Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Redskins Aren't Mathematically Eliminated.....Yet

My Redskins optimism died quickly after that Titans game when I realized that we are 2 games back of a wildcard spot, and have to pass 3 teams for that last spot. Dead, and maybe not quite buried if we beat Minnesota this weekend. But maybe I was being too optimistic. Here's a quote from Redskins Insider's Brian Burke (as also mentioned by Mister Irrelevant):

"The NFC wildcard teams are probably going to need to win at least 10 games this season, so the Redskins would need to finish 5-1 to have a reasonable chance at the playoffs. Based on measures of team strength and forthcoming schedules, the numbers give the Redskins a 6 percent chance of making the postseason."

I panned this guy a couple weeks ago for giving statistics a bad name, but this is great stuff using statistics to make a rational point. We all have thought 9-7 would be enough to squeak into the playoffs since the preseason in a parity-driven league, but there is almost no way at least 2 of the 4 teams ahead of the Skins do not win 10 games. And, as you quickly realize, 10 wins means an improbable 5-1 finish.

A win over the Vikings this weekend would dramatically increase that 6%, and keep hope alive in DC, but it really is time to start looking at the offseason. This tortured sports city has a lot to be thankful for: Alex Ovechkin, Ted Leonsis, John Wall, Matt Wieters, and Stephen Strasburg to name a few, but a playoff-bound Redskins team is not one of of them.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Looking Ahead to Redskins Offseason Plans

I have realized that with 6 games to play, 2 games to makeup in the wild card race, and 3 teams to pass, the Skins playoff hopes are all but non-existant. So, on to the offseason!

I already made my thoughts clear on the McNabb contract, but this post is inspired by Shutdown Corner's Midseason 'No Pro' Team, which is basically the worst and/or most under-performing players in the league. No, McNabb was handily beaten out Brett Favre, but the entire interior of the Redskins line was named, ouch.

An Oldy, but Pretty Much Sums it Up

How can we gauge this? Well, the article was written by Doug Farrar of Football Outsiders, so metrics are involved. Long story short, the Skins are the worst team in the NFL at running up the middle. Not surprisingly, the team is also 31st in power running and 29th in runs stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage - both of which are plays that are linked to blocking up the middle. The good news is the coaching staff appears to realize this and has the team running up the middle on only 33% of run plays, significantly less than the league average of 50% (for all you Silverback lovers, most of those carries have gone around left end).

To summarize, the team has been getting dominated in the middle of the offensive line, and the coaches realize there is a problem.

My eyeballs tell me Casey Rabach has had a bad season and is likely no longer an NFL-caliber starting center. Artis Hicks and Derrick Dockery/Korey Lic(*&#$%@ have all also been culprits. As the article notes, Hicks has 6(!) false starts.

Looking ahead, our 2nd round pick has 'FUTURE CENTER' written all over it. A stud center is a pretty safe pick, as even if center proves difficult, you can always try them at guard. Dropping the cash on a 1st round interior lineman would be rough, as our pick will be in the middle of the first round, and those positions usually aren't drafted until the end of the 1st. This draft also looks to be a bit weak on the offensive line, so grabbing an interior lineman in the 1st round would likely be a huuuge reach. The good news though is that there are 3 quality center prospects . Back in August, Scouts Inc. had FSU's Rodney Hudson as the top interior lineman, and florida's Mike Pouncey not too far behind him. Stefan Wisniewski of Penn State is the 3rd guy who looks like he will be a reasonably high pick. Mid-1st would be aggressive for these guys, but our 2nd round pick would be a great spot to fill a position of need with a player who may be best available at that point.

Or maybe, that would be too logical.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 11: Redskins 19, Titans 16: Knee Jerk Reactions

Football's regular season is past the halfway point! The hair pulling, TV-screaming, remote control throwing and furious cigarette smoking have aged me about 10 years in these 10 games. Before I let rationality cloud my judgment, here are my knee-jerk reactions from the tenth game of the season:

Huuuge win. That would have been a season-ender if we were 4-6 and 3 games out of the last wild card. 
  • So, I was really excited about this win and staying in the playoff race, but with 6 games to go, we are 2 games out of the last wild card spot. There are 4 teams ahead of us, with only 2 spots available, so we have to leapfrog 3 of the Giants/Eagles, Bears, Saints, and Bucs.
  • As if you didn't already know, but Brandon Banks! 1 tough clutch catch in 1 opportunity. Can we just give him Joey Galloway's job immediately? I mean right now, seriously. 
  • I have been thinking of some other nickname ideas for Banks and like "The Wire," because he's electric and maybe thin and wiry or something.
  • I want to like Graham Gano, but he is still straddling the line of acceptability. Missing a 51 yarder is no biggy, but being that far off is concerning. The 47 yarder into the wind is a little tougher to swallow, but okay in and of itself. He still hit from 40, 42, and 48, and was providing great distance on kickoffs.
  • McNabb had time to throw. Weird. 
  • McNabb's stats may sound impressive, but he was once again mediocre, even with tons of time.
  • Reed Doughty is an absolute disaster in coverage. I know Kareem Moore makes 1-2 big mistakes a game, and today was no different, but he is a much better option than Doughty. I was watching Doughty specifically as much as I could, and it seemed as thought he almost never successfully covered anyone. I think is fine as a backup strong safety, but free safety is not where I want to see him.
  • Yeah, Vince Young is efficient, and his passer rating will look great, but there is a lot to be said for the low volume output. 
  • The Buchanon, Hall, Doughty, Moore secondary provided an opportunity on a platter for VY and the Titans to exploit. I thought that pathetic unit would cost us the game, but VY could not take advantage, and that speaks volumes about how good he is. You are kidding if you don't think any great QB doesn't shred that group.
  • Randy Moss looked lazy running routes. Glad we didn't get that guy.
  • D******* Hall was okay today, but how about you don't beat your chest after Randy Moss runs by you in the endzone and VY throws it about 10 yards over everyone's heads. That was not a good play. 
  • Who is Rusty Smith?
  • Seems like we played a lot more 2 TE sets today to get Fred 'Sleepy' Davis involved. Niiiiice.
  • The gold pants are money.
  • Coming into this game, the Skins's offense had been historically bad on 3rd down, which is usually a fluky stat that will regress to the mean. In layman's terms, the Skins have likely been unlucky not to perform better on offense. 8-16 today on 3rd down, so there ya go.
  • My friend works for UStream and alerted me to the fact that Skins have their own channel. I have no idea what they show on here, I think pregame and postgame type stuff, but here you go:
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