Joe Gibbs Club Member
- Oct 8, 2009
- Reaction score
- Leesburg, Va
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
@ New York Giants
@ Cleveland Browns
Vs Seattle Seahawks
@ Green Bay Packers
Vs New Orleans Saints
@ Arizona Cardinals
@ Dallas Cowboys
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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