Washington Redskins: Being on the Plus Side of Turnover Margin is Key

By Emmanual Benton

In 2011, the Washington Redskins mirrored their ’02 season with the likes of Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey, and Danny Wuerffel at helm. A season where the only positive was finishing with a better record than the Dallas Cowboys. In ’02 the Redskins finished with a -14 turnover ratio, which simply means they tuned the ball over 14 more times than they took it away.

That of course, was pretty much the start of a trend that’s lasted roughly 10 years. Since 2002, the Redskins have only finished two seasons with a positive turnover ratio. In 2008, much like their 8-8 record, the team finished at a even turnover mark with a 0.

The total turnover ratio from 2000-2011  is -45, and that’s embarrassing. If the Redskins plan on winning in the future, that needs to be fixed immediately. Which they obviously attempted to do by selecting Robert Griffin III in April’s draft. I’m not big on translating college stats to the NFL, but RG3 is an accurate passer and a decisive decision maker which should help keep the offensive turnover rate down. However, a turnover ratio is a two-way-stream. The defense has to continue progressing into a group that can consistently create turnovers. These are game changing, momentum swinging segments of a game that often dictates which team will win.

It’s no secret, you can’t win games by turning over the ball. The Redskins have lost many games because of poor ball security and bad decision making. On the flip side, if the Redskins can take the ball away from an opposing team consistently, it could change the whole dynamic of a ball game.

Sometimes, turnovers can be deceiving. In 2008, Jason Campbell only threw 6 interceptions all season and at one point had a streak going of consecutive games without throwing an interception. He did, however, fumble the football 7 times, which many would blame on the offensive line. Though, a lot of that also dealt with Jason’s poor ball security and non-decisive decision making. The team finished 8-8, which is an average mark. But after going 9-7 the year prior, that was unacceptable. Campbell became gun-shy and was unable to carry the offense as a “franchise quarterback” typically is supposed to do.

When you have a guy that can not only carry an offense, but take chances, while still being responsible with the football – then you have something special. Washington believes they have that in RG3.

On the defensive side, there’s no question in my mind that the turnover margin will be increased. However, in order for this team to be great, both sides of the football have to work in harmony. Limit offensive turnover and create more defensive turnovers. That’s the formula for success.

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