By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
20 questions in 20 days
As we count down to the first game of the Redskins’ season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.
Question 11: Can the Redskins flip their turnover ratio?
The background: The 2011 Redskins were tied for 30th in the NFL last year with a minus-14 turnover ratio. They suffered on both ends of the equation. They gave the ball up 35 times on interceptions (24) and fumbles (11). They managed to pilfer just 13 passes and recover eight fumbles. Bottom line, it’s hard to win games when you are giving the team an average on one net additional possession game. Improvement for the 2012 Redskins has to start here. A run to a .500 record or better just isn't going to happen if they are again double digits in the hole in giveaway-takeaway.
Tandler: I think that the Redskins can improve on the giveaway part of the turnover formula even with a rookie quarterback at the helm. Robert Griffin III has gone the whole preseason without coming close to throwing an interception. He is not going to duplicate that in 16 regular season games but he is accurate and while he will make mistakes we haven’t seen him make any of the “why did he throw that pass there” variety. I’m not so sure how much they can improve on takeaways. During the preseason they have continued their maddening propensity to drop potential interceptions that are right in their hands. Even newcomers like Richard Crawford and Bryan Kehl have caught the “hands of stone” malady. The obviously need to do better here if they are going to improve their turnover numbers.
El-Bashir: I also see the potential for improvement in this department. The question is how much? First, I agree with Rich about Griffin’s crucial role in reversing the trend. Although the rookie quarterback lost two fumbles in three preseason games, he did not throw an interception. He also didn’t pass much (31 attempts) but from the little we witnessed, it’s clear he’ll be more careful with the ball than his pickoff prone predecessor. Rex Grossman ranked tied for the third most interceptions in 2011 with 20; I‘d be surprised of Griffin even approaches that figure. DeAngelo Hall could be another factor in flipping the turnover ration. If he lines up, as expected, as a nickel corner, that will give him more opportunities for interceptions. He picked off three passes last season, a drop from six in 2010.
20 questions in 20 days
Jammal Brown play this year?
#19 Aug.21—Will Chris Cooley make the team?
#18 Aug. 22—Can Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
#17 Aug. 23—Is Garçon a No. 1 receiver?
#16 Aug. 24—Can Trent Williams go from good to great?
#15 Aug. 25—Can DeAngelo Hall be a defensive playmaker?
#14 Aug. 26—Can Santana Moss regain his old form?
#13 Aug. 27—Can Orakpo post 15 sacks?
#12 Yesterday—Will Leonard Hankerson break out?
#11 Today—Can the Redskins flip their turnover ratio?
#10 Tomorrow—How much can Hightower contribute this year?
#9 Friday—Was making Billy Cundiff the kicker a good move?