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Comparing Rush Numbers Vs. SB Winners

Posted by Stephen Czarda on July 5, 2013 – 12:28 pm

(AP photo)

(AP photo)

With 20 days until the start of the team’s first training camp away from Redskins Park in years, the Washington Redskins are entering 2013 as the kings of the NFC East for the first time since the 2000 season.

Despite the fact that the Redskins won their last seven games of the 2012 season to include five over division rivals and one over the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, some considered the division title a fluke!

Was it because the Redskins bucked a trend of sorts in the modern era of the NFL by relying on their potent ground game behind rookies Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III?

As ESPN’s Dan Graziano points out, though, regardless of the shift to aerial assaults being the primary focus for NFL offenses in 2013, the Redskins have built a rushing attack that is unparalleled—and that includes five Super Bowl winning squads.

Last year the Redskins rushed for nearly five more yards per game that any other team in the league.

It’s obvious the head coach Mike Shanahan and his zone-blocking scheme breeds 1,000 yard rushers at will, but it never saw production quite like it did during 2012.

Inside the office of the two-time Super Bowl winning coach, he has (unsurprisingly) files of how past teams did in terms of their offensive production. Among the teams he has kept track of over the years include his two Lombardi Trophy winners in Denver, the Redskins three Super Bowl seasons and the offensive juggernaut (whom Shanahan helped devise) known as the ’94 San Francisco 49ers.

While all six teams went on to finish at the top of the heap, none was as efficient in the run game.

“None of them came close to the 2012 Redskins’ 5.2 yards per carry — the ’98 Broncos, the best of that bunch, fell a half-yard short at 4.7.”

The 1998 Denver Broncos offense was led by 2,000 yard rusher and All-Pro Terrell Davis. Of the six Super Bowl teams and the 2012 Washington Redskins, only Davis’ 5.1 yards per carry was better than Morris’ 4.8 last year.

Player Year YPC
Terrell Davis (DEN) 1998 5.1
Alfred Morris (WSH) 2012 4.8
Terrell Davis (DEN) 1997 4.7
Earnest Byner (WSH) 1991 3.8
George Rodgers (WSH) 1987 3.8
Ricky Watters (SF) 1994 3.7
John Riggins (WSH) 1982 3.1

Of course when dissecting the Redskins number one rated rushing attack from a year ago, you have to factor in the dual-threat ability of Griffin III. Unlike the running backs, I really don’t need to show you how the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year’s yards per carry stacks up against the competition—Mark Rypien averaged 0.4 yards per carry during the 1991 campaign for example.

With another offseason in the books for Griffin III and Morris, the return of Roy Helu Jr. and the additions of Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamision, do you think the Redskins will lead the league in rushing again or do you see a more “balanced” attacked in 2013?

Let us know below.

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