Connect with us

Infinite Sadness

The 15 Best-Worst Parts From Football Outsiders’ 2015 Redskins Preview


This has been a rough week for the Redskins, what with RGIII blaming the media for quoting him accurately and Jay Gruden leaving his franchise QB out there to die. But the thing is, it was pretty rough already. Case in point, read the highlights from Mike Tanier’s (@MikeTanier) excellent Redskins essay in this year’s Football Outsiders Almanac.

I’ve pulled out 15 parts from it (see below), and totally encourage you to buy the book, which I’ve done every summer for nearly a decade. It’s a great resource for A) knowing about the NFL in general on a deeper level, B) getting a handle on expected performance for skill position/fantasy players and C) realizing just how incredibly shitty your favorite team is relative to all of the others. Enjoy.

1. “Checking back in on the Redskins after a few months away is like returning home for your high school reunion and discovering that no one has changed.”

2. “The three-headed quarterback controversy, the closest thing science will ever create to a perpetual motion machine, is back … Jay Gruden, who ended every press conference in his rookie season as head coach by stepping on a rake and thwapping himself in the head, is also back. Dan Snyder is back, because owners cannot be fired.”

3. “The Redskins used to make the same mistake every year. Now they spend three years prolonging the same mistake. It’s a subtle difference.”

4. “A December article on [new GM Scot] McCloughan by ESPN The Magazine’s Seth Wickersham became the defining source text for McCloughan. Unemployed at the time of Wickersham’s profile, McCloughan suddenly became a buzzy name in media and fan circles. Snyder may well have had McCloughan on
his radar before the article was published, but if there is any owner in the NFL likely to hire a new general manager based on something he read in a magazine, it’s Snyder.”

5. “With Griffin in a state of arrested development, the Redskins have virtually nothing to show for three consecutive drafts except Alfred Morris and some oft-injured peripherals like [Jordan] Reed.”

6. “While division rivals acquired instant difference makers like Odell Beckham and Zack Martin in last year’s draft, the Redskins sat out the first round, then grabbed a pair of prospects so unimpressive (Trent Murphy and Morgan Moses) that they doubled down at the same positions this year.”

7. “With minimal star power and an almost complete dearth of mid-tier talent, the 2014 Redskins finished 27th or lower in DVOA on offense, defense, special teams, passing offense, passing defense, adjusted sack rank on offense, and a wide variety of split categories.”

8. “The veteran [free agency signings] will help the Redskins become more competitive, but many of the acquisitions were the kind an expansion team makes just to prevent weekly embarrassment.”

9. “There’s not a playoff-caliber unit on the depth chart, and there’s a lingering sense of dysfunctionality between the underwater-mortgage quarterback and the coach who was supposed to breathe fresh air into the organization but spent 2014 recycling the previous year’s lingering odor.”

10. “Every day in the offseason, Gruden woke, brushed his teeth, perhaps savored a soft-boiled egg, then announced to the Washington media that Robert Griffin is still the Redskins quarterback, as of right now. It was like entering the codes on Lost: if Gruden did not reaffirm Griffin’s status daily, complete with a passive-aggressive undermining clause at the end of the sentence (if the season started today, if he continues to make progress, If Robert and I were the last two humans on earth), the global infrastructure would crumble.”

11. “Gruden managed his three quarterbacks last year as if he was taking requests from message board trolls.”

12. “Gruden coached the end of the [Week 15 Giants] game like he was the Madden AI, not an intelligent adult whose decisions are supposed to achieve some kind of comprehensible goal.”

13. “Griffin now has the footwork of a newborn baby deer, with legs sprawling in all directions when he attempts basic maneuvers in or out of the pocket. His stat sheet for 2014 was like a straw-man argument against completion percentage as a measure of quality. Griffin completed 68.7 percent of his passes, which would rank in the all-time top 20 if he had played a little more. But Griffin led the NFL in failed completion rate: exactly one-third (47 of 149) of his completions were essentially useless.”

14. “[New offensive line coach Bill] Callahan has the resume of an interim head coach if Snyder and McCloughan decide enough is enough after Thanksgiving.”

15. “All teams rely on multiple coaches, players and execs for success, of course. Only Washington is relying on so many people with an obvious capacity for failure.”

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. SiPhi

    August 21, 2015 at 2:07 PM

    Good read. Completely disagree with #9 though. Our RB core with Alfred, Matt Jones, Darrell Young, and Thompson/Williams is a playoff caliber unit.

  2. ThisGuy

    August 21, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    The one thing the ‘Skins do well is suck so thoroughly, top to bottom, in and out, consistently, over and over again, in new and creative ways. No one does sucking like the ‘Skins do sucking.

    • SiPhi

      August 21, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      Idk man there’s some pretty impressive “actresses” out there…..whats that? We’re talking strictly football? Yeah no one comes close. Skins have been bad for basically my entire life. If we have another three win season, then we’ll match the number of wins we had Robert’s rookie season! (10-38 is good right?)

  3. AFineMessi

    August 22, 2015 at 12:15 AM

    Tress Way: TEAM MVP!

  4. Ketel on Rocks

    August 22, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    I gotta be honest… That whole RGIII “I’m the best QB” thing was a total non-story. I got what he meant about the mindset he needed to have, and he was totally right that it was pure clickbait. He should know better by now to watch his words, but that was a bullshit nothing-to-see-here story.

    Anyhoo, this team sucks from top to bottom, and I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they win 5 games this year. I’d write more, but Giffin and Gruden will probably be gone next year and it’s on to the next goat rodeo. So what’s the point?

  5. Paul

    August 22, 2015 at 1:18 PM

    It’s funny how hysterical stone cold facts can be……

  6. Doc

    August 24, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    12. “Gruden coached the end of the [Week 15 Giants] game like he was the Madden AI, not an intelligent adult whose decisions are supposed to achieve some kind of comprehensible goal.”

    Love this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Infinite Sadness