A couple weeks back, I had a chance to finish the two games that I missed during the season, giving me the full data for the 2010 Redskins season. My attempts to quantify something statistically for every Redskins player has given me three different tables: coverage, QB pressure, and the ultra complicated Lineman Yard Average table.
The coverage tables and QB Pressure tables have been around for years here at Redskins Hog Heaven. Lineman Yard Average debuted last year as a way to determine which Redskins OLman were responsible for creating the most yards for their backs. I still have one modification to make: adding a bonus for a short TD plunge. I will release what I have so far down here.
|Player||Targets||Completions||Completion %||Successes||Success %||Total Yards vs||Yds per Tgt|
Carlos Rogers rebounded from a very difficult 2009 season, but he didn’t rebound quite to his established career highs in 2007 and 2008. If this is the end of Carlos Rogers in Washington, as it appears to be, he joins Champ Bailey, Shawn Springs, and Fred Smoot as the only Redskins corners in the past ten years with multiple 7+ (above average) AV seasons. Rogers simply allowed too many completions this year to be a great corner (67.5% as a slot cover guy is roughly the eqivelent of 61% on the outside). It was a career high in terms of completions against for Rogers. But in terms of yards against per pass and first downs against, Rogers improved from 2009.
DeAngelo Hall will look to join that group next season. Hall really improved over the second half of the season at making stops in the passing game after the catch, something that Rogers had excelled at for years. It’s something that you have to do as a zone coverage corner, and this is the first evidence that DeAngelo Hall has shown that he can limit the damage after a completed pass. Hall had two problems that were never corrected: he got beat deep way too often in 2010, starting against Indianapolis and continuing right through the final game against New York, and nadiring against Tampa Bay in the rain. Beyond that, Hall gave up an astounding amount of completions this year — many of them were underneath routes designed to challenge his tackling — pretty much all of them were uncontested. Hall did set a career high for passes defensed and pass defeats, so in a lot of ways, this was the best DeAngelo Hall season we’ve seen, maybe ever. I’m not so worried about the getting beat deep: Hall’s YPA against will regress in 2011. But he’s not a good cover corner, and really, Hall doesn’t really “make” plays against the pass.
It’s hard to say a lot more positive about Phillip Buchanon’s season than has already been said. He was the Redskins best cover corner last year, enjoying a career year in 2010 as a ninth year NFL veteran. If the Redskins choose to bring him back, they cannot expect the same performance. However, it would be resonable to expect Buchanon to be a non-liability in a starting role if the Redskins have to replace Kevin Barnes for any stretch of time. Barnes, you’ll see if you look at the above chart, was fantastic last year at the end of the season. The sample, however, was a mere 15 passes. That’s not anything substancial to tell. But put another way: if Barnes gave up seven consecutive first down completions of exactly 15 yards against to end the 2010 season, he would have still been the Redskins best corner in a sample of 22 passes. That’s a lot of leeway for regression, while still having a very valuable player. Byron Westbrook performed about as expected.
The safeties were an unmittigated disaster for the Redskins last year. LaRon Landry was very, very good, although in the middle of the season before he was injured, he got caught looking into the backfield and was beat deep a few too many times, all between the Indianapolis game and the Monday Night Massacre by the Eagles. Aside from Landry, the Redskins had a declining Reed Doughty, who played much of the season injured and overmatched. Doughty was far better than the alternatives of Kareem Moore (who the coaching staff really, truly believed in), and Macho Harris (who nobody really believed in). For next year, the tandem of Landry and Atogwe will do a better job than a tandem of Landry and Doughty, but be aware that Atogwe really isn’t a great coverage player either. By default, he may be the best coverage safety the Redskins have. But this is a unit that is going to go as Landry does. If paired together, Atogwe and Doughty will be a below average safety duo, although far beyond what the Redskins put on the field the second half of this season.
The final piece of a 3-4 coverage unit is strong inside linebackers who can run sideline to sideline and blanket the tight ends. Opposing tight ends struggled greatly against London Fletcher, who is preposterously underrated against the pass. Fletcher is still one of the best coverage backers in the game. Rocky McIntosh, on the other hand, was a nice, easy target to throw against for opposing quarterbacks. I started the season by noting how many times McIntosh was out of position. By the end of the season, it was far easier to make note of all the things that McIntosh was doing correctly. Those occurences weren’t numerous, but usually came when he was making quick, simple reads, and playing the ball aggressively (though Rocky still committed more errors of the over-aggressive sort than any other player on the defense — he was second to Kareem Moore in total minuses this season). The Redskins simply can’t be as weak in the middle of the defense as they were with Rocky last year, so it’s safe to say he’s seen his last snap as a Redskin.
Overall, the coverage units have to get better in 2010, and the Atogwe signing is likely to be both a help and a hinderence in this respect. Having Atogwe on board likely means that another 2010 can’t happen, and more directly, that Kareem Moore is being replaced by a much better and proven player. The selection of DeJon Gomes gives the Redskins an all around safety prospect with the chance to become a great all around safety and the coverage player they’ve been lacking. But Gomes isn’t expected to play much at all as a rookie, so 2011 may only be a marginal upgrade over 2010 on the coverage end. The results, however, have a chance to improve immensely with much of the same personnel. But that opportunity will rely heavily on the play of the front seven.
QB Pressure Chart
|Player||Hurries||Hits||Bats (at LOS)||Times Held||Hits/Hurr/Holds|
|Team Sack Total (16 Gs)||29|
Brian Orakpo was the leader in the clubhouse in hurrying passers and times being held, but Orakpo’s second season can only be viewed as a disappointment for many reasons. First off all, Brian did not meaningfully contribute in any facet of the game beyond rushing the passer, where he was typically quite good. His coverage improved from 2009 to decent in 2010. He improved as a run defender over the course of this season, and was quite good against the run by the end of the year, but overall was a net negative in both categories. Furthermore, Orakpo doesn’t knock down the quarterback often enough. That’s not going to be reflected in his sack totals: as hits and hurries are equally predictive of future sacks, and Orakpo gets a lot of pressure on opposing passers. Problem is though, Orakpo’s inability to make obvious strides in terms of pass rush as a sophomore sets up a situation where he’s in a really important year three. If Orakpo is going to be a (deserving) perennial pro bowler, there has to be a major step forward in 2011. Want proof? After heading to the pro bowl again in 2010, Brian Orakpo becomes the fifth Redskins LB in ten seasons to record two years at “pro bowl” level (defined by 9 or more AV). He joins London Fletcher, Marcus Washington, LaVar Arrington, and most troublingly, Lemar Marshall.
One of the reasons that the Ryan Kerrigan pick makes so much sense is that he’s the replacement in the defense for Andre Carter, who was released after this season. Carter had three things going against him: he was aging, costly, and never really fit this defense particularly well. He lost his starting job at midseason. But the Redskins simply weren’t able to replace Andre Carter’s production when rushing the passer after taking him out of the lineup. The Redskins became a worse team when he was released. And the Kerrigan selection was the first move that suggested that the Redskins could replace Carter’s production in the lineup. Carter had 8 QB hits by my count, which made him the team leader in such an important statistic. In many ways, Andre Carter is still a better player than Brian Orakpo. Even in the 3-4 defense. The difference is the Redskins see Orakpo as the cornerstone of the defense in the future, and they saw Carter as old, dead weight.
Just five other players on the Redskins in 2011 managed any meaningful accumulation of pass pressure in 2010. One, of course, was Albert Haynesworth, who was the only other player in the Carter-Orakpo stratosphere of pass rushing production per snap. The other four were package players: Lorenzo Alexander, Vonnie Holliday, Adam Carriker, and LaRon Landry. Three of the five were defensive linemen: Haynesworth, Holliday, and Carriker, and it’s almost needless to say that the Redskins could have played these three linemen together all season, they could have gotten after passers. The problems wasn’t that the Redskins had a lot of average rushers on their team, it was that they played a number of players who just couldn’t get after the passer at all. Kedric Golston, Ma’ake Kemoeatu, and Phillip Daniels all simply did not have the skill sets to split the offensive lineman and attack passers. Playing one of them on any down would have hindered the ability to get after the passer, but the Redskins often played with two or all of these three in the game (Golston and Kemo were starters most of the season, and Daniels was the first guy in off the bench for Carriker). Simply put, the Redskins couldn’t get after the passer, and the interior DL, sans Haynesworth, was the primary issue.
Lineman Yard Average Chart
|Week||Trent Williams||Heyer||Lichtensteiger||Dockery||Rabach||Hicks||Montgomery||Brown||Sellers||Cooley||Fred Davis||Paulsen|
Jammal Brown “won” LYA for the 2010 season, but Kory Lichtensteiger had the best second half split of any lineman in run blocking (Dockery’s sample size in the second half of the year was a single run). Neither Dockery or Artis Hicks is expected back, although Hicks was a terrific run blocker for the first half of the season, he was always dreadful against the pass. The good news was that another player showed terrific improvement in run blocking over the course of the season, and I’m talking about the cornerstone of the offensive line, left tackle Trent Williams. In the second half of the season, the Redskins could finally run left once again.
Stephon Heyer is probably most underrated right now by the fact that I haven’t adjusted for successful goal line plays, as he seemed to do most of his top work on the goal line this year. Heyer’s playing time was limited in the second half of the year, but he had a number of great games, and a year after doing quite well in LYA, he figures to look better than the 4.1 number he is showing right now. Oddly, Heyer performed poorly against Jacksonville, and against Tennessee, which were the two Redskin wins in the second half of the year. The right guard position, which Heyer played against the Titans, was a trouble spot in the second half of the season in run blocking, although Will Montgomery was a huge upgrade against the pass over Artis Hicks. And with Hicks’ injuries, it’s doubtful he could have sustained that high LYA figure in the second half anyway.
Casey Rabach had an odd season in 2010. He’s still really dreadful against the pass, and quite useful on screens. Nothing has changed there. It’s hard to evaluate his run blocking though, because in the context of the unit, he actually did a pretty good job controlling the area that scouts call “the triangle” (either 2 DTs and the MLB, or the NT and 2 ILBs). Rabach was always prone to getting destroyed in one on one situations, but for the first time in the last three years, there were probably worse centers in football than Casey Rabach. The Redskins don’t have a really obvious long term solution at center staring them in the face, so Rabach, in all of his “glory”, could be back in 2011. He would not be as difficult to replace, however, as the Redskins seem to believe: Will Montgomery is simply a better Center at this point in their respective careers than Casey Rabach is.
The last thing I want to alert you to is how well the tight ends blocked against the run this year. A big difference between the inability for Sherm Lewis’ running game to get on the edge, and Kyle Shanahan’s ability to put Ryan Torain on the edge seemingly any time he wanted was the ability of the Redskins TEs to control the edge. Shanahan used Chris Cooley and Fred Davis plenty as blockers in the passing game. This was a pretty good use of Davis’ versatile skill set, but although Chris Cooley is quite willing to help the offense anyway he can, he’s a quantity over quality receiver, and needs to be out in the passing routes as often as a wide receiver. Cooley has not been the same player since Chris Samuels went down and the Redskins OL has struggled. Get him out in the patterns, or he has to be traded so Fred Davis, who is much better in the current scheme, can play.
When you consider that last season, the Redskins had just a couple of guys over 4 LYA for the season (Mike Williams, Mike Sellers, and Stephon Heyer were the only ones, I believe), it is remarkable that pretty much the whole team was over this season. That means after multiple years of zone blocking, the Redskins are becoming more adept at it. They are still getting beat in one on one situations too often, but Ryan Torain doesn’t help that fact much, and they can make a similar improvement (from good to great) next season.