Where do I even begin with this team? All of the offseason good feelings and expectations have come shattering down with inept play, mind numbing mistakes, and questionable coaching decisions. Yesterday’s game was a good microcosm of the season as a whole, with terrible plays but still a chance to win late. In Ashburn a true and honest soul searching must earnestly begin if the team wants to right the ship on the 2021 season. By this point the team must realize that the defense needs major adjustments if this team wants to avoid drafting in the top 10 next draft. Let’s take a look back a yesterday’s game.
- Dustin Hopkins- If you happened to catch other NFL games yesterday, the amount of kicks missed was mind boggling. The Packers/Bengals game featured five missed field goals in the end of the 4th quarter and overtime alone. Cody Parkey of the Saints missed two extra points yesterday while embattled Hopkins made three fields and an extra point yesterday. No matter how much we on the outside question Dustin Hopkins the team still trusts him, which maybe the more important thing. Hopkins as yet to cost this team a game this season, so he is showing his value. That doesn’t mean he cannot be challenged for his spot however.
- Offensive Line Depth- One place of good improvement in the offseason was on the offensive line. Already coming into the game missing Brandon Scherff, Wes Schweitzer came in and didn’t miss a beat. (He had one penalty, and ineligible downfield on what was a run play that Heinicke improvised.) Samuel Cosmi went down with an ankle injury on the first Antonio Gibson touchdown, Cornelius Lucas came in and the line didn’t miss a beat. The Saints have a solid defensive line and only gave up two sacks and routinely gave Taylor Heinicke a clean pocket. This is a good thing going forward.
- Turnovers- The defense was able to force two early turnovers which helped keep Washington in the game yesterday. Jonathan Allen’s pressure caused Winston to throw an interception to Cole Holcomb which led to a field goal. Then two drives later the Saints were driving and Chase Young forced a fumble from Winston, recovered by Da’Ron Payne, which led to another field goal. While the offense did not cash those in with touchdowns, this is a good sign that they defense was able to turn the opposing team over.
- Hailmary- This was a game until the final play of the first half. After the Saints punter pinned the offense at the one yard line the offense went 3 and out and looked to have drained the clock. After a decent punt return from Alvin Kamara, the Saints were left at the Washington 49 yard line and 8 seconds. The defense prepared for a short quick pass to set up a long field goal. This makes sense however not one player or coach seemed to think about a possible hailmary and the aggressive Sean Payton dialed one up. The secondary let receivers run right past them, jump in the air, and make the easiest hailmary catch I’ve ever seen. This was a lack of effort and effectively ended the game for Washington. Just terrible, no excuses just terrible.
- Defense- There are so many issues here it’s hard to process. Players are underachieving, coaches are calling terrible plays and personnel groups, and there are missed tackles and blown coverages, and lack of communication. What was supposed to be the backbone and strength of this team is now a liability at two levels. Once a team neutralizes the front four this defense is effectively beaten. A revamp is needed ASAP and it will start with personnel changes. Landon Collins is almost unplayable, William Jackson is routinely confused in the scheme when not playing press man, Jamin Davis cannot even get on the field. There needs to be a massive shakeup because the schedule and quarterbacks don’t get any easier.
- Taylor Heinicke- The questions around Heinicke continued yesterday with a some questionable throws that led to two horrible interceptions that cost this team a chance of winning. The first interception came after a long drive that the team got to the fringe of the redzone, and on first down tries to throw a double move to Curtis Samuels who was well covered. That cost the team at minimum 3 points and maybe seven. Then late in the game on a third down, on his own four yard line, throws another interception to a triple covered Deandre Carter which led to a Saints touchdown which put the game out of reach. Thats a possible 14 point swing in a game the team lost by 11. That isn’t good and the team can’t have that level of play from the quarterback.
- Field Position- The Saints’ Blake Gillikin put on punting clinic yesterday that routinely left the Washington offense pinned inside their own five yard line in the second half. Those drives either ended in punts or a turnover and killed the momentum of the offense. That is such an effective weapon and restricted the Washington offense running plays from their own 2 yard line. If there was an MVP for the Saints Gillikin would definitely be in the running for it, he directly affect the outcome of that game.
- Injuries- Samuel Cosmi ended up getting his ankle rolled in the first quarter. Cosmi came out next drive and could not continue, hopefully it is just a mild sprain. Curtis Samuels ended up injuring his groin yesterday and Coach Rivera just said that he didn’t get warmed up and loose like he wanted to. Hopefully for Washington this does not become a lingering concern for Samuels.
- NFC East- The Dallas Cowboys are starting to get some separation as they defeated the New York Giants yesterday to improve to 4-1 while the Giants fell to 1-4. The Philadelphia Eagles were able to come from behind a defeat the Carolina Panthers to improve to 2-3 with Washington. Washington has to get it going or Dallas is going to leave them in the dust.