Washington has now fallen to 6-8, still in first place in the NFC East, with two games remaining. They host the Carolina Panthers next week and can clinch the division with a win AND a loss by the Giants.
But with the loss today, we’ve learned a few things about this team:
1. Dwayne Haskins is not the answer, but neither is any other QB on the roster. They always say that if you have questions if the QB is your guy, he isn’t your guy. He had a good fourth quarter, but you cannot be the franchise QB and be good 25% of the time. The lack of improvement after being benched for over two months has shown that this is probably his last season in Washington. Can you rely on Alex Smith to get you through a whole 16-game season? I think as long as Alex is on your roster, he cannot be the definitive answer given his age and injury history. Finally, Kyle Allen is a career backup QB. He can start in for your franchise in spots, but he is not a guy you think of as an everyday starter.
2. The constant slow starts from this offense needs to be fixed this off-season. Washington is the only team in the NFL to not score on their opening drive this year. Out of the 14 games they’ve played this year, six of the drives have resulted in a three and out, another two drives have resulted in a four and out, and another drive was ended on the first play when Antonio Gibson fumbled. They keep putting themselves in these deep holes at the beginning of games, forcing them to have to come back and try to win games. The defense has been holding up their end of the bargain all season, but when the offense gives you absolutely nothing in the first half of games, you find yourself where Washington is, hovering around the .500 mark. You play half of the football game, you win about half of your games.
3. Washington needs a backup RB to complement Antonio Gibson’s skillset. With Gibson missing the last few weeks with turf toe, it is clear that outside of him, Washington has no running game, which puts more pressure on the QB by making the offense one dimensional. For reference, here are the RBs on the roster yards per touch/yards per carry on the season thru week 15: Gibson (5.2/4.7), McKissic (5.7/4.4), Barber (2.7/2.7). I am assuming Derrius Guice (who had 6.6 YPT in 2019) would be backup to Gibson before his release, but with his release right before the start of the season and the COVID-19 restrictions, they were not able to get an additional RB added to the mix. I think Barber is on the team next season for the simple fact of his cheap contract and his defined role as the short down back, but adding another RB is a must this offseason.