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Week 3 - Hat Tips and Duds

McKissic for the win

Canadian Hog

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The third week of the WFT season is in the books and once again, we are left with more questions than answers surrounding this team. After being steamrolled 43-21 in Buffalo, the concern is real and this team faces the possibility of having things go sideways in a hurry if we can't find some solutions. This was easily the team's worst performance since last October and served as a stark reminder that maybe this really is going to be a 5 year plan like we initially thought when Ron Rivera took over the team.

As a result of the awful play yesterday overall, I have decided to rename "Studs and Duds" this week to "Hat Tips and Duds." Frankly, there wasn't one player who stood out for 4 quarters in Burgundy and Gold who deserved "stud" status. You saw flashes here and there from some players and we will simply acknowledge those spurts with a tip of the hat. Let's get started:

Hat Tips:

1. J.D. McKissic - J.D. earned a stud performance last week vs. the Giants for some great work in the pass game. When he saw the field, he was an immediate spark plug and gave the offence a dynamic element. He flat out made things happen. At Buffalo, he got the ball on the opening play of the game for us offensively and ripped off a nice 8 yard run. It looked like what would prove to be the start of a productive day for him. However, we didn't see much of him afterwards. He finished the day with 23 yards rushing on 3 carries. He had another particularly nice carry that went for 11 yards, as well as a 3rd and 8 catch where he gained 11 yards after showing some nice shiftiness in open space to make a defender miss. To me, this is a guy that can be used as a weapon if Scott Turner decides to simply put him in the game more often.

2. Jamin Davis - after the Bills scored on their opening drive, they decided to be aggressive on their second possession and go for a 4th and 2 on our side of the field. Jamin Davis showed the ability to make a good read and tackle by stopping the Bills receiver short of the first down. It was a step in the right direction for the rookie, who continues to learn on the fly. Hopefully plays like this will continue to become more frequent, and allow #52 to gain more and more confidence as the season wears on.

3. Taylor Heinicke - many will say that Taylor Heinicke forced throws and tried to do too much yesterday. That certainly was the case, but Scott Turner played a part in that too (more on that later). While not a great game by any stretch of the imagination, what I would like to acknowledge though is the kid's competitiveness, particularly in the 4th quarter when we were down 29 points. He took a few shots at the end of the game scrambling, running around, and trying to make things happen in the final minutes when the game was completely over. He laid it all out there and was still fighting. You couldn't tell we were down 43-14 from the way he was carrying himself on the field. He made a nice little touch pass to Thomas and placed it only where he would be able to go up and get it on our final score. Thomas showed his appreciation for Heinicke after that TD, and I personally don't think it was necessarily for the throw he made - I think it was for the guts Heinicke showed leading up to that point throughout the possession. It is going to be important for the team to stay in Heinicke's corner this season and stay together. I thought Heinicke's drive at the end of the game can contribute somewhat to ensuring that happens hopefully.

4. Daron Payne - in the first Bills drive of the game, Payne seemed like the only guy defensively who was awake. He established some good interior pressure. I suppose you give credit to Josh Allen for making some plays on their opening drive, but Payne was as active and disruptive as we have seen him be all throughout the season in the first few defensive series yesterday.

5. Antonio Gibson - the 73 yard catch and run showed why some believe this guy can play a Christian McCaffrey-type role in Scot Turner's offence. It was a great example of sheer individual skill and talent taking over, something we have been missing for a long time in Washington.

Duds:

1. Chase Young - yes, it took 3 weeks, but we are officially calling out the #2 overall pick and supposed face of the franchise. When it comes to young, dynamic players that take the league by storm, they often reach a point where in order to stay on top and have the edge, they need to make adjustments as the rest of the league gets up to speed and determines ways to neutralize them. It seems as though opposing teams are adjusting to Young's tendencies and evolving faster than he is. Where are his in-game adjustments? What is he doing to gain an edge? Apparently, it seems like the answer to that is nothing. He appears to simply be relying on sheer talent to get by and it is not working. Young mentioned to the press yesterday that if anybody is bulls****ing in practice this week to let him know. I hope he is not partaking in it himself. Time to put up or shut up for #99.

2. Scot Turner - the defensive performances are surely not making this guy's job any easier, I will give him that. However, Turner helped to facilitate yesterday's game being put into major chase mode and out of reach a lot sooner than it needed to be. I felt that if we could have gone into Buffalo and given ourselves a chance to compete in the 4th quarter, it would have been deemed a success this week. That would have required a patient approach offensively though. Unfortunately, it was 21-0 in the blink of an eye. We attempted a total of 3 runs on our first three drives of the game. Those same three drives resulted in a punt, a fumble, and an interception. Taylor Heinicke is a pretty cool story so far. However, we know his deficiencies. They know that some of his flaws are forcing the ball and trying to do too much. Why dial up a game plan in the first few possessions (when we were already playing from behind) that feeds right into those tendencies?

3. Jack Del Rio - we are 3 for 3 in allowing teams to march down the field and score a touchdown on their opening possession this year. We were slow starters many times last year as well, but the difference was that we eventually sorted our stuff out a season ago and became difficult to play against defensively in-game. There appeared to be no adjustments yesterday at all. There appeared to be no effort to take risks and send multiple guys Josh Allen's way in hopes of rattling him. For a guy that has started relatively slow this year, I thought the most important thing we could have done yesterday was not let his confidence soar. We did just the opposite, allowing him to comfortably hit targets all day. You are walking into Buffalo where your chances of winning are already very slim - take some risks for goodness sake! Make Fuller, Jackson, and St. Juste earn their keep on the outside and send pressure. Go down swinging at least. Instead, the Bills easily neutralized the 4 guys we routinely sent after Allen time and time again. If anything, we looked more and more beaten down as the game wore on as well. The 17 play, 93 yard TD drive that iced the game early in the second half suggested that something appears to be off. Could Del Rio and some of the defensive players not be seeing eye to eye?

4. Kendall Fuller and Landon Collins - as has been the case more often than not this year, Fuller's coverage skills were really suspect again in Buffalo. We know that is a major problem right now. However, I am putting Fuller and Collins as a duo on the dud list from a leadership standpoint today. Obviously, the defence is struggling mightily. My issue is that the supposed defensive leaders on this team - the likes of Jon Allen and Young - are not really battle tested. We are asking guys who don't have a lot of experience in this league to pick these guys up when they are beaten down. They haven't quite "been there and done that" so to speak yet. They too are young and still evolving. Fuller and Collins on the other hand have a bit more experience. Fuller has won a Super Bowl in Kansas City. Are these two doing enough from a leadership standpoint to pick up some of the slack? I am not seeing some of the supposed veteran presence on this team rise up when the younger group hits a wall, that's all.

5. Cole Holcomb and Jon Bostic - simply put, our LB group is getting abused in pass coverage. Josh Allen did a nice job putting the ball where it needed to be yesterday, and it could be argued that there was not much Holcomb could have done differently on the Dawson Knox TD. However, on the Zack Moss TD reception, Holcomb literally watched Moss fall down, get up, put a move on him, catch the ball and walk in for the score. We need to play with a bit more desperation and hunger.

Thoughts? Who did we miss?

Hopefully next week in Atlanta, we can add many Studs to this list and go easy on the Duds.
 

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Boone

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Marine Corps Virginia

I think you have to give Dustin Hopkins a tip of the hat. Had we actually shown up in other areas that heads-up recovery of his own kick could've been a difference maker in the game. I know he's WFT fan's favorite whipping boy, but that was a great play and shows he at least had his head in the game yesterday.
 

Chris

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I’ll give a nod to Dustin Hopkins. Made all his kicks and recovered a loose ball.

Jamin Davis had 6 tackles (5 solo) on his usual limited plays. He is not going to improve watching from the sideline while Del Rio goes heavily to the 4-2-5 scheme. Play the 1st rounder, what is there to lose? He has to be a better option in coverage than Chase Young.
 

SirClintonPortis

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Let’s just consider this season an extended preseason.

Only bright thing about Chase is that Michael Strahan isn’t giving him tips on out to fuck us over twice a year, every year.
 

SkinsOrlando

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Kent State

The whole team was damn near vomitous yesterday, at this rate we're picking top 5 again. A few plays here and there doesn't get me excited, this team right now is awful. No synergy, no energy and the coaching staff embarrassing themselves as well.

Hat Tips: Any WFT fan who managed not to break into expletive rants for almost the entire game

Duds: The WFT
 

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