Washington's Week 1 Woes: Will the Redskins Bounce Back?
The Washington Redskins revamped their offense in the offseason with the additions of Desean Jackson and Andre Roberts. Explosive, breakout candidate tight end Jordan Reed was back healthy (and, of course, that only lasted for one catch) as well.
Overall, things were looking up for the three-win team from a year ago. After Week 1, it appears that the same problems were exposed in an ugly loss to the Houston Texans.
Although the Redskins were able to move the ball at certain points in their opener, turnovers and the lack of a vertical passing game hurt the Redskins against the Texans. After scoring only six points (thanks Darrel Young, that helped no one), the question now is: what should we expect from this offense moving forward?
Let's look at our advanced metrics to see if you should be buying the Redskins offense low or selling them for scraps while you still can.
Washington Redskins By the Numbers
One of the great things about numberFire is that we don't take numbers at face value. For instance, Robert Griffin III's passer rating of 96.7 indicates that he had a solid outing. 267 yards and no interceptions seems like a decent day at the office, right?
Not so fast. According to our Net Expected Points (NEP) metrics, the Redskins Passing Net Expected Points tally ranked 26th with a score of -7.21.
The running game looked better in the box score, as the team averaged 5.7 yards per carry. But according to our Adjusted Rushing NEP metric, the Redskins rank 23rd with a score of -1.97 after one week of football.
The offense as a whole are fifth worst in the league according to our metrics after Week 1.
Analyzing the Players
In the offseason, Robert Griffin III claimed that he would quiet his critics. As our own JJ Zachariason points out in this preseason look at RG3, the criticism has been valid. RG3's numbers plummeted in 2013, down from his electric rookie 2012 campaign.
In Week 1, Robert Griffin III seemed to be mired in the same poor quarterback play that we saw from him in 2013. Looking at our Net Expected Points (NEP) metrics, he ranked 26th against the Texans in the Passing Net Expected Points metric with a score of -7.21.
His Passing NEP per drop back was equally unimpressive, as his -0.18 score was 7th worst among quarterbacks.
The bottom line is that without the threat of the run, RGIII has been a below average quarterback. The Redskins need to reinstate some of the read-option offense that made him such a success in Year 1. Because this is the same story we saw a season ago.
As you might imagine, the Redskins receivers didn't grade out well according to our Net Expected Points metrics as well. Among the 41 receivers who had five or more catches in Week 1, Desean Jackson ranked 36th in terms of Reception NEP, with a score of 2.63. Pierre Garcon wasn't much better, as his 3.71 Reception NEP score was 31st among the same group.
It wasn't all bad for the Redskins offense though. The running game opened up good lanes for Alfred Morris, to the tune of 6.5 yards per carry. Among runners with at least 10 carries in Week 1, Alfred Morris ranked eighth with a Rushing Net Expected Points score of 1.84. His ball security issues need to be corrected, otherwise, Morris looked fantastic in the opener.
Change-of-pace back Roy Helu also looked good against the Texans. Although he only had four carries, his 3.94 Rushing NEP score was sixth best among all runners in Week 1, and his 0.98 Rushing NEP per touch ranked third.
Buy or Sell?
One game is certainly not enough of a sample size to predict that the entire season will be poor for the Redskins offense.
But one thing is clear: the Redskins have a lot of work to do to get to the elite, high-flying offense that some predicted in the offseason.
Let's see if they can bounce back against a poor Jacksonville team this week.