A quick look at the Washington Redskins, the Week 11 opponent for the New York Jets in this upcoming season.
This coming season, the New York Jets will play their fourth and final game against the NFC East in Week 11. They’ll head down I-95 to the DMV and take on the Washington Redskins.
The real games are closing in fast, and our 2019 Jets opponent preview series keeps churning forward. Let’s take a dive into the offseason of the Redskins.
Dec. 4, 2011 (Week 13): Redskins 19 @ Jets 34
In 2011, the Jets played three of their final five games against NFC East foes. The first of that trio was a Week 13 date with the Redskins in Landover, which is currently New York’s most recent visit to FedEx Field.
It was a roller coaster ride, but the Jets ended up pulling out the victory over a four-win Redskins team that they desperately needed.
After Washington went up early, the Jets tied the score on three separate occasions until they finally pushed through and took the lead in the fourth quarter. Shonn Greene scored three touchdowns to power the victory, the most scores he would ever have in a single road game.
The 34 points scored by the Jets in this game would be their best total in a road game until the final week of 2014 when Geno Smith led the Jets to a 37-24 win over the Dolphins in Miami.
Oct. 18, 2015 (Week 6): Redskins 20 @ Jets 34
Four years later, the Jets and Redskins met up in the Meadowlands, and the result was eerily similar to their last meeting.
Just like they did back in 2011, the Jets trailed the Redskins 10-13 at halftime. It felt like the Jets were in control of the game, but a trio of first-half turnovers allowed Washington to swipe the lead.
In the second half, the Jets took better care of the ball, not giving it away a single time. With the football safely secured, Gang Green took over the game.
The Jets scored on their first four drives of the second half, tallying 24 unanswered points to seize the lead and the victory.
Chris Ivory ran wild for 146 yards, while Brandon Marshall kept the chains moving through the air with 111 receiving yards.
New York out-gained the Redskins by 249 total yards, a mark that currently stands as the 13th-best in franchise history. It was their widest margin since a 2009 loss to the Dolphins.
New York improved to 4-1, their best start since kicking off the 2010 season with the same record.
The Redskins, on the other hand, fell to 2-4. However, following the loss to the Jets, they rallied to finish the season 9-7 and win the NFC East. It remains their most recent playoff appearance.
Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback (Round 1, Pick 15) — Washington needed a new face at quarterback after Alex Smith’s devastating injury, and their answer fell into their laps at No. 15. The Redskins didn’t even need to move from their initial draft position to get Dwayne Haskins, the man most viewed as the draft’s second-best quarterback. He’ll be competing with Colt McCoy and the newly-added Case Keenum for the Week 1 starting job.
Case Keenum, Quarterback (FA: Denver) — The Broncos took a gamble on Case Keenum following his breakout 2017 season in Minnesota, but it didn’t pay off. He ranked 29th out of 33 qualifiers in passer rating (81.6) and 30th in yards per attempt (6.6), gaining more yards per pass than only Joe Flacco, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen. He’ll get a shot at redemption in Washington, hoping to beat out Haskins and McCoy for the Week 1 gig.
Montez Sweat, EDGE (Round 1, Pick 26) — The Redskins traded up with the Colts to get back into the first round and grab Montez Sweat, who racked up 22.5 sacks over his final two seasons at Mississippi State.
Landon Collins, Safety (FA: NY Giants) — Washington’s divisional rivals curiously chose not to retain their star safety, and the Redskins jumped on the opportunity to land the three-time Pro Bowler. Landon Collins is one of only three safeties with 20+ tackles for loss and 30+ passes defended since 2015, along with Tyrann Mathieu and Malcolm Jenkins.
Preston Smith, Outside Linebacker (FA: Green Bay) — The Redskins lost a key piece of their pass rush to the Packers, as Preston Smith took a four-year, $52 million deal to head north.
Smith never missed a game in his four years with the Redskins. He only offered up 4.0 sacks in 2018, but he collected 24.5 over his career with the team. However, that total still ranked only 39th in the league from 2015-18, so perhaps the Redskins were smart to pass on paying big money to a player who hasn’t produced like a star.
Jamison Crowder, Wide Receiver (FA: NY Jets) — Jamison Crowder led the Redskins in receiving yards per game in each of the last two seasons, but decided to head up the east coast in search of greener pastures with the Jets.
In his Redskins career, Crowder averaged 11.8 yards per reception on a 67.2% catch rate. Since 2015, the only other wide receivers with at least 300 targets owning numbers of 11.8+ yards per catch and a 67%+ catch rate are Keenan Allen, Michael Thomas, Doug Baldwin, Tyreek Hill, and Adam Thielen.
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IMPORTANT NUMBERS FOR THE REDSKINS
Need to maintain: #5 in sack rate
Washington’s defense was very proficient at bringing down quarterbacks last year. They picked up 46 sacks on 537 opponent passing attempts, resulting in a sack rate of 7.9% that ranked as the fifth-best in the NFL.
As discussed earlier, the Redskins pass rush went through some changes over the past few months. Mainstay Preston Smith is out, but the talented Mississippi State product Montez Sweat is in.
However, the forever-underrated Ryan Kerrigan remains in burgundy and gold. He’s posted 13 sacks in each of the last two seasons — Chandler Jones was the only other player to post 13-plus sacks in both 2017 and 2018.
Additionally, Kerrigan owns the league’s longest active streak of seasons with at least seven sacks, hitting that mark in each of his eight seasons. Altogether, his 84.5 sacks since 2011 rank third in the league over that span, trailing only J.J. Watt and Von Miller.
If the Redskins are going to surprise people this season, their pass rush is likely going to be a part of it.
Need to improve: #29 in team passer rating
The Redskins were a solid team last year when Alex Smith was at the helm, going 6-3 in games he played fully.
However, when Smith went down, the team fell apart, finishing 1-6 following his injury (including the game in which he was injured in the third quarter). That was mostly in part due to horrid play at the quarterback position.
Washington rotated through three starting quarterbacks after Smith’s injury — Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Johnson.
Over the final six weeks of the season, the Redskins posted a team passer rating of 62.6, the worst in the NFL over that span.
In order to compete for their first NFC East crown since 2015, the Redskins are going to need their starting quarterback to be serviceable. It’s an obvious point, but still a necessary one. No NFL team can win with the quality of quarterback play the Redskins dealt with towards the end of 2018.
Maybe Case Keenum can rebound and provide that stability. Perhaps Colt McCoy can have a Ryan Fitzpatrick-esque breakout season at 33 years old.
Or, maybe — just maybe — the Redskins can get a little bit of rookie magic out of Dwayne Haskins.