Snaps Lost: Washington Redskins
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 5.70, 20th
FTE Lost: 1.96, 13th
Biggest Losses: Chris Chester (1091), Tyler Polumbus (491), Roy Helu (382)
Summary – Chester’s stint in Washington ended abruptly as the Redskins cut him with one year left on his contract. He rebounded with the Falcons, and though he’s a bit on the older side, his recent play indicates he stands a good chance to start there. After an unprecedented 2013 that saw him finish in the top quarter of our tackle grades, Polumbus reverted to past form with a -12.6 grade, allowing eight sacks on the year and has joined Chester in Atlanta. Helu, the team’s primary third-down back, found his way to Oakland after hitting the free agent market in March.
Replacement Plan – In taking Brandon Scherff at No. 5, the Redskins filled the hole left by Polumbus, and in all likelihood Scherff will top those 491 snaps with ease. In Chester’s left guard position it’s likely to be last year’s third-round pick, Spencer Long, who has just 18 career snaps to his name. In this year’s third-round, the Redskins took running back Matt Jones, who could occupy Helu’s snaps if not necessarily his role in the offense. Beyond him and Alfred Morris they have only young, unproven options like Silas Redd and Chris Thompson (86 combined career snaps).
FTE Lost: 3.74, 27th
Biggest Losses: Ryan Clark (1036), Brandon Meriweather (613), Jarvis Jenkins (552), E.J. Biggers (465), Brian Orakpo (401)
Summary – Clark’s glory days in Pittsburgh are behind him, and after a disappointing final season in D.C., he’s hung up the cleats on a 13-year career. Washington elected to let Meriweather walk, and he remains a free agent. Jenkins, similarly, was not pursued upon the expiration of his contract, and he’ll be playing out a low-cost one-year deal as a Bear. Biggers failed to impress (-13.0) in limited duty and may be lining up at a different position in 2015, albeit on a different team too. Orakpo’s tenure in the nation’s capital ended with the linebacker signing with Tennessee. He’s produced at an high level, but amid serious injury concerns, the Redskins elected to move on.
Replacement Plan – Dashon Goldson comes over from Tampa Bay, but after a couple of poor years there he’s unlikely to be an upgrade on Clark. Next to Goldson we may see Duke Ihenacho, and while he wasn’t great during his time in Denver, he’s a more established option than guys like Jeron Johnson and Trenton Robinson. Between Terrance Knighton and Stephen Paea, Washington will have no issues covering Jenkins’ lost snaps on the line, and at outside linebacker Trent Murphy should assume the starting spot that he took over when Orakpo went down in Week 7. Even if he can’t increase his snap count enough to offset the loss, Washington drafted Preston Smith early in the second round, and he should feature in a rotational role. Biggers’ loss will be nullified if DeAngelo Hall stays healthy, and in bringing in Chris Culliver they’ll fill the snaps of a few others, even if those players are still on the team.