All the good feelings and emotions from Washington’s week 1 defeat of the Philadelphia Eagles were quickly forgotten by a humbling loss to the Arizona Cardinals, 30-15. Kyler Murray was the best player on the field and Washington had another lethargic start which lead to a 20-0 deficit, which they were unable to overcome this time. Let’s look back at yesterday’s game.
- Chase Young- No matter the issues with the defense, Chase Young still is as good as advertised. Cardinals game planned to take Young out of the game but he still recorded a sack, and affected the play on others. Also Da’Ron Payne flashed as well.
- Kevin Pierre-Louis- Pierre-Louis was all over the field Sunday recording 15 tackles, 10 of them solo. His speed and play recognition served him well as he lead the team in tackles. He was the surprise of camp winning a starting linebacker spot and he is showing well.
- Terry McLaurin- While most of the offense is struggling, McLaurin is playing exceptionally well. McLaurin had seven receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. What makes it even more impressive is McLaurin is receiving the top cornerback coverage usually with safety help. Former All-Pro Patrick Peterson was on McLaurin most of the time yesterday and McLaurin still shined. There were a few more opportunities where Haskins did not get a chance to connect. McLaurin is by far Washington’s best offensive player.
- First Half Offense- Seven points in four quarters of first half football, by any metric that is not good. While the defense has allowed two fast starts Washington has been outscored 37-7 in the first half. In second halves this season Washington has outscored opponents 35-10. Haskins and the offense has to be more aggressive at the on set of games to set the tone. Fighting from behind is not a trait this team wants to make a habit of. Play calling has to improve and adjustments must be made sooner.
- Secondary- The secondary of Washington was attacked by formations, play design, and Kyler Murray’s legs. Troy Apke was especially bad missing Murray on both of his touchdown runs. Landon Collins missed a switch on the Hopkins touchdown, and Darby and Moreland had miscues as well. Kendall Fuller is needed in a big way but the play of the entire secondary must improve.
- Offensive Line- The offensive line hasn’t looked the best during the first two games of the season. The Cardinals attacked the line with various stunts that confused the line, and put consistent pressure on Haskins. The left side of the line has been especially bad with Geron Christian and Wes Martin looking like they have a long way to go. Brandon Scherff was injured and will miss 3-5 weeks which will hurt the line even more. If the line can turn it around the offense will have a chance to thrive.
- Dwayne Haskins- The starting QB has had some bumps in the road so far this season. Sunday he was under duress a lot, missed some throws, and ran prematurely on some plays. Also Haskins has been a gamer and fought hard for 60 minutes. Haskins hasn’t thrown an interception this season, but he did have a fumble when Brandon Scherff was beaten in the Redzone. Now is not the time to give up on Haskins but Coach Rivera and Turner need to put him in the best situations to succeed.
- NFC East- While Washington was having a tough day, the rest of division isn’t doing that much better. Dallas was down 20-0 like Washington but pulled off one miraculous comeback over Atlanta to move to 1-1. Philadelphia took another defeat to the Los Angeles Rams at home while Carson Wentz struggles and fell to 0-2. New York lost to the Bears while losing Saquon Barkley for the season, also fell to 0-2. There is no clear defined best team in the division right now.
- Tight Ends- Simply put Washington needs more production from the Tight End position. Logan Thomas has to play better and get more separation while running route. Thomas, the converted Virginia Tech quarterback, has to perform at a higher level for the offense can succeed. In Scott Turner’s offense, and in the NFL in general, tight ends are game changers and Washington needs one fast.