Redskins field position summary: awful

November 25, 2013

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)
(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)
I happened to be listening to 106.7 The Fan on Monday morning, when my buddy Grant Paulsen came on the air and began talking about Washington’s putrid special teams. Paulsen noted that the Redskins could have the NFL’s worst average starting field position in 30 years; similar stats have been cited by Tarik El-Bashir, Michael Phillips and others.

The thing is, changes to the NFL’s kickoff rules have made it tough to compare starting field position over the years. However, you can still take a look at net field position — the difference between your starting position and your opponents’ — since those numbers are based on two units competing in the same season.

And by that metric? Yeah, the special teams still stink on ice.

The difference between Washington’s average starting field position and its opponents’ is -7.46. That’s last in the NFL, by a lot, according to Football Outsiders’ stats. (Atlanta is at -4.71, and the Giants are at -4.65.)

And, more disturbingly, you have to go back more than a decade before you find a team with a worse net field position performance. Here are the worst teams in the league in that category for each season going back to 2002, according to Football Outsiders.

2013: Washington, -7.46

2012: Philadelphia, -6.67

2011: Indianapolis, -7.26

2010: Carolina, -4.70

2009: Detroit, -7.15

2008: Kansas City, -5.51

2007: Miami -6.91

2006: Denver -7.00

2005:  San Francisco, -6.63

2004: St. Louis, -6.38

2003: Jacksonville, -5.29

2002: Cincinnati, -8.47

In that span, the worst Washington figure came in 2002, when Washington’s average net field position was  -4.65, which ranked 30th in the league. So this year the Redskins are almost three yards behind that standard.

As for average starting field position, no NFL team has finished below 23.64 since 2002. Washington is currently averaging 22.61, more than a yard and a half worse than Atlanta, which is next to last in the league. Last season, the Redskins averaged 27.33, which was 15th in the league.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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