Regular readers know I kneel at the stat-laden altar of Football Outsiders, especially when it comes to their Almanac.* In a previous post, upon skimming a soft copy of this year’s model, I shared their thoughts on Jason Campbell and Colt Brennan. But now that I’ve perused the hard copy (warning: for serious NFL fans only), here are 10 Redskins-related things I learned — or at least had reinforced — from reading:
1. Chris Samuels’ health is really important. He missed four games last year, and the offense posted its three worst offensive games therein.
2. Carlos Rogers does NOT lead the NFL in dropped interceptions over the past two years. He only has five drops, while four others have dropped six or more. Of course, he did miss nine games in ’07 …
3. DeAngelo Hall’s improvement may be a fiction. Among the QBs he faced while struggling for Oakland: Jay Cutler, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan. Among the QBs he faced while shining for Washington: Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Shaun Hill.
4. The offense should line up in the shotgun more often. Campbell posted a 35.6 percent DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) in 155 attempts vs. a 9.1 percent in all others. This is a drastic difference.
5. Teams should stop zone blitzing the Skins. They faced more zone blitz than anyone but shredded it for an NFC-best 89.1 percent DVOA.
6. The wideouts were awful. Exhibit A: Santana Moss dropped 12 passes. Exhibit B: Malcolm Kelly, Devin Thomas and Fred Davis’ catch rate was 42 percent. Exhibit C: Chris Cooley was double-teamed on nearly every play.
7. The special teams were awful. The unit ranked 25th overall. Select lowlights: Shaun Suisham ranked 24th on kickoffs, Ryan Plackemeier ranked 31st on punts, and Antwaan Randle El ranked 40th on punt returns.
8. The defense was awesome. They didn’t create many turnovers, but they did force three-and-outs an NFL-best 32.7 percent of the time.
9. Forget Mike Sellers and Ladell Betts near the goal line. Clinton Portis’ paperwork includes a red zone DVOA of 28.9 percent last year.
10. Albert Haynesworth will get to that quarterback. Despite facing constant double teams, Haynesworth ranked sixth in quarterback hits.
* Support a movement by ordering the book. It’s great for fantasy too.