A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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  1. #1

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    Default Redskins Special Teams-2011

    The news of Danny Smith's new contract and the resultant commentary got me curious enough to dig up some numbers to see just how well-and/or poorly-the Redskins fared on special teams compared to the rest of the NFL during the 2011 season.

    The results, perhaps unsurprisingly, are a mixed bag. There were some things we did very well indeed.

    Kickoff return yardage by the opposing team was an area where the Redskins excelled. We allowed an average of 20.8 yards/return, only the Bills were better with 20.4 yards per return. The Colts, by the way, were the worst allowing 30.7 yards/return.

    Looking at punt returns by the opposing team the average yardage wasn't too bad, the Redskins allowed an average of 7.8 yards, good for 10th lowest in the league. The top-rated Falcons were amazing only allowing a 4.8 yards/return average-Oakland was the worst allowing 13.5 yards/return.

    Our own ability to return kickoffs and punts didn't come out as well. We averaged 22.1 yards per kickoff return which was 27th in the league. The 49ers were the best at 27.2 yards/return and the Colts were again at the bottom averaging only 18.6 yards/return. On punt returns we averaged 8.9 yards/return good for 21st in the league. The Bears, no surprise here, led at 15.7 yards/return and the hapless Colts again took last place with an average of only 3.4 yards/return. Wow.

    Another interesting element-and a plus for our special teams-in our punting was in fair catches. Sav Rocca's wonderful ability to bury the other team deep in their own territory combined with special teams coverage caused 21 of the 66 punts the Redskins attempted to be fair catches by the other team. This is a good percentage since the only other team close was the Falcons with 24 fair catches in 70 punts. Everybody else with more than 21 fair catches punted at least 86 times or more.


    Field goals were a problem. First we tried a lot of them-41 in total. Only the 49ers had more field goal attempts at 52 (!). The problem was our percentage was 75.6, 29th in the league. The best FG percentage was owned by the Falcons at 93.1-the worst, the Bills and Steelers tied at 74.2%.

    There was one special and disturbing element in that FG percentage. There were 18 teams in the NFL that had at least one FG blocked but the Redskins ran away with the league title by having 5 FGs blocked. The 49ers came in second with 3.

    An interesting note on Graham Gano and distance-he had a "hole of misses" in the 30-39 yard range. Here's his FG breakdown by distance.

    20-29 yards 14-15 93%

    30-39 yards 5-9 56%

    40-49 yards 8-11 73%

    50+ yards 4-6 67%

    Anoher interesting, if painful, note is that the two losses to Dallas would have been wins without the missed field goals.

    One other not-to-be-proud-of stat is in regards to PATs. The Redskins joined the Chargers, Packers, Panthers and Texans as being the only teams to have a PAT blocked during the 2011 season.

    Like I said, a mixed bag.

    Info sources:http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/te...t/seasontype/2

    http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorysta...qualified=true
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    I'm giving it a 2-4 year window. Looking for improvement in all areas. Redskins, you're on the clock.

  2. #2
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    I still don't understand how anyone can credit or discredit a ST coach for made or missed FG. Kicking is a skill position that cannot be coached IMO. You can either kick a FG or you can't, and no coach is going to give someone the ability to be a good kicker. Which is why great kickers are generally great for every team they play on.

    But every tie I speak favorably about Danny Smith, I get chewed out, called an idiot, and get the lack of TD returns thrown in my face like it's the best measure of ST success. Personally, I think on ST, the fact we stop everyone dead in their tracks and pin them deep in their own territory speaks to his coaching abilities more than any other stat.
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  3. #3

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    James Madison

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    Ex, I think Danny Smith may be underrated some, but even you have to admit that five blocked kicks is not a good sign. One, or possibly even two, I could consider as an aberration or abnormality, but five? That's pretty horrendous, IMO.
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    OLine. DLine. Secondary.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    Ex, I think Danny Smith may be underrated some, but even you have to admit that five blocked kicks is not a good sign. One, or possibly even two, I could consider as an aberration or abnormality, but five? That's pretty horrendous, IMO.
    You're absolutely right. But you know something? All but 1 of them was from a guy coming around the edge of Chris Chester. A new guy from Baltimore. Where he gave up 2 blocks last year. And 3 blocks and a PAT block the year before. The guy sucks on ST, he needs to be gone.
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  5. #5

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    Well, they don't call them Adequate Teams. They're supposed to be, Special Teams.

    That, they were not.

    Holding your opponents between the 20-25 yard line on kickoffs, made easier by moving the kickoff point, is nullified by having to start there yourself.

    Not controlling a wasted roster space from continually bringing the ball out from deep in the endzone is unacceptable. And, like it or not, if you do do it continually, you damn sight better score some touchdowns or it just isn't justified.

    And, whether it's the scheme, or the miserable execution of that scheme, we haven't been even a decent blocking team for our return men anytime I can remember during Danny's overextended stay here.

    That said, he has been re-signed. So, I wish him the best. But I don't expect improvement.

    Again, they are supposed to be Special Teams, not Adequate Teams.
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  6. #6

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    James Madison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Extreme View Post
    You're absolutely right. But you know something? All but 1 of them was from a guy coming around the edge of Chris Chester. A new guy from Baltimore. Where he gave up 2 blocks last year. And 3 blocks and a PAT block the year before. The guy sucks on ST, he needs to be gone.
    Why would Danny keep him on teams in that situation then?
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    OLine. DLine. Secondary.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goaldeje View Post
    Why would Danny keep him on teams in that situation then?
    Apparently whoever the other option is just sucks. It's like asking why did Stephon Heyer ever get to start a single game, when he repeatedly proved he's worthless?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ax View Post
    Well, they don't call them Adequate Teams. They're supposed to be, Special Teams.

    That, they were not.

    Holding your opponents between the 20-25 yard line on kickoffs, made easier by moving the kickoff point, is nullified by having to start there yourself.
    It absolutely isn't nullified when you consider we had the best ST defense in the NFL for what, the 7th or 8th straight year?

    If we gave it to teams at the 40, but our guys returned it to the 40 every time, are you saying you'd be mad, and that would "nullify" it? That's essentially what you're saying. Very few teams in NFL history have ever had a ST that pinned opponents deep, while making huge returns on their own end. It's almost unheard of. To demand our coach produce that is ludicrous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ax View Post
    Not controlling a wasted roster space from continually bringing the ball out from deep in the endzone is unacceptable. And, like it or not, if you do do it continually, you damn sight better score some touchdowns or it just isn't justified.
    I agree to an extent. When Banks takes it 9 yards deep in the endzone, he needs to learn to take a knee. On the other hand, there is 100% chance of no TD if you take a knee. And I have a sneaky suspicion that if he took a knee every time, you'd be criticizing that too and clamoring for someone who had the balls to take a shot once in a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ax View Post
    And, whether it's the scheme, or the miserable execution of that scheme, we haven't been even a decent blocking team for our return men anytime I can remember during Danny's overextended stay here.
    Actually, that's not entirely true. Watch some game films, what you see will surprise you. We've had great blockers, we just keep getting stuck with blind return men incapable of seeing the massive hole that's been opened up for them. Not only that, less than 6 yards separates us from the top return team in the league. Call me crazy, but even in a game of inches, 6 yards doesn't seem to matter when you really get down to starting field position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ax View Post
    That said, he has been re-signed. So, I wish him the best. But I don't expect improvement.

    Again, they are supposed to be Special Teams, not Adequate Teams.
    You, along with others, have made your hatred well known. Every time something goes wrong, he gets the blame. The problem with that is if we have the best ST in the history of football next season, I doubt very seriously that any of you will give him the credit.
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  9. #9

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    I don't understand how anyone can defend Danny Smith. Sure, his coverage teams were good - but that's only half of special teams play, and arguably the much less important half! He is terrible, and should have been fired.
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  10. #10
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    When Trent Williams was injured and then suspended the Redskins had several kicks blocked. The fact the coaches could not come up with a protection scheme inside over all those weeks to correct this problem makes me doubt Danny Smith.

    You have to be flexible and able to make adaptations on the fly. It seems as if this unit was unable to do that and underwent a paralysis that was at least in part at fault for 2 or 3 losses this past season in close contests.
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