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Crunching the Numbers on Offense

Figured I'd look back over the last five or six weeks, the barren period for the Skins' offense, and dissect the numbers a little bit. The numbers are downright Saunders-esque.

The Redskins have six offensive touchdowns in the last five games. They have just one TD in their last eight trips inside the red zone over the past three games, and just two field goals. That's not close to good enough.

The vertical component (read: Santana Moss) has evaporated, and the Skins have just two plays from scrimmage of 30 yards or more in the past six games. When they were winning, it was often by very close scores and the Skins were protecting the ball better than anyone else in the league. The margin of victory/defeat remains very close, only now they are turning the ball over, and with the offense in an overall slide that's a tough combination.

The Skins are minus-4 in takeaway ratio over the last six games.

They are 20-for-73 on third-down conversions the past five games (27 percent).

Jason Campbell has thrown three TD passes in the past six games.

Santana Moss has just 22 catches for 280 yards over the past five games, and that includes a nine-catch, 140-yard masterpiece against the winless Lions. It's been slim pickings in the other four games.

On the season, Moss is the only wide receiver doing much of anything (we're excluding tight end Chris Cooley). Moss has 49 catches for 701 yards and five TDs; the other four wide receivers have combined for 56 catches, 607 yards and two TDs. The whole idea of chasing Chad Johnson all offseason and then splurging on three straight pass catchers with their first three draft picks was to diversify the attack, but instead it's the same ol', same ol'.

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 18, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
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Next: Taking Stock of the NFC East


Let me be the FIRST to agree . . . .

Posted by: Skins63 | November 18, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more about the ineptness.
Don't leave out the fact that Detroit, Seattle AND KC have more TD's than Washington!!! EMBARRASSING.

Posted by: tbarz1 | November 18, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Some perspective. Comparisons to a Gibbs-Saunders offense provides interesting information but it wasn't their first year implementing an offense. It also wasn't the first year they ever called plays. These things take time and while I want to win now, realistically we're not going to be a high powered offense in the first year. We're 6-4 and while we're having some struggles, before the season started I think we'd all have gladly taken that position 10 games in. It's obvious what needs fixing and it's clear Zorn has a direction, everyone just needs to be a little patient.

Posted by: theSilverFox | November 18, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

It really has been more of the same it seems. Still we cannot ignore the facts the this offense even in its installation phase had a top 5 runner, receiver & quarterback (for a little while) for a large part of the season. They are moving up/down the field (seemingly) with ease but I think confusing themselves on 3rd downs trying to keep things Zorn “flavor-ish”… if that makes any sense. The offense slowing down has a lot to do with teams scheming better for Zorn's play calling. Hopefully Zorn reverts back to his initial approach of staying aggressive on short running downs but really what needs to happen clearly is more contribution from the *other* players on this rather (seemingly) deep roster…

Posted by: y0shman | November 18, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Well this post certainly was depressing to read, even though none of it is a suprise. Whatever. On a positive note,how about actually getting Sellers the ball a little last sunday? Hip-Hip!

Posted by: REDneckSKINhead | November 18, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Even contributing to this anti-Redskin blog makes me a little queasy. It's all negative, all the time. If it wasn't the Post, I wouldn't even read it. But God, even that caveat is failing as time goes on.

JLC, you RUIN you ability to aptly report negative Redskin news because you do so far too often and with so much obvious joy. When the time does come for some honest kicking of the Redskins actions, you have no credibility left. It's also like asking a bully to be a hall monitor. He can do it, but there's something very distasteful about the dark joy he feels in finally being in the right, even if only for a few minutes out of his life.

I don't like your positions. I don't like most of your analysis. I don't like reading about the team I love from a man who loves to hate them. It's an insult to me, as a fan, from both you and the Washington Post. But because it IS the Post (and only because it's the Post) will I continue. At least for now.

As for the woeful state of the Redskins, WAKE UP everyone.

The Redskins have a rookie coach, and they weren't all that solid last year. I know they were a playoff team, and they'll very probably be a playoff team again. But so far 6 and 4 is cause for celebration, not lament. Not ONE of us would have guessed 6 and 4 ten games in.

We lost one or two we should have won, yes. And the offense looks lackluster, yes.

Go back to before the season. Anyone who expected the Redskin offense to look any BETTER than lackluster would have been laughed out of town. We would probably ALL have bet it would be worse than lackluster.

The fact is that these guys are still learning, including Zorn, who's never called plays before, or coached an offense, let alone a team.

Vinny, for all his faults, is also in his first year as the boss of personnel. I don't know what went on behind closed doors last year, but I don't see Vinny overriding Gibbs.

Give these guys a learning curve will you? Would you want to be judged by your first attempts at anything?

I think we can all agree that we see more potential in the Redskins now than at any point in a very long time. We're not talking about failed philosophies or long roads back. We're talking about a stud second receiver and a couple of role players here and there.

Let's not beat up the Redskins because they're not dominating the league ten games into Zorn's career. They're very good, and stand to get a lot better.

Posted by: jvwright | November 18, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Is this the newest post or is it.
Taking Stock of the NFC East
Two Views of the O Line

Posted by: alex35332 | November 18, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I believe minor tweaking is all that is needed to "improve" the offense. Begin with Zorn play-calling on the opposing side of the field. He does a good job with Campbell getting there but sputters with conservative screen plays and dink and dunk passes. Almost falls in love with it too much! I notice only when the team is behind does he take shots down field. (Like the Dallas game 4th qtr pass attempt to Moss). I know the offense is predicated on short passing plays but defenses tighten that up when you are on their side of the field. Attack the middle of the field as well! Cooley is excellent for this! Too many pass plays go to the sidelines. Campbell has a good arm and smart enough when to launch. Lets stretch the field a bit when we get to the 50+ yd line and take some shots deep especially on the one on one matchup coverage!

Posted by: jmail619 | November 18, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Skins offense has the same starters as last year under Gibbs except a healthy, but older Thomas and Jansen back on the O-Line. It was believed that improving the WR's playing with Moss would open up the passing game and JC would flourish under Zorn's coaching (he has improved a lot).

The results the first 5 games of the season were impressive with the balance between passing and running. Portis allowed us to dominate time of possession and we made enough big plays with Moss and Cooley to respect the passing game. ARE has become a total non-factor as the 2nd receiver and neither Thrash or Thomas has developed into a reliable 3rd receiver while Cooley is asked to stay in to help block on many passing downs.

The deficiencies in the line were exposed the last two weeks and now Portis is playing hurt and is not able to carry the ball 25+ times a game. You can't fault the playing call of Zorn when his line can't even hold for 3 seconds for JC to hit his 1st read, let alone his 2nd. Personnel on O-Line and WR need to be upgraded while Portis, Moss, and Cooley are in their prime or we'll get more of the same.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 18, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

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