I can sort of keep track of where D.C. sports teams rank in most statistical categories, because there aren’t too many of them. D.C. sports teams, I mean.
Were I in charge of talking about every pro team in every city in every sport, I’d have no clue.
Still, I think maybe you can get general ideas of how teams are doing at the extremes. Like, I haven’t watched many Jaguars games, but I have a pretty good sense that their offense stinks worse than Stilton in a sauna. Similarly, most NFL observers probably have an understanding that the Redskins’ defense, as presently constructed, could not cover a brownie with Saran wrap.
Which is why Wednesday morning’s Mike and Mike program on ESPN Radio got people talking. The Mikes were discussing this New York Times item that explains why Andrew Luck has a significantly higher “QBR” rating than Robert Griffin III. It’s an interesting read. And it led to this bit of wonderment.
“Statistics live in a vacuum, and football isn’t played in a vacuum,” said Mike Greenberg, who claimed to have watched at least portions of every Redskins game this season. (Listen here.)
“Have you seen the Indianapolis Colts play defense?” he then asked. “Have you seen the Washington Redskins play defense? The Redskins have an excellent defense. The Colts’ defense stinks. So the point is, Andrew Luck has to throw the ball downfield, he has to score more points. RGIII can play it safer. They’re both playing within the confines of what they need to do.”
“Here’s the thing, RGIII has a much better team around him,” Mike Golic sort of agreed.
“When your defense is bad, you’re gonna be forced to do more things,” Greenberg said in defense of Luck.
Well then. Not that it matters, but the Redskins are allowing more points per game than the Colts (28.6 vs. 26.3), more yards per game than the Colts (413.7 vs. 352.3), more yards per play than the Colts (6.2 vs. 5.7), and 15 million times more passing yards per game than the Colts (328.4 vs. 210.7).
True, the Redskins have allowed fewer rushing yards, and have forced more turnovers. The teams have the same number of sacks.
But the Redskins’ defense isn’t just bad compared to the Colts, circa 2012. It’s bad compared to everything, ever. According to CSN Washington, the 2,896 yards the Skins have allowed is their most through seven games since 1954. According to SI.com, the Skins are on pace to surrender 457 points — which would be a team record — and 5,255 net passing yards, which would be an NFL record.
In other words, they’re on pace to have one of the worst defenses in the history of professional football. There are a lot of words for that. “Excellent” isn’t one of ’em.