Redskins Hope To Lead League In Takeaways/Fewest Turnovers

December 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson (26) intercepts a pass in front of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin (19) in the first quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Last season the Washington Redskins recorded 31 takeaways in the NFL (tied for fifth with Seattle and Atlanta). This season Mike Shanahan wants to continue the progress that they had between 2011 and 2012 (+10).

It was clear during the 2013 draft that the Redskins were not only focused on bringing in future, starters, but also bringing in players who could attack the ball.

Phillip Thomas for instance forced 13 interceptions and six fumbles during his time at Fresno State — a school in which he broke records and also led the nation in during his time there.

David Amerson, much like Phillip Thomas broke records and even set them for the ACC during his time at North Carolina State with 13 interceptions during 2012.

In a sense, Mike Shanahan might seem greedy with the want of more turnovers, but the fact is as we all know, turnovers win games the majority of the time. Not only can they result in instant points, but they can also setup the offense to score, and if all else fails, take precious time off the clock for opposing teams.

Before 2012, the Washington Redskins were notorious for being in the right place at the right time, but failing to bring the ball down with them, in 2012 that changed as the Redskins jumped from 24th in 2011 to 5th last season.

Dec 30, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) hands off to Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at FedEX Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports

While the Redskins are also focusing on keeping the turnover margin down in 2013, as they had 14 in 2012, Mike Shanahan is taking the approach by not only stressing defensive players to rip the ball out, but also for offensive players to hold the ball better — effectively killing two birds with one stone.

“We’re stressing stripping the ball. It doesn’t matter if it’s the quarterback carrying the ball, or if it’s a running back, wide receiver. Your scout team does a great job of trying to strip ‘em, trying to hold people up and gang tackle, somebody always reaching for the ball. That’s how you improve. You’ve got to emphasize it every day. It’s usually the biggest stat in football, that turnover ratio. Hopefully we can keep on getting better at it.”

Washington was best in the league with the lowest of 14 total turnovers on offense, a major jump from their ranking of 30th in 2011 with a total of 35 turnovers.

While Washington hopes to improve defensively in 2013 with takeaways, they also hope to lead the league yet again in fewest turnovers.