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Redskins coming up short on 3rd-down conversions

Associated Press Modified: October 12, 2012 at 5:31 am •  Published: October 12, 2012

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — The Washington Redskins have no single answer to why they're last in the league when it comes to converting on third down.

Teams with poor third-down conversion percentages often explain the problem comes from not gaining enough yards on first and second down to set up short third-down tries.

But it's not so simple for the Redskins. They rank last in the NFL, converting just 23.3 percent of their third downs (14 of 60).

"I don't think it's ever one thing in particular," Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "It's a little different thing each week."

The Redskins are a combined 0 for 9 on third-and-2 and third-and-3. The league average conversion rate in those situations is 47 percent. Shanahan said his philosophy on third-and-2 or third-and-3 depends on the opponent.

Washington has converted both its third-and-1 attempts, but no team has faced fewer third-and-1s this season. League-wide, teams are converting 66 percent of their 3-and-1s.

Shanahan said players tend to press on third downs when they fail so often to convert, but he hasn't seen that with this team — at least not yet.

"I don't think that's been the issue so far, but I think everybody does up to a certain time when that's obviously what you're struggling at each week," Shanahan said.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III — who appears on track to start against the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday after practicing Thursday — believes the Redskins won't fret on third downs.

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