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Back Shoulder Fade - Bye Week Edition

One of many experimental iterations ...

SilentThreat

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By Derek Gardner


Hello WFT nation! In this introductory entry of the Back Shoulder Fade, I wanted to take the bye week to cover a handful of topics regarding our beloved franchise, even if it’s a painful relationship to endure… at times.


Let’s kick it off with the first half grades. This will be a rather generic grade and upcoming installments will dig a little deeper as things go.


Coaching – C. I’m grading this on a little bit of a curve given the current landscape of the team. We have been about as steady and controlled as a washing machine in this area, so something as basic as having character players like Jon Allen, Terry McLaurin, and Jack Del Rio all speaking to how well practice went last week is refreshing. Rivera has made questionable decisions, but there is absolutely one thing that is indisputable… the locker room believes in him.



Offense – D. When trying to grade an assignment turned in at school, a ‘D’ comes in somewhere between 60% and 70%. I don’t think we’re even that high ‘yet’ but with the improvements of the play calling, and execution we’ve seen over the last two weeks (and the lovely honeymoon feeling of dominating the hated Dallas Cowboys), paired with some bright spots starting to emerge, I do not want to give the offense a total ‘F.’ McLaurin is a stud. Gibson appears to be a rising player who can have an impact in this league. Scherff has the ability to be a top 5 guard in the NFL. Beyond that there are moments that give you hope, but not sure they give you a lot of confidence…. Yet.



Defense – B-. Yeah, I said it. B-. The defense had a bad stretch where we gave up 30 or more in 4 straight games against the Cardinals, Browns, Ravens, and Rams. Those teams are a combined 20 – 7 and are ranked in the top half of the league in scoring. The d-line has been as advertised, despite what some will argue against that. Currently we rank 6th in sacks per game (3.1), and 4th overall (22). The other part of this is pressures. It’s 100% fact that the INTs vs the Giants, and the Rams, were caused by a Chase Young Pressure. We do likely drop a little this week due to the BYE, but at worst we’re top 8. Overall the defense is top 15 in measurable stats, except for rushing YPG where we are 17th (and I STILL stand behind the fact that we’ve faced 3 of top rushing QBs in the NFL in Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Daniel Jones, who are ranked 1, 2, 3, in the category). Secondary was a concern, but we have a co-leader in INTS and one of the top rated CBs according to PFF… and we given up the LOWEST YPG in the passing game. Part of that is effectiveness in the run game, and allowing teams get out to an early lead, but it’s still a LARGE jump from years past.



Overall-C. The team is about where we thought they would be. The few true bright spots on the team are obvious, and it appears that the locker room buys in. Coaching decisions have been questionable at times, but it should not be overshadowed that the coaches are making the decisions they believe in, and public opinion does not appear to be their focus. In a division that is grossly underachieving, it appears we’re not only in contention, but borderline in control of winning it and hosting a playoff game… how crazy is that?



Now to look forward!


With the trade deadline approaching, I don’t see us being MAJOR players in one way or the other. I could see us adding some small pieces, but I would be surprised if a big name is moved. Ryan Anderson likely dealt for a 2nd half of the draft pick but don’t know about much more than that. I could see us adding a WR, or TE, but would be surprised if it’s someone like Allen Robinson and David Njoku.


As far as the division goes, Dallas is about done. They are on their 3rd string QB, and 457th O-lineman. NYG could sneak in and mess it all up but I just don’t ‘fear’ them. Philly is likely our biggest hurdle and we’ve already bested them once. To really get a look at this, I want to look at the schedule going forward.



The remaining Washington schedule:

Vs New York Giants
@ Detroit Lions
Vs Cincinnati Bengals
@ Dallas Cowboys (Thanksgiving)
@ Pittsburgh Steelers
@ San Francisco 49ers
Vs Seattle Seahawks
Vs Carolina Panthers
@ Philadelphia Eagles



The remaining Philadelphia Eagles schedule:

Vs Dallas Cowboys

Bye Week

@ New York Giants
@ Cleveland Browns
Vs Seattle Seahawks
@ Green Bay Packers
Vs New Orleans Saints
@ Arizona Cardinals
@ Dallas Cowboys
Vs Washington



Breaking this all down, Philly has an absolutely brutal 5 game stretch, where our schedule is clearly less damning. We’ve already played Cleveland and Arizona, and we have Detroit and Carolina where Philly has Green Bay, and New Orleans. Philly tied Cincy, so that could be the difference maker. Our next 4 games are winnable. Not guaranteeing a win, but winnable. Philly has 2 winnable games, then that stretch that could kill their season. Ultimately I think the division comes down to the Washington @ Philadelphia matchup week 17.



It’s been a pleasure putting this all on digital paper and, as always, having everyone around on BGO is awesome. Appreciate the family, and hopefully we can have some fun the 2 half of the year.
 

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Boone

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Marine Corps Virginia

Good stuff ST :cheers: I can't quibble much with your grades so far. A 'C' seems tough on the coaching side, but it's hard to give them higher given the 'results'. But when you look at what this brand new coaching staff has had to contend with, it's more impressive with that, a short list including:

1) Coming into a draft basically cold with a holdover scouting department.
2) The COVID pandemic robbing them of nearly any significant quality time to assess or prepare players. Tough for veteran coaches, but absolutely brutal for a new staff.
3) Inheriting high draft pick QB you neither drafted, nor believe in, but who is the owner's preference. Again... not an easy situation to navigate.
4) HC diagnosed with cancer and going through treatments in-season.
5) Franchise decides to cast fan preference and tradition aside and cave to social justice pressure and change the team name.
6) National scandal involving sexual harassment, workplace abuse, and misogynistic culture in Ashburn.
7) Team is in total rebuild mode.

I'm sure there are other things I'm missing - oh, like major political upheaval, rioting, and societal chaos - all challenges for any coach, but more problematic for a new coaching staff. It's hard to look at the results and give higher than a 'C'. But one could make the argument that Rivera and company have worked actual miracles in the short time they've been here.

You didn't rate the Special Teams. For me, that would be a mixed bag. We have the best punter in the NFL on our roster. Kick returns is starting to show me something (Danny Johnson has give us a real boost on that front - so far anyway). But everything else? Yikes.

Enjoyed your first installment and can't wait to see where you take it.
 

SilentThreat

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Good stuff ST :cheers: I can't quibble much with your grades so far. A 'C' seems tough on the coaching side, but it's hard to give them higher given the 'results'. But when you look at what this brand new coaching staff has had to contend with, it's more impressive with that, a short list including:
Yeah, the "C" is kind of a focus on the on-field coaching. Turner was restricted with Haskins at QB, and the playcalling was 'better' against Dallas... but I still feel like there were some things we could have done a lot better before that. Turner has not 'wowed' us... but I also am not in the camp that he's been a total disappointment either.

I was hyper - focused on the 'on field results' with these grades... not necessarily the off the field hurdles we have overcome. Rivera has done about as well as you can ask anyone to do given all those things you've listed.... and I actually think he's done a hell of a lot better than a lot of people want to give him credit for.

To go a step further with this, I was actually talking to someone the other day. I look for the coaching to improve over the next few weeks, because now Rivera will no longer be getting treatment. He will no longer need to be in a DR office multiple times a week. He will not have to 'think' about the fact that he has a treatment coming up that afternoon, or the next morning. I wonder if we see an uptick in the team because Rivera has now gotten over this hump to a point, and his focus can now be realigned. BTW this is not a shot at Rivera saying he wasn't focused or should have done more, but to expect anyone to go through what he was going through and also have the time, and mental ability, to focus 100% on the team is not only incorrect, but it's unfair. His health is the priority...
 

SilentThreat

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Call me crazy but Jimmy G going down, as well as Kittle changes the dynamic of that game 6 weeks from now...
 

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