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Red Zone offense through Week 2

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First and foremost, a win's a win, and I'll take 'em ugly all year long.

But this red zone offensive funk needs to end pretty quickly or we're going to end up on the back of a Trivial Pursuit card for being that team Detriot beat.

Although every red zone snap is it's own unique scenario and has it's own mini-battles that are won and lost, I decided to look at the red zone offense after two weeks, on paper, to see if I could find any trends or patterns that might explain our utter lack of success.

What you're about to read is not going to make you feel any more optimistic about this offense going forward, especially considering the fact we just lost starting right guard Randy Thomas for the year with a tricep tear. These stats, although only reflective of two weeks worth of football, are ugly, and brutally honest. Viewer discretion is advised.

The Washington Redskins have run a total of 27 red zone plays over two games. Here are just some of the facts concerning those 27 plays.

1st Down Plays: 8 plays, 27 yards, 3.37 yards/play, 1 TD
* Run (88%) 7 plays, 10 yards, 1.42 yards/play
* Pass (13%) 1 play, 17 yards, 17.0 yards/play, 1 TD

2nd Down Plays: 6 plays, 17 yards, 2.83 yards/play
* Run (33%) 2 plays, 5 yards, 2.5 yards/play
* Pass (67%) 4 plays, 12 yards, 3.0 yards/play

3rd Down Plays: 6 plays, 2 yards, 1 sack
* Run (17%) 1 play, 2 yards, 2.0 yards/play
* Pass (83%) 5 plays, 0 yards, 0 yards/play, 1 sack

4th Down Plays: 7 plays, 4 FG, 1 TD, 1 first down, 1 turnover
* Run (29%) 2 plays, 7 yards, 3.5 yards/play
* Special Teams (71%) 5 plays, 4 FGs, 1 TD (fake FG)

Running Plays: 12 plays, 24 yards, 2.0 yards per carry
* To the LEFT (67%) 8 plays, 29 yards, 3.62 yards/play
* To the MIDDLE (17%) 2 plays, -1 yard, -1.0 yards/play
* To the RIGHT (17%) 2 plays, -4 yards, -2.0 yards/play

Passing Plays: 10 plays, 4/9 passing, 29 yards, 2.9 per attempt, 1 TD, 1 sack.
* To the LEFT (20%) 2 plays, 8 yards, 4 yards/play
* To the MIDDLE (40%) 4 plays, 21 yards, 5.25 yards/play
* To the RIGHT (30%) 3 plays, 0 yards, 0 yards/play
* Sacked (10%) 1 play

Average Yards To Go
* 1st Down - 8.87 yards
* 2nd Down - 8.6 yards
* 3rd Down - 5.86 yards
* 4th Down - 5.14 yards

Other random facts
* There were 0 red zone pass attempts by Jason Campbell in the second half against St. Louis
* Campbell has only thrown 3 (reasonably catchable) passes into the end zone. One was overthrown and out of bounds. One was a TD. The other was a drop from Devin Thomas that would have been a TD, had he held onto a rapidly thrown, but cactchable pass by Campbell.
* But to be fair to fate, that same play could have just as easily been a pick that was dropped by the defense.
* Sellers dropped what likely would have been a TD from about 3 yards out.

It's only been 2 weeks, but so far, there's way too many disturbing trends, such as the shockingly predicatble tendency to run on first down, and favoring runs to the left, both of which Brian Murphy warned us about after Week One.

This leads to 2nd and 8.6, forcing you into a more obvious passing situation, giving the defense an edge. Wanting to get the edge back, we call a pass, but a conservative one, getting about 3 yards a play on 2nd downs that were typically very well defended.

Which bring us to 3rd and about 6, which is tough considering we only gained 2 yards total on six 3rd down plays. Seriously. I'm not making this up.

Oh. And then there's the freaking gadgetry.

For being such a conservative, safe, predictible red zone play caller, the excessive use of trick plays is starting to become rather revealing to the truth that we can't complete a simple slant, run to the right, or do anything at all on 3rd downs.

There were positives in this game, lots of them, and I honestly wish I were writing about them. But today, I couldn't help but acknowledge the gorilla.

We have the talent, but Boone is right - Zorn's calling plays like he's scared, and he doesn't seem to trust Campbell.

Give them a chance, coach. And if he makes a horrible mistake, take the blame yourself and give him another chance. Because if we're scared of Detroit, then God help us.


  1. Boone's Avatar
    Wow - what a great blog entry Aston. There's nothing like raw data to paint a picture. You've really done a great job of that here.

    Btw, we become the answer to your board game question there, it'll be anything but trivial - it'll bring about a DC meltdown that makes Marion Barry's crack arrest, Lewinski's stained dress, and Nixon boarding the helicopter look like yawners by comparison.

    Lets hope Zorn is looking at some real numbers too. There are surely a few coaches in Detroit licking their chops as they review them.


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