Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 5/4/12
By Adam Dobrowolski
Cold, Hard Football Facts Diagnostician
 
Another year, another disaster in the Daniel Snyder Era. Second-year head coach Mike Shanahan decided it was fine to star the year with a quarterback battle between Rex Grossman and John Beck. Meanwhile, the team had no true defensive line studs to recover from the Albert Haynesworth debacle.
 
Sure, the team started 2-0 and 3-1. However, that’s a staple of a Shanahan coached team, and it rarely works out in his favor. The Redskins offense predictably collapsed, and the team finished an uninspiring 5-11 on the season.
 
The 2011 season did nothing more than add to the frustration for a fanbase that hasn’t seen a Redskins team win more than 10 games since 1991, a full two-decade span. Yikes.
 
Along the way, Daniel Snyder continues to look like a clueless owner, and the recent trade up to the second overall spot in the 2012 NFL Draft led to the acquistion of super-prospect QB Robert Griffin III, but did little to relieve the fans’ angst. No matter what happens with their draft picks, the Redskins have a long way to go before they start playing up to the standard of their three fellow NFC East competitors.
 
The 2011 storyline: Rex Grossman and John Beck were predictably mediocre. Despite a 3-1 record at the bye, and even some (hilariously ridiculous) hype for a potential division crown, the Redskins offense stumbled, leading to a 2-10 finish. The team didn’t score more than 28 points in a single game all season. It sets up another desperate offseason move that could cripple the franchise for longer.
 
Hey, at least they swept the Super Bowl champions!
 
The Vital Signs
Coach (record): Mike Shanahan (11-21 with Redskins, 157-119 overall)
2011 record: 5-11 (18.0 PPG – 22.9 PPG)
Record against the spread: 7-9
Record vs. Quality Opponents: 2-2 (21.4 PPG – 27.2 PPG)
Record last five seasons: 32-48 (.400)
Best Quality Stat in 2011: Quality Standings (t-6th)
Worst Quality Stat in 2011: Scoreability and Real Quarterback Rating (28th)

ALL QUALITY STATS Overall QS SCOR BEND RPYPA DRPYPA QBR DQBR OPR DPR PRD OHI DHI REL 26 6(t) 28 22 16 22 28 23 27 24 26 22 13 23  Overall =Overall position in Quality Stats Power Rankings; QS= Quality Standings; SCOR = Scorability; Bend = Bendability; RPYPA = Real Passing Yards Per Attempt; DRPYPA = Defensive Real Passing; QBR = Real Quarterback Rating; DQBR = Defensive Real Quarterback Rating; OPR = Offensive Passer Rating; DPR = Defensive Passer Rating; PRD = Passer Rating Differential; OHI = Offensive Hog Index; DHI = Defensive Hog Index; REL = Relativity Index.
 
Statistical curiosity of 2011: The 2-0 start turned disaster is nothing new for Mike Shanahan. For those curious about his track record since John Elway retired, Shanahan’s team started the season 2-0 six times since 1999. Of the six seasons, only 2003 Broncos made the postseason (and that team lost 41-10 in the Wild Card round to the Colts.) Instead, his teams have a combined 37-43 in the other five seasons (and 47-49 record overall). Add in the 2006 collapse, where the Broncos started 7-2, yet missed the playoffs at 9-7, and it’s safe to say that no strong start is safe under Mike Shanahan.
 
Best game of 2011: 23-10 at New York Giants (Week 15). Washington can claim only one accomplish worth boasting about, and that’s a regular season sweep over the Giants. The first win came during the season opener in Maryland, when the team scored a season-high 28 points and soundly dominated the G-Men in the second half. The encouraging win proved to have little impacton the season.
 
However, the Week 15 win was a dominant one throughout, and it came on the road against a Giants team fresh off a huge win for the Dallas Cowboys. There’s reason to believe the Giants simply suffered from a massive letdown game, but Redskins fans need some hope to cling to, and this game offered it. Washington limited the otherwise efficient Eli Manning to 23-of-40 passing for 257 yards and three interceptions.
 
Worst game of 2011: 23-0 v. Buffalo Bills in Toronto (Week 8). Washington puts up a fresh smelly egg against the team that allowed 434 points in its other 15 games (28.9 PPG). Not bad, John Beck.
 
The Bills dominated much more than the score would indicate. Fred Jackson ran for over 120 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed an efficient 21 of 27 passes for 262 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Meanwhile, Beck completed 20 of 33 passes for 208 yards and two interceptions. Oh, and he was sacked 10 times. Yes, against the same team that had 19 sacks in its other 15 games, which means this game alone accounted for 34.5 percent of all the sacks the Bills produced in 2011.
 
It doesn’t help the Redskins look or feel any better when you consider the Bills went 1-8 after this game and allowed at least 35 points four times in that span. Washington's effort may be the worst offensive performance from any team during the 2011 season.
 
Strength: Edge rush. Washington drafted Brian Orakpo in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, and he already has 28.5 sacks in three seasons (with at least 8.5 sacks in each season). Then, they grabbed Ryan Kerrigan in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and he totaled 7.5 sacks as a rookie. Bottom line, the Redskins should have a nice 1-2 pass rushing punch on the edge of their 3-4 defense for years to come.
 
Now imagine what can open up for those two if the defensive line commands more attention.
 
Weakness: Passing offense. Front office. Let’s quickly forget the steaming bowl of mediocrity that was Rex Grossman and John Beck last year. Their primary two targets wide out were Jabar Gaffney (31) and Santana Moss (32). Sandwiched between those two players on the season receptions list was a tight end (Fred Davis) and a rookie running back (Roy Helu).
 
While we understand that receivers can be flashy and gaudy, yet relatively unimportant to the championship-building process, there needs to be at least some options to spread out the passing out and keep opposing defenses guessing. Receivers can do a good job of changing the way defenses attack an offense, if nothing else paramount to picking a team out up from the doldrums of mediocrity. One standout option would be helpful, especially when production already lacks under center.

Of course, as the Quality Stats indicate, the rest of the team isn't much better. Much of that has to do with who's at the top, owner Daniel Snyder. He consistently made free agent splashes over the years that failed. He does the exact opposite of what a reasonable and rational NFL owner would do.
 
General off-season strategy/overview: Accept that a major risk was made to trade up to get Robert Griffin III. Washington swapped first-round picks this year and gave up two more first-rounders and a second-rounder to move up to the second spot in the 2012 NFL Draft.
 
Judging by precedent in college football (using games played with 20+ passes, completion percentage, interception percentage and passing yards per attempt), both No. 1 pick Andrew Luck and Griffin look like some of the best bets to succeed at quarterback in recent memory. Perhaps it may work out after all. Finally.
 
Other than that, the Redskins need to finally find a standout receiver. They ignored the position in the draft and have made only tepid efforts in free agency to fill the void. Pierre Garcon was an overpriced free-agent option that desperate teams make, and he hasn’t even proven to be consistent enough to be a legitimate top-flight option anyways.
 
Also, both lines need more help. There’s nothing spectacular on either side, and it certainly won’t help someone like Griffin if he’s constantly being hassled in the pocket. Offensive line was a big target in the draft (three picks on the OL). Furthermore, the team needs to improve in the secondary and at inside linebacker. Basically, you might notice a trend here: the Redskins need a lot of help in a lot of places.
 
The worst part about giving up such a huge amount to trade up in the 2012 draft: there are so many needs on this roster, yet so few options via the draft over the next few years.
 
Totally premature 2012 diagnosis: Let’s quickly play around with the process of elimination. The Giants should be better in the regular season than they were in their 9-7 Super Bowl-winning season of 2011. The Eagles also should improve in the standings: they were a good team in 2011 that simply failed to live up to its talent. The Cowboys aren’t such the lock, but they seem just a few steps away from being a true playoff threat. The Redskins … well, they have very little to offer besides an insanely promising rookie quarterback and wickedly talented pair of outside linebackers.
 
Prepare for another long year, Redskins fans. Maybe 7-9 and a spectacular rookie season from Griffin will give the franchise some legitimate hope, kind of like Cam Newton did last season in Carolina. However, that’s the best possible scenario.

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