Last week, I analyzed the surprises and overachievers from 2020 that made the Football Team have such unexpected success. However, with only a 7-9 record, it is clear that there were plenty of things that didn’t go as planned along the way as well.
This season was refreshing for Washington fans who have dealt with bottom-feeding teams over the last several years. However, any fan with championship aspirations for their team knows there is a lot of work still to be done for this team to seriously contend for a shot at the Super Bowl. The first and most important fix has to start with the quarterback. Easily the most important singular position on a football team, Washington has a glaring lack of a franchise quarterback, or even a semblance of one. Throughout the quarterback carousel that was 2020, Washington put out the likes of Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, the aforementioned Alex Smith, and Taylor Heinicke. Haskins, a big investment for Washington just two years ago, was cut from the team due to COVID-19 protocol violations and inconsistent play. Any plans to build around him in the future were scrapped, leaving them without a young QB and little sense of direction. Veteran Kyle Allen suffered a serious ankle injury during the season, making his potential return in 2021 murky. As for Smith, although a great story, he is more of a game manager at this point than a quarterback who can truly elevate a team. Heinicke, although flashing some heroics on Super Wild Card Weekend, is not someone that Washington is looking to build around in the future. Every contending team is equipped with at least an above average quarterback, while most often possess the top tier of elite QB’s in the league. In order for the Football Team to make that leap into contention, they will need to draft or trade for their next franchise quarterback.
Although I applauded the defense for their vast improvements and exciting play from this past season, they are still a ways away from fielding a truly dominant, complete unit that can contend for championships. In a year where the unit took many steps in the right direction, it is important to identify areas of weakness that still exist and address them. The most glaring hole on the defense would be in the secondary, particularly at cornerback. Washington lacks a true lockdown corner, someone who can take away half of the field in a zone, or shut down the opposition’s best wide receiver. This weakness showed whenever they faced off against a top passing attack, particularly in the playoffs. Brady picked apart Washington’s secondary to the tune of nearly 400 yards in the first round, and Washington had no answer for the trio of great wide receivers that the Buccaneers have. Although having a great pass rush is the first step to slowing a passing attack, without corners and safeties that can stay with the wide receivers the offense will not be phased. The Football Team does boast two solid corners in Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby, but they lack that game breaking talent that puts them over the edge. With safety Landon Collins returning from injury next year, they can hope t
Last week, I highlighted Terry McLaurin as a future star in this league and a true number one wide receiver. However, unless Washington can add another pass catching threat on the opposite side of the field as Terry, the receiving corps remains an overall weakness. Teams were constantly able to double team Terry because he was the only true downfield threat, and this severely hindered his production in the red zone as well as the team’s ability to move the ball and score. Teams were able to take him out of the equation, forcing other players on Washington to produce when they couldn’t. Until they can acquire another solid talent at wide receiver, this position will continue to be a weakness for the Football Team.
Washington has a lot of important decisions to make regarding the upcoming draft and free agency period….