WASHINGTON Football Team head coach, Riverboat Ron Rivera, announced that Washington’s training camp will feature an open competition for starting QB. This is HILARIOUS, and once again proof that you can take the ‘R’ off the helmet, but you can’t take it outta the team.
Let’s get a look at the competitors in this competition.
Their big free agent addition was QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, to whom they gave a 1 year, 10M$ deal. (The numbers matter, so keep an eye on them. Don’t just glaze over them.) The press has spent the last couple of months, lathering up over the idea of “Fitzmagic” teaming with WR Terry McLaurin. McLaurin himself has also expressed a great deal of exci-
Well fuck all that! It’s a competition, bitches! Ya heard?!
Our next competitor, is Taylor Heinicke. His claim to fame? Not getting blown-out, while losing in the first round of the playoffs. Heinicke has a 2 year deal worth 4.7M$.
Last and certainly least, is Kyle Allen. You may remember him from such disasters as: Trying to replace Cam Newton in Carolina; or trying to steal the starting job from Dwayne Haskins in Washington; or Karma paying his ankle a visit in 2020. He’s been handsomely rewarded for those exploits, with a 1 year, 850K$ deal. And he has a chance to start!
So let me get this straight. Washington is going to give Fitzpatrick 10 mill this year, just so they can start a guy making 8.5% that??! No. Stop. Just… just stop. First of all, that level of stupidity can’t be possible. Even in Washington. Secondly, illegal immigrants are protesting the wage disparity between Fitz and Allen. Many of them think that Allen should sneak into Mexico, to find better opportunities.
This “QB competition” is as bogus as the one in Philadelphia, between QB Jalen Hurts and his back-up Joe Flacco. If Philly finds a way to trade for QB DeShaun Watson, then sure, things could change. Otherwise, unless Jalen hurts, he’s the starter.
Washington is Fitzpatrick’s NINTH team, and he doesn’t have a winning record as the starter of any of the previous eight. His best run was 6 – 6 with Houston, and still, currently he is the best option Washington has.
After last season, Washington fans have had a taste of hope. Now they have expectations. To start Heinicke or Allen at this point, would be inhumane. It would be the equivalent of giving a toddler $500, lighting him on fire, and sending him into Walmart alone, on Black Friday. You’d have no right to expect anything good to come of it.
There is no QB competition. There can’t be. There isn’t a large enough worldwide supply of stupidity, for Washington to fuck up that badly. I hate the Redsk- Football Team, and even I think more of them than that. They gotta make it Fitz. Because nothing else does.
LAST year Washington went 7 – 9 overall, and 4 – 2 in the division. Their record was enough to win a historically bad division, after which they were unmasked as frauds, and given the bum’s rush from the first round of the playoffs. Still, winning a division beats finishing in second place, missing the playoffs, and blaming a rival team for not sending you. So they have that much going for them.
In any case, here is how Washington’s roster looks, about a week prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.
QB:Taylor Heinicke finished off the 2020 season by throwing for 300 yards in a 31-23 playoff loss. His gutty performance had many Redski- Washington fans excited to see what the kid would do in 2021. So the Reds- (Fuck.) Washington of course, went right out and signed free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick, to a one year, 10M$ deal. Proving once again, you can take the ‘R’ off the helmet, but you can’t take the mentally challenged out of the Football Team. It is worth noting that of the EIGHT previous team he’s been on, he doesn’t own a winning record as as starter, with ANY of them. Kyle Allen? Washington brought him back on a one year deal. Meanwhile he continues to rehab his broken/dislocated ankle. Careful Kyle! You coming back from a leg injury, may not be in Washington’s long-term plans. Right, Alex?
With Fitzpatrick’s deal being 6.5 times Heinicke’s, it tells you all you need to know about 2021’s pecking order. This position is currently a mess, with no clear path beyond this season. That alone may be enough to keep Washington from repeating as the division winner. (-)
RB:Antonio Gibson led the team in rushing with 795 yards and 11 rushing TD’s. Both his 100 yard games, and 4 of those TD’s, came against defenseless division rival Dallas. Gibson, having converted from college wide-out, was a rather pedestrian RB as a rookie. Strangely enough, he also didn’t excel as a receiver out of the backfield. J.D. McKissic (also a college wide-out) saw 85 carries and 80 receptions, for 365 and 568 yards respectively, representing nearly 1,000 (954) yards from scrimmage. Peyton Barber is the “big back”. Interesting fact: He’s averaged less per carry, every year, for four straight years. As a rookie he averaged 4.1 per tote. Last year, just 2.7 on 94 carries. He also doesn’t catch passes. Lamar Miller was added to the roster, possibly to challenge Barber for his role. Miller tore his ACL in preseason 2019, and made Chicago’s practice squad in 2020. He saw one game, catching 2 passes for 6 yards. After which he was demoted back to the practice squad. Bryce Love is also on the roster. They got yardage and scores out of this hodge-podge in 2020. There’s no reason it can’t happen again in 2021. (+)
WR: On 134 targets, Terry McLaurin posted 87 catches for 1100 yards in 2020. Not bad numbers in year where 4 different guys were throwing him passes. In three years Cam Sims has yet to impress the staff in Washington. This is likely why they added free agents Curtis Samuels and Adam Humphries. Samuels is a guy that Carolina demoted, then let walk. Two teams have allowed Humphries to just walk . Both are guys who made their name on short area quickness, but seem to have loss their edge. As a result Samuels and Humphries need an awful lot of targets to be productive. Let me put numbers to that. Again, in 2020 McLaurin saw 134 targets, while Cam Sims saw just 48. Steven Sims was next closest with 37 (27 catches, 265 yards). In 2018 Humphries needed 105 targets to see 816 yards and 5 TD’s (both career-highs). In 2020 it took 97 targets to get Samuels to 851 (career-high) and just 3 TD’s. So neither Humphries nor Samuels may have been the smartest choice to improve this group. Even on paper they still look like they have a hole. (-)
TE:Logan Thomas snagged 72 passes for 670 yards and 6 scores in 2020. Not head turning numbers, but he’s more of security blanket than a weapon. He’s also a violent blocker, so keep your head on a swivel.
Back-ups include Marcus Baugh, Temarrick Hemingway. Tightening their bike helmet, Washington also signed a Chilean basketball “star” (averaging 4.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.5 assists), turned football player, named Sammis Reyes. The guy is an obvious workout warrior, ticking all the boxes on the Mike Mamula/Tony Mandarich scale. It’s even been reported that he posted a 4.65 time in the 40. But just look at him with a ball in his hands:
He looks like he couldn’t run the 40 in 40! You know, I wonder if he’s ever caught a pass over the middle, or read a blitz. So no. There is no depth here. (-)
OT:Geron Christian started 6 games at LT before his season was cut short. Starting in his stead for the remaining 9 games, was veteran Cornelius Lucas. RT Morgan Moses is the best of this bunch, which isn’t saying much, as this line allowed 50 sacks in 2020, and 1 passer to be put on Injured Reserve. So there’s probably some room for improvement. Which is exactly why the Rrr- Football Team, hasn’t made a move here. At least not yet. (-)
G: Pro Bowler Brandon Scherff was slapped with the franchise tag, for a second straight year. He’s a cornerstone player, and Washington is smart not to let anyone get a crack at him in free agency. They’d be smarter to ink him to a 6 year deal, and effectively lock him down for the remainder of his career though. Wes Martin and Wes Schweitzer are why Washington drafted Saadiq Charles last year. Charles was inactive for 5 weeks, then after playing two downs in Week 6, was promptly placed on season-ending Injured Reserve. So this position is praying for a big bounce back, plus a leap forward, from their second year man. Until then they can keep heading out Wes. (+)
C: Chase Roullier just inked a four year deal to remain in D.C., so they must think more of him than their rivals do. For his part, he’s been durable. Oh, and Adrian Peterson ran for 1,042 yards behind him in 2018! Tyler Larsen comes over from Carolina, to be Roullier’s back-up. Yeah, me neither. (+)
IN A NUTSHELL: Every year Fitzpatrick has a handful of OMG type good games, and OMG type horror shows. Most of the time he’s a competent, mid-level game manager. That will not win you the NFC East. Doesn’t matter though. Washington’s weapons won’t scare anyone anyway. Honestly. How many washed-up Slot receivers does one roster truly need? Their top two RB’s are actually WR’s, running behind an interior line with no true mauler on it. Making their run game
Worse than that, Scott Turner is returning as the OC. So his division rivals will likely have a better handle on his offense, than his new QB. So expect less success from Washington’s offense, than they had last season. (-)
DE:Washington fans whenever you mention this position:
Chase Young won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl roster. His 7.5 sacks don’t tell the entire story of his contributions. Things like his leadership, and his energy. His passion, and his pride. Young looks like the real deal. Meanwhile, Montez Sweat quietly racked up 9 sacks, despite playing less than Young. The loss of Ryan Kerrigan means that the meaningful depth right now, is James Smith-Williams, who plays with the same flare and imagination that his parents displayed while naming him. The starters are very good, but this position is a sprained ankle away from the whole defense going off a cliff. (+)
DT:Daron Payne is the big load in the middle who started 16 games, producing 54 tackles and 3 sacks. Which is pretty much the exact stat line he’s delivered for each of his three seasons. Jonathan Allen again delivered over 60 tackles, but is clearly diminishing as a pass rusher after assuming a more traditional interior role, than the one he played for his first two years. Matt Ioannidis tore his bicep in Week 2. He tried to make it work during Week 3, but it wasn’t to be. So he missed the remainder of the season. At 310, Ioannidis will likely be asked to play inside in a 4-3, as he was asked to do in 2020. Prior to that he played end in a 3-4. Due to the injury there is no way to predict what level of Ioannidis will return in 2021. Tim Settle played limited snaps in 2021 and still led the position with 5.0 sacks. If Ioannidis returns to top form, this group is going to be a massive headache for rivals. And even if he doesn’t return to top form, it’s still a formidable mix of power and veteran savvy. (+)
OLB:Cole Holcomb had a nice rookie year playing inside, but his 2020 move outside was a mixed bag at best. Given that he’s got the most in-game experience of any player at this position, Washington needs him to be better in 2021, because they have no choice but to start him. Shaun Dion Hamilton went from being a moderate role player on the 2019 defense, to a Special Teamer who saw spot duty in 2020. Khaleke Hudson is a tweener, who was born for kick coverage duty. Gun to my head, I’d start Hamilton, but there’s probably going to be a rookie manning this spot. Josh Harvey-Clemons opted out last year due to Covid. He previously never defined a role for himself, so to keep his roster spot, he may have to change position. (-)
MLB:Jon Bostic had a career year in 2020. He either tied or set a new record for himself in EVERY statistical category. That looks like a player being as comfortable as a motherfucker in the scheme he’s playing in. David Mayo was brought in to back Bostic up, but don’t be surprised to see Josh Harvey-Clemons here as well. (+)
S:Landon Collins yet again was having a good year playing LB, when he tore his Achilles tendon, ending his 2020 season. Rookie Kamren Curl stepped in, and offered help by actually covering receivers. Given how well he preformed, nobody sane would start Collins over Curl at this point. Right? Right, Washington? Hellooo…? Back deep, Troy Apke and Deshazor Everett, were so lackluster in 2020 that… Ohhhhh. It’s going to be Collins AND Curl isn’t it? Not ideal, but still the best two out of this four. For the record, Apke and Everett have been in D.C. since at least 2018, and each have been ass, in each of those years. There’s experience here, but only one player who’s really good against the pass. (-)
CB:Kendall Fuller’s return to D.C. saw him match his career-high of 4 interceptions, and start two more games (14), than he did in his first stint with the Redsk- (ugh!) Football Team. New addition William Jackson comes over from Cincinnati to hold down the opposite side. Jackson has just 3 interceptions in 59 career games (48 starts), so teams will start the year off targeting him heavily. Depth consists of Jimmy Moreland (10 career starts), and Darryl Roberts formerly of the Lions, with 4 interceptions in 67 career games (31 starts). Avoid Fuller and pick on the other side. Get ready for 17 games of that unless someone surprises us. (-)
IN A NUTSHELL:
Opponents won’t make a very good living trying to run vs this front. However, Washington practically invites teams to throw the ball on them. This team can rush the passer, but can they cover long enough for the rush to get home? Seems like a fairly critical question, given that the current NFL is a passing league. This team has plenty of talent, just not really where they need it. (-)
K:Dustin Hopkins made a career-low 79.4% (27/34) of his field goal attempts. Most concerning was his 15/21 performance (71.4%) from 40 yards and longer. He also went 30/32 (93.7%) on extra points. His missed factored directly into two losses (NYG, DET). However, given that Washington won the division, this position may be overlooked as an area of need. For a team built like this one is, a reliable toe isn’t a luxury. This toe looks shaky, and they just inked him to a an extension. (-)
P:Tress Way averaged 48 yards per punt, with a 44.1 yard net, helping his unit keep returns to 5.8 yards per crack. The only knock is that on 73 punts, only 23 were downed inside the 20. (+)
IN A NUTSHELL: This isn’t exactly a crackerjack unit, loaded with clutch dynamite. In a salary cap strapped year, Washington’s attitude seems to be: “Meh…We’re dancing with the devil that we know.” (-)
The defense won’t be able to capitalize on it’s great front, because it was sabotaged in the secondary. There are no heroes on special teams. They flat out need to make an offensive splash in the Draft, or the offense will take a step back. This is a last place team in any other division. However, in this division there are three other teams still trying to find their footing. This gives Washington a real chance to repeat as division champs. Possibly even posting a record of 9 – 8.
I know my NFC East rivals better than most of their fans do. (Not all, but certainly most.) However, I’m less familiar with the AFC East. So, in order to be able to know what to attack, I naturally went looking the Dolphins up. Stats, schedules, o-line first steps, defensive fronts, etc.
OH MY GOD! This team is awful! I don’t know how their head coach is surviving from week to week. I don’t mean from being fired. I mean from fans murdering him in the street! If Head CoachDoug Pedersondid to the Eagles what Brian Flores is doing with the Dolphins, we’d need a prison cell that could hold 2 million people.
(Maybe we could put it in the Linc’s basement?)
This is the most important game of the year. If we win, next week will be the most important game of the year. We need these five games, but for the following week to matter, we need to take care of business in the week where we are. That said, don’t let people overstate the stakes of this game.
Understand, you’re going to hear the term “playoffs mode” get over used and over, from now until January. Don’t fall for it. Playoffs is win or go home. This isn’t that. This is win FIVE and we own the East. Guaranteed. Iron-clad. Period.
And even a stumble might not kill us, if the Cowboys drop another game. (Or two.) So don’t give yourself an ulcer. We aren’t in playoffs mode yet.
So let’s talk about the Four Things we need to focus on this week versus the Dolphins:
1) Show up and show out: This is the most important key. It’s almost worth three of these Four Things. The Defense has played lights out the last few weeks against top opposition. They’ve been carrying the Offense almost as well as the Offense carried the Defense, earlier this year. What we need is for each man to pull his own weight, and not need carrying by anyone else.
2017 Eagles Offense.
Professional blockers need to block like professionals. The professional thrower needs to throw like a professional. Pro catchers…Catch the fucking BALL, will ya? Football is blocking, tackling, and doing your job. The Eagles players TO A MAN, need to show up and do their jobs.
2) Shut down the pass:The Dolphins leading rusher averages 1.9 yards per carry. Read that again. So they probably won’t lean on the run. Just a hunch.
At QB they have Ryan “FitzMagic” Fitzpatrick. While he likes to share the football with opponents, he also likes to air it out, and has a knack for stringing together big plays when he gets hot.
Fortunately for us, the Dolphins like to share their QB with opponents. Of course in order to get to him, we have to make sure we keep WR DeVante Parker covered for at least a few seconds. Parker has been heating up recently, so covering him may prove to be more interesting than we’d like it to be, or than the past indicates that it should be.
3) Show ‘em something new: Seahawk LB KJ Wright said of the Eagles offense that they knew the Eagles playsbefore the ball was snapped. Surely the Dolphins have access to game film, same as any other NFL team. They could study it just like anyone else. No sense in tipping our hand to a bad team, right? So mix in some new plays, this week. Or better still, mix in just a couple of new plays that look and key, like old ones.
4) 1-2-3 THROW!: QB Carson Wentzneeds to stop holding the ball for so long. It’s doing us TWO disservices. One which everyone talks about endlessly, and a second that never gets mentioned, but hurts us worse each week.
The first thing is, that it creates sacks and sack/fumbles for opponents. While we all know that it comes from Carson wanting to create big plays, it’s clear that we don’t have the firepower for him to try to force the issue so often.
The second thing is, when he holds the ball, it builds in our receivers heads that they can take 5 or 6 seconds to get open. Carson needs them to win early, and in order to communicate that, a couple of passes have to hit them before they’re ready. Carson has to put it on tape that the ball is on time, the receiver is just late. Lots of bad tape can hurt a guy come contract time. So I’m sure the receivers will figure it out.
If we do all these things, we’re just about guaranteed to win. Now that we’ve covered what should happen, let’s get into what likely will happen:
The Eagles are going to play with their food. This is an opponent we should overwhelm easily, but the Eagles have clear issues with offensive confidence right now. Leaning on the run early and often, would settle the Eagles down, and likely produce a first drive score, but we won’t do that.
We’re going to be cute and throw more TE Screens, TE outs, and Wheel routes to RB Miles Sanders. WR Alshon Jeffery just being on the field, will allow for TE Zach Ertzto go from a guy who just catches a lot of passes, back to a guy that hurts opponents in critical situations.
Fitzpatrick will either light us up, or throw us a touchdown. He tends to have a couple of really good weeks, before the carriage turns back into a pumpkin, and the horses turn back into rats. For the last three weeks he’s played better than his numbers indicate. So he’s about due for another implosion, with a big play or two sprinkled in there.
Also, since we’ve fallen for it two straight weeks, expect a trick play where a WR throws the ball. Until we stop it, teams will treat us like chumps with this.
For the first half of the game, expect some offensive lethargy. Hell! We may even be down at the half. Don’t sweat it though. The Dolphins defense can’t stop anybody. Once we figure that out, we’ll be able to finish this team off.
LAST year (almost to the day), we lost 20 – 27 to the Chiefs, and I wrote something eerily prophetic about our championship run. If you were in any way disheartened by this loss, or you feel the Eagles are missing something, I urge you to re-read that review. It will help to put this game into perspective.
Eagles 21 – Buccaneers 27
Due to a vicious rash of injuries (some of which started last year), we had to dig very deep into the roster this week. Receivers like TE Joshua Perkins (4 – 57 – 14.2 – 0) and WR Kamar Aiken(5 – 39 – 7.8 – 0) were making serious contributions, with the game still in contention.
Starting RB Jay Ajayi(7 – 23 – 3.2 – 1 – 0) spent much of the game on the sideline getting treatment on his back. Meanwhile RB Corey Clement(6 – 30 – 5.0 – 1 – 0 / 5 – 55 – 11.0 – 0), and RB Wendell Smallwood (7 – 28 – 4.0 – 0 – 0), picked up the slack in our ground game.
The biggest head scratcher was QB Nick Foles(35/48 – 72.9% – 334 – 1 – 0). While many fans seem quick to bail on him, I’m going to talk about why I think he look the way he does. (But this article isn’t the place to do that. This drops Monday, that one drops Tuesday.)
I hear you asking, “What about all the stuff that stats don’t reveal?” Well, that’s the reason for these “Four Things” articles. We introduce an idea of what needs addressing BEFORE the game, so that fans have to honestly answer questions about those things, AFTER the game. This helps to get us, and keep us, all on the same page.
1) Chasing Private Ryan: We managed to get two sacks and a few hurries on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (27/33 – 81.8% – 402 – 4 – 1), but most of that was in the first half. With temperatures on the field reaching 102 degrees, our Defense simply didn’t have the same snap in the second half of the game. As a result, instead of allowing Fitzpatrick to complete 75% of his passes like he did against the Saints, we allowed him to complete 82%. No defense can survive that. NOT DONE
2) Run the rock:Our play selection was 48 passes to 24 runs. Three of those runs were by Nick Foles, two of which were QB Sneaks on 4th down. One was a 2 yard, (direct snap) Jet Sweep to WR Nelson Agholor(8rec – 88 – 11.0 – 1). That’s 48 passes to 20 hand-offs, against an undersized front seven which surrendered 81 yards and 2 touchdowns to our RB’s (4.0 per tote). This was a horrendous missed opportunity. NOT DONE
3) Play Cover Two: I specifically said that CB Jalen Mills(5 – 0 – 0 – 0) shouldn’t be matched up with WR DeSean Jackson(4 – 129 – 32.2 – 1). Djax drew Mills on the first play of the game, and tore his asshole open for a 75 yard score. WR Mike Evans(10 – 83 – 8.3 – 1) also victimized Mills for a 4 yard score. And still we STAYED in Single-high coverage despite the fact that it hardly even slowed down a journeyman QB. NOT DONE
4) Heavy play-action:This is a tough one. We sorta did this one, but we really didn’t do it at all. You can’t really employ play-action if you aren’t really running the ball. Also, play-action requires a QB to move after faking the hand-off. Many times Foles would fake it and then stand tall in the pocket. So while he went through the motions, he never bothered to sell it. That wouldn’t be so frustrating if we didn’t all know that Foles can and has, sold snake oil to defenses. NOT DONE
That brings this week’s Four Things score to 0 for 4, which puts us at 3 for 8 on the year. Word has been handed down that QB Carson Wentzwill be cleared for contact this week. This has people (not me), hoping he starts at home, next week against the Colts. Hopefully the Eagles will give Wentz a week of shakedown time, and we’ll see Foles again.
On The Whole:
This is what happens when the Eagles skip a week of reading these articles. Let this loss serve as a lesson, Doug! And now I can begin to bitch about this loss, in earnest.
I’m kidding, I have nothing to bitch about. While this was a dumb loss, which I lay it at the feet of the coaching staff, I think we needed this sort of fight. It’s the start of the season, and we’re already the Walking Wounded. Plus we didn’t look great in the preseason.
This game had guys fighting though injury to play, and guys practically off the street, playing significant roles. This was a game where guys got a chance to step up and show what they can do, and maybe change the coaching staff’s mind about their place on the depth chart. This was a chance for our starters to get a look at their back-ups and to be motivated by what they see.
This game was a chance for this team to measure whether or not the players have enough fight in them. This was a chance to see if there were any quitters on the team, so that they can be weeded out early on.
I’m proud to say that I didn’t see that out there. Even the announcers remarked how there was no panic on our sideline. We looked and acted like champions out there. Even the new guys. Dumb loss, but not a bad one.