The Washington football team made the playoffs despite subpar play from their QBs. Dwayne Haskins failed with ball placement and decision making in his seven games as signal-caller. Haskins ranked last in PFF grade amongst QBs with at least 136 dropbacks. Fortunately for Washington, Alex Smith provided stable play and moved the chains fairly well. However, Smith was an immobile passer who was pigeonholed as a game manager in a simplistic offense.
Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic were a great one-two punch for Washington in 2020. Gibson carried the ball 170 times for 795 yards (4.7 YPC) and 11 TDs in the regular season. In the receiving game, McKissic hauled in 80 catches for 589 yards and two scores. Washington has a versatile group with these two backs.
Protection & Blocking
Washington's OL was a formidable group of blockers, especially in terms of pass protection. Morgan Moses, Chase Rouiller, and Brandon Scherff were an excellent group of starting OL who only allowed nine sacks in total. Additionally, OT Cornelius Lucas stepped up with additional pass protection after week seven.
Terry McLaurin is the only quality wideout in Washington. While McLaurin excelled with 87 catches and 1,118 yards, no other Washington WR had 35+ catches or 500+ yards. Fortunately for Washington, their TE Logan Thomas provided a great spark with 72 catches for 670 yards and six TDs. Nevertheless, Washington needs to add another possession receiver who can win with explosiveness on the outside. Plus, they need a shifty WR who can win from the slot position.
Skills Analysis Notes
Washington's offense was not productive nor explosive in 2020. According to ESPN, Washington had the third least yards per game in 2020 and ranked in the bottom ten for points per game. Furthermore, their subpar QB play prevented them from creating big-plays through the air, where they ranked second-worst according to Sharp football stats. Fortunately for the football team, Alex Smith was a decent game manager who provided some stability moving the chains after taking over for Dwayne Haskins. Nevertheless, this team needs to add another explosive WR and a QB who can play as well as Taylor Heinicke did in their playoff game.
Washington's defensive line was daunting this season. Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, and Chase Young combined for 134 QB pressures, including 18 sacks. Additionally, Daron Payne, Tim Settle, and Ryan Kerrigan added another 15 sacks. Overall, this defense ranked in the top seven for sacks and was the eighth-highest graded unit against the run, primarily due to this dominant DL.
Cole Holcomb and Kevin Pierre-Loius are were great coverage last season. Conversely, Jon Bostic was a liability in coverage where he allowed 455 receiving yards. Bostic and Loius also struggled mightily as run-stoppers.
Washington's secondary is one of the most underrated groups in football. CB Ronald Darby proved to be an effective CB in coverage after a down year in Philly. Kendall Fuller was also a great CB who picked off four passes. However, he needs to return to the slot due to his lack of height. Washington also has great safeties like Kamren Curl and Jeremy Reaves. Overall, this defense ranked in the top-five for interceptions largely due to their DL/DB combination.
Controlling Field Position
Special Teams and Coaching
Overall Unit Analysis
Dustin Hopkins missed five kicks from 30-49 yards. For a team that needed to move the chains gradually, these misses were devastating for Washington. Additionally, Washington needs to find a more explosive return man.
Overall Coaching / School Analysis
Ron Rivera was the perfect head coach amid all the turmoil in Washington. Despite facing cancer and off-field issues from Dwayne Haskins, Rivera's football team played well enough down the stretch to make it to the playoffs. When Washington played with a QB not named Haskins, they executed well enough to beat teams like the 11-0 Steelers.
Offensive coordinator Scott Turner was a decent coordinator who meshed his scheme to fit Alex Smith's role as a game manager. Additionally, Turner created a more explosive offense that got his wideouts significant separation in their playoff game. However, the team needs to do a better job of converting on 3rd down.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio created an aggressive scheme to maximize the play of his defense. His defensive line created tons of sacks and his secondary forced numerous turnovers.
The Washington Football team defied all odds by making the playoffs this past season. In a league where QBs and WRs are more valuable than ever, it is surprising that Washington made the playoffs without a quality passer or receiving corps. However, this team competed hard against the rest of the NFC East teams with their dominant defense. Overall, this team is set at the DL, DB, OL, and RB positions and have quality talent at the LB and TE positions.
Did the team's performance
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Outperformed my Expectations
Despite a great season amid their rebuild, Washington still needs to bolster their roster. As mentioned earlier, this team desperately needs to find a QB who can be more than a game managing human jugs machine. The play from QB Taylor Heinicke in the playoffs showed that this team could compete with anyone if they have a quality quarterback. Fortunately for Washington, they will be able to draft a potential franchise QB or sign one in the off-season along with a quality wideout. Plus, Heinicke's wildcard performance shows that Washington has a capable backup who can play well when necessary.