How far have we come since last year?

We’re a quarter of the way through the season and it is time to take stock.  Where are we now, and where have we been?  Last year, we had the bye week in week four, but after week 5, we were 3-1 and just like we are this year.

Last year at this time we just finished womping the Lions and it looked like the offense might have just made a huge leap forward.  Our only loss, strangely enough, was to the Giants.

So, 3-1 with a loss to the Giants, not much has changed right?  And yet so much has.  New coach, new system, but same old last place Eagles.

And the loss of Sean Taylor seems so long ago, and yet that may be the biggest difference in the future of the team this year.  At the start of the season, many people argued we only made the playoffs because of a late season surge of emotion for Sean.  I would argue that what we lost in Taylor was far worse than the gain we got from any emotional surge. And our quality is showing through this year.  Let’s compare some numbers:

Last year’s offense at this time was averaging 21.75 pts per game and 340 yardsper game.

This year’s offense is averaging 21.5 pts per game and 342 yards per game.

Last year’s defense at this time was giving up 13 pts/g and 268 yrds/g.

This year’s defense is giving up 20.2 pts/g and 315 yrds/g.

So does that mean we’re worse than last year?  Well, we are playing better opponents this year.  The Giants are better now than they were week 4 last year.  The Cowboys were widely considered the best team in the league, and the Saints and Cardinals had playoff aspirations at the beginning of the year.

Last year, the Dolphins were one of the worst teams in the history of the league, the Lions, while 3-0 coming in to play us, went on to have a bad year, the Eagles were pretty average.

Given that, its hard to argue we are any better or worse than we were last year.  Of course, it is unlikely that we’ll lose one of our best players to a similar tragedy, but we have have an aging defense prone to injury and losing Marcus Washington or Shawn Springs to a blown ACL might be no easier a blow to take.

Some might say I’m trying to be a downer but I consider being about the same place as we were last year to be a real victory.  First off, we went to the playoffs last year so going again seems like a pretty good start.  Second, a lot of people thought JZ couldn’t hack the job and didn’t belong.  Here he is coaching as well as a legend.  And last, unlike last year, this is a team that is still capable of growth.  We’re still learning our offensive system, and Jason Campbell is getting noticably better.  The offensive line is only improving in health and last year it was decimated. Last year’s offense got worse as the season progressed (until a noticable uptick from Todd Collins).  I don’t expect that to be repeated.

In other words, this is a team with the talent and current production to go 9-7 that could easily improve, and 10-6 or 11-5 is not out of the question.  Our schedule is about to go into the easiest section with games against Philly (who looked very human against Chicago), St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh before the bye.  It seems unlikely we’ll go into the bye worse than 6-3 and could easily be 7-2. That seems like the kind of momentum a team can build on even with a tough division schedule and games against the Ravens and a healthier Seahawks team coming up.

I like where we are.  I like where we’re going.  I even liked where we’ve been.  There is still a long way to go in the season, but with a quarter of it done, things feel pretty good. Hail Skins!

-DW

Topics: Quarter Season Report, Redskins

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  • Josh

    I tend to err on the side that stats don’t tell you that much about a team, but I can see how we’re around the same level as last year.

    But I certainly agree that even given that, there’s much to celebrate: new coach & staffing which has a negative effect regardless; improved playing in the 2nd half – how many games did Gibbs lose a lead near the end? Finishing strong speaks to stamina, will-power and soul. & it’s just more exciting, Gibbs had a monochrome power-offense, but Zorn, & Blanche, are proving a strategic dynamic play-callers, not afraid to flex to the team’s talents. Good stuff.

  • http://riggosrag.com/ Redskins Guy

    I’d suspect those offensive numbers suffered from the horrible performance in week 1.  And mister pessimist, weren’t you the guy who a week ago said we might as well pencil in two losses in a row to the Cowboys and Eagles?

    I agree that the key difference this year is hope and steady improvement from week to week.  It’s exciting to be a part of a team that’s getting better each and every week right before our eyes.  And it’s exciting to see players who aren’t stars step up out of nowhere and play their hearts out when one of our veterans goes down.

  • dwagner

    Yes, I was sure we weren’t going to beat Dallas, but our rookie coach showed he knows how to win on the road in a hostile environment after he wasn’t ready in New York.  I still think it is 50-50 whether we can get up enough to beat Philly.  But the rest of the schedule is light.  The 6-3 predicition includes a loss to Philly and a loss to Pitt.  But we can easily steal one of those or even both (though I think 8-1 is asking way too much).

    Pessimistic about a game is not the same as about a season.

    -DW

  • Pingback: Two Ways to Look at the Numbers « The Official Blog of The Washington Redskins

  • jeffxandra

    Just to follow up on the Week 1 comment, I’d say the best signs of hope are in JZ’s growth from his lackadaisical finish to the Giants game.

    Clearly, between the 4th Down pass against the Cards and the Cowboys game, he and his offensive coordinator are quickly adjusting to their new positions.

  • john harmy

    I JUST WISH AT THE END OF THE HALF THAT WE WOULD OF PLAYED DEFENCE LIKE WE HAD EARLIER IN THE GAME.  ONCE WE  WENT TO THAT PREVENT DEFENCE, I KNEW THEN THEY WOULD SCORE.  WE HAD SHUT THEM DOWN FOR MOST OF THE GAME, WHY GO TO THAT TYPE OF DEFENCE WHEN IT NEVER WORKS.
    I HAVE ENJOYED THIS SEASON SO FAR.  I WAS NOT TO SURE OF ZORN TAKING OVER THE TEAM, BUT HE HAS IMPRESSED ME SO FAR.

    JASON CAMPBELL IS REALLY GROWING UNDER ZORN’S LEADERSHIP.  I THINK YOU WILL BE LOOKING AT AN ALL-PRO QUARTERBACK NEXT YEAR WHEN HE GETS ALL THE WR’S INTO THE MIX.

  • http://riggosrag.com/ Redskins Guy

    Not to put too fine a point in it, but it DID work. Yeah, we gave them a FG at the half and a TD at the end, but at the half we made sure they didn’t tie up the game (which would have been a momentum killer) and at the end of the game, we knew a TD wasn’t enough and needed to kill the clock more than we needed to stop them.  I don’t often like the Prevent defense, but in those two situations, especially with our injured secondary, I think it was the right call. 

  • Godsfavoriteteam

    Hey Buddies, I just got back from a  business trip in Jamaica. While I was there I looked a an old friend who knew Ganja Wizards who cast good or bad spells on anyone for a price. My friend told me they (Wizards) were respected by natives and feared for their ability at casting spells. I pulled up a picture of the Redskin Logo, a picture of Zorn and a picture of Campbell and participated in a ritual known for hurling demonic bad luck on these men and the team. I wanted you guys to know so you could get ready for the downward spiral this organization is about to take AGAIN.  I was nice enough to warn you so I expect all of you to start being nice to me. Lets face it, you guys didn’t need the warning, Its being said that the redskins have only caught lightning in a bottle and the bottle will break this week. You guys are already use to that bottle busting every year anyway right. Ok gotta go. Its your turn to write back to me how you beat the Cowboys last week and I’m still angry and whatever…Oh yeah, Romo hasn’t won a playoff game and what else did I miss. I’m sure you’ll think of something else. You guys make my day with this shit. Hey Radio, Go to hell! Ok Everybody In!…AMERICAS FAVORITE TEAM on three! Ready, 1. 2. 3. AMERICAS FAVORITE TEAM!!!!!! NICE!!!

  • dwagner

    You only resort to wizards since you know the ‘Boys can’t do it themselves.  See you after the bye.

    -DW

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