always low. We will find out for sure a few days before free agency starts.


—Former Redskins defensive back Brig Owens was born on this date in 1943.

—The Redskins last played a game 37 days ago. It will be about 208 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 8; NFL free agency starts 22; 2016 NFL draft 72

In case you missed it

  1. colorofmyskinz - Feb 16, 2016 at 7:31 AM

    Garçon is very expensive and underutilized for his cost. Either they need to feature him more, restructure his contract, or move on from him. I really think we should pick up Michael Thomas 6’3″ and 210. All of our receivers are small. Garçon is durable and consistent but $9-10 million?? We could really use that cap space. And all of our receivers are under 6 foot for the most part.

    We should also clear out andre Roberts. These 3 moves would clear major cap space and upgrade receiving Corp size. I like garçon, but really expensive and not used like a $10 M receiver.

    • hail74 - Feb 16, 2016 at 8:03 AM

      I hear what your saying but am more inclined to just let him play out his contract then bid him farewell. He won’t just take a pay it and I wouldn’t want to add years to his contract just for some relief now.

    • babyteal1 - Feb 16, 2016 at 8:05 AM

      Who’s going to replace him? He’s a solid player. I like the way Kirk spreads the ball around. He cant get all the catches with Jackson, Reed & Crowder on the field.

    • colorofmyskinz - Feb 16, 2016 at 9:08 AM

      Draft Michael Thomas reduce overhead and increase size. Just a thought to get cap space for other needed positions like, Center, Dline, middle linebacker, corner, safety… We need those at high dollar more than under-utilized garçon at high dollar. Just an opinion.

    • bangkokben - Feb 16, 2016 at 9:42 AM

      This would ONLY be necessary if the Redskins were up against the cap. They’re not. Just about nobody will be this year. The savings would only be $8 million even though the cap hit is $10.25 million (which there are twelve receivers with greater cap hits.) This the equivalent of saying Kirk Cousins is overpaid. It’s the position! The Redskins have ten other guys on the team that are higher ranked salary wise per position in comparison to the league. Garcon signed THIS contract before he broke Redskin records in receiving. It’s bad business to give players contracts that they exceed and then make cuts based on them not continuing to exceed original expectations. You draft a receiver – that you hope can be his replacement – AND you let him play out his contract. The Redskins will have between $10-$13 million in cap room and then with Griffin, Goldson, Riley, Hatcher, and Roberts; they could make an additional $24 million of room for $37 million.

  2. bangkokben - Feb 16, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    Garcon and Reed (and the guy throwing them the ball) were keys to the 3rd down success. Garcon had 22 third down catches for first downs (tied for 7th in the league) and Reed had 17 (tied for 18th).

    • John - Feb 17, 2016 at 6:47 PM

      Funny how everyone on team Robert seemed to ignore that reality. They have always been able to work the ball down field with Kirk in there. Especially enjoyed those grind it out, 10 – 15 play 80 yard drives that ended in touchdowns and put the other teams away. So I guess all that dink and dunk stuff is worthless… LOL.

  3. firesnyder - Feb 16, 2016 at 12:29 PM

    That really is a great improvement in 3rd down conversions, especially considering our lack of run game. Sounds like the Skins will have, generally, the same receiving corps +1 drafted wideout. And, a renewed focus on “fixing” the run game. I think we have a good shot at improving those 3rd down numbers with a couple more run game additions.

  4. James McFullan - Feb 16, 2016 at 7:04 PM

    This year, draft a guy like Robert Nkemdiche or Jaylon Smith, both of whom should fall due to injury or off field issues, in the first round, then take Nick Martin in the second round. Next year the Redskins can draft a guy like Mike Williams 6-3, 205, 4.55 40 next year in the 2nd or 3rd round. Archives

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