Here is what you need to know on this Friday, October 12, two days before the Redskins take on the 4-1 Vikings at FedEx Field.
How much do third-down conversions matter?
Later today we’re going to take a closer look at the Redskins’ problems converting third down. Those issues have been front and center at Redskins Park this week. But how much have they really hampered the Redskins?
According to Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats, even though the Redskins own the league’s worst third-down conversion rate at 23 percent they still get a first down on 68 percent of their series. In other words, every time they have the ball first and 10 they end up getting a first down at some point in that series 68 percent of the time. That’s right at the league average. They just get their first downs on first- and second-down plays instead of waiting to get them on third down.
Of course, if they could convert on third down at a better rate they could improve on that 68 percent series conversion rate and control the ball (and keep their 26th-ranked defense off the field) even more. But if they continue to get their current average of 22 first downs per game they will not be in bad shape.
One more interesting stat in Burke’s article is that league wide in 2011, series that started with a pass eventually ended up with the team getting a first down 72 percent of the time while running on first and 10 resulted in a 66 percent series conversion rate. I’ll speculate here and say that the passing conversion rate goes up when your quarterback leads the league in completion percentage at 69.1 as does Robert Griffin III. The “pound it on the ground” crowd, take note!
Is Garçon still hobbled?
Here is what Kyle Shanahan had to say yesterday about the health of wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
“He’s battling it, I can tell. You can see him on the practice field and stuff and in the games that it hurts him to run. He has a lingering foot problem and it does hurt him. He’s been able to play through it here the last couple weeks and it helps us having him out there, but no, I don’t think he’s 100 percent. I appreciate him battling through it and being out there for us. I just hope that each week it gets better.”
Wow, it sure does seem like Pierre is in bad shape. It hurts him to run and that is what a wide receiver does. Of course, information we get about injuries can be, well, at variance with the truth.
I’m going to engage in some speculation here and go out on a limb but what I take from that is that Garçon is feeling much, much better. After weeks of getting fuzzy information in limited doses we are all of a sudden given some details about the condition of the $42 million receiver. It has the look and feel of a giant sandbag.
Again, sheer speculation on my part but I am going to call Kyle’s bluff and say that it is entirely possible that Garçon is feeling fine and is ready to break out and have a big game.
11:50—Practice (closed to the media after first 30 minutes)
After practice (approx. 1:30)—Mike Shanahan news conference and open locker room
In case you missed it
Jim Haslett said that Ryan Kerrigan is getting “hit, banged, and chipped”.
The game plan will be about the same with Cousins as it would be with RG3.
Days until: Vikings @ Redskins 2; RG3’s first division game @ Giants 9; Thanksgiving Redskins @ Cowboys 41; Ravens @ Redskins 58