Just like the railing that caused a lot of fans to fall into a tunnel, the Washington season has been a disaster waiting to break and splatter all over the place.
#Eagles QB Jalen Hurts was sacked only once during today’s game. Almost had a second on his way to the locker room. pic.twitter.com/WwBE5pXaxO
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 2, 2022
After their comeback attempt was ended with a Rodney Mcloud interception, the WFT season is offically over.
They have a lot of questions going forward, but have very few answers.
The offense was putrid all year. Just to put into perspective how bad their offense is, Terry McLaurin is their leading receiving leader with 960 yards. Their second leading pass catcher is JD McKissic at 397 yards. He has not played since Thanksgiving.
To be fair, they have not had Logan Thomas or Curtis Samuel for a huge portion of the season. But for the lack of a consistent pass catching threat outside of Terry to not be there shows.
🗣 Free Terry McLaurin in 2022 pic.twitter.com/lkzrSXGDGU
— PFF (@PFF) January 1, 2022
Taylor Heinicke is not a starting QB in the NFL. Heinicke is like a relief pitcher in baseball. He can come in, get you through a few spots when your QB goes down, but only for a certain amount of time before he starts to break down. People around the organization know this, that is why they brought in Ryan Fitzpatrick to be the starter. Speaking of Fitzpatrick, I don’t expect him to be back next season. He’ll be 40 years old by the middle of next season, plus he’s coming off a hip dislocation. There will be a new QB in Washington next season.
They fully went into last off-season knowing that they needed a new QB, and they did actively try to find that guy. Rivera said himself that they were in the Matt Stafford sweepstakes, but were “outbid” by the LA Rams. Now it is worth noting that Stafford did not have Washington on his list of teams that he wanted to go to, but FWIW, they tired.
Moving up in the draft for a QB was not going to happen either. If you look at the draft and the way it was set up, the prime spot to move up for a Justin Fields or Mac Jones was the 10-12 pick range. The only issue is that those picks were all hed by NFC East foes, so that was not going to happen, hence why Chicago was able to move up so easy.
As of week Week 17, they would have the 9th overall pick. That could potentially put them right in line for one of the QB prospects that many people expect them to look at. What other options are there for them? They could take a flyer on a guy like Marcus Mariota, Drew Lock, or even Mitch Trubisky (who they were linked to at the trade deadline), but Washington needs to find their long term solution. They are better off getting a guy like Matt Corral and developing him for the future.
Another glaring question is the defense. What in the world happened?
Last season, Washington ranked in the top 10 in total yards, passing yards, turnovers, sacks and scoring defense. This year, they fell to the bottom of the league in all of these same categories (except sacks, where they rank 16th).
I don't mean to stir the pot — I swear — but found this interesting:
Jay Gruden through 32 games with Washington: 13-19
Ron Rivera through 32 games with Washington: 13-19
— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) January 3, 2022
Now does them having to play a first place schedule have anything to do with this? Does them playing guys like Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers instead of Andy Dalton, Nick Mullens, and Rya Finley? Potentially, but for them to have this much of a drop off is staggering. This defense was supposed to be a cornerstone for their success, instead you can argue it’s been their downfall.
Will DC Jack Del Rio be back next season? His job has to genuinly be evaluated. With the amount of first round capital and money spent on this defense, there is no reason they should be among the worst in the league. Jamin Davis, their first round pick has not improved at all this season. They are taking him out on run plays in favor for backup LB David Mayo. Why draft a guy in the first round saying “I’m not afraid to play my rookies”, just to take him out of a game that determines your season?
Jamin Davis is fast as hell but our coaches playing Mayo pic.twitter.com/YgUOMc33Vx
— Tyler (@WFTeamer) January 2, 2022
They have some key players coming off major injuries who play a major role in the growth of the team. Pass rusher Chase Young and TE Logan Thomas are coming off torn ACLs, Curtis Samuel has yet to fully recover from his groin/hamstring injury, and center Chase Roullier is coming off a fibula fracture.
Will they bring back Landon Collins? He was playing well in his new hybrid LB/Safety role before getting hurt. He has a $16.2M cap hit in 2022, cuttign him would save them just under $7M. Washington will go into this offseason with the 5th most cap space in the league, so they could look at some options to add to the team so get back into the playoffs for 2022-23.
At this point, the only positive Washington fans have to look forward to is a new name will be announced within the very near future.
The future in Washington is murky at best and this is without a doubt the most important off-season in the Ron Rivera led Washington Football Team era. If he does not get things right and produces a winning product, this team will crack at the little foundation the have and the few fans he has left will turn on him like they have the rest of the organization.