Preface: It’s now week six and, wow, looking at some of these reactions are funny. Kyle and I were amped up about the offense through the first four games.... I would say that isn’t really the case anymore. We were down on the defense and somehow they got even worse. I know these reactions are old but just enjoy how hilarious some of these thoughts look combined with our reactions to the week five debacle against New Orleans.
Via Yahoo Sports
In what has been an up and down season to say the least, the Washington Football Team somehow find themselves sitting at an even 2-2 and in sole possession of second place of the NFC Beast — I mean, East.
Although not all of the Good Griefs are WFT fans, those of us who are need to have our voices heard. Here are Kyle and Richie's in-depth and incredibly biased reactions, opinions and predictions to the first four weeks of the season and beyond.
Through four weeks of wildly unpredictable play from the WFT, the only word coming to mind which truly encapsulates the nature of our season is… confusing?
Every Sunday, I ask which version of this defense are we going to get? Are we going to get the front four that terrorized opposing lines week in and week out last year, constantly applying pressure and taking stress off the secondary? Or will we continue to see a unit that has enough gaps to give up a 30-bomb to a rapidly aging Matt Ryan?
Unfortunately, there are very few redeeming qualities so far that lead me to believe the former will ever come back this year… or is there?
You hate to see a player go down with an injury, but after Jon Bostic left Sunday’s game with a season-ender, the general consensus among fans seems to be optimistic. The linebacker position has been nothing short of underwhelming this year (describing them as generously as possible), and this may just open up an opportunity to try some things out — namely giving first-round pick Jamin Davis a chance to shine. The position certainly has its options on the FA market. It is still the bleakest of areas for the WFT going forward, but at the very least the coaching staff is forced to try something new in the upcoming weeks.
Peter Hailey from NBCSN gave an interesting outlook that has certainly got me thinking about the coaching staff’s decision to play Bostic prior to injury. Regardless if it makes sense or not, the unit needs to improve if the team wants any chance of beating high-powered offenses.
The defensive line has also been a concern this year. Maybe it’s an overreaction because they haven’t played horribly, but after seeing what they could be capable of last year, it’s fair to say that tallying a singular sack against Matt Ryan just isn’t good.
My thoughts so far? Jon Allen is a tank, Montez Sweat is good at racking up stats, and Chase Young has far more unnecessary penalties than well… just about any other stat this season. He needs to step up for this team NOW, because the “we should have drafted Herbert” narrative is running VERY STRONGLY through my head right now. The only thing keeping me sane about his lack of production so far this season is that he struggled out of the gate last year, but it wasn’t nearly this bad.
There are too many things to dive into regarding the secondary so I’ll just keep it short: It’s abundantly clear that their discrepancies were masked by the proficiency in the pass rush last season. Without it, their true colors are being exposed. On paper, they’re supposed to be better than last year, but the communication just isn’t there. Your defense is struggling when you see receivers with 20 yards of clearance on their way to the endzone, and that’s something we’ve seen on a multitude of occasions so far this year.
I know it’s been a rough breakdown — dark even. With all that I’ve said, we’ve seen what they can do. It was the defense that carried us to a playoff berth last season, not the offense. If they can just turn up the heat, even just a little bit — they may have a winning formula, especially with the shockingly dynamic offense we’ve seen through four weeks…
I’m so bought in on Taylor Heinicke it's not even funny. If you want to make fun of me, or scoff, or straight up laugh in my face, I implore you to do so — because the stats somehow back me up. Why is he playing well? I have no clue. All I know is that he has some sort of “it” factor that is simply unexplainable. I pray that he can keep it going because it’s all we got right now.
Terry McLaurin is our shining star. Dan Snyder NEEDS to pay him this offseason without any sort of regard for saving money. Big catches, zero drops, he’s been absolutely killing it. AG has also been impressive at running back, but that was to be expected.
The o-line needs to get some credit as well. It feels like Taylor has been under minimal pressure the entire season with infinite time to get the ball out — undoubtedly a contributing factor to his success this season.
Deandre Carter won us the game in Atlanta with his kickoff return. I said it after week one and I’ll say it again now, he is an unsung hero of this team.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this team responds to better defenses this year. We saw how the Bills ate Taylor alive, and with our upcoming schedule there’s a strong possibility that his flaws may be brought to the surface.
For now though, I am blindly and wildly convinced that Taylor Heinicke may just be QB-X… or at least the closest thing we’ve had to it in Washington.
That was gross.
Defense is still horrid. How a Hail Mary is completed for a touchdown to close the first half is absolutely beyond me. How for the umpteenth week in a row a wide receiver is open behind our secondary with nobody within forty yards of him is beyond me. Our secondary has problems… glaring ones. Ron needs to change something, and if he doesn’t in a hurry — he may just find his seat getting a few degrees warmer.
Taylor Heinicke was awful. Good moments, as per usual, but overall it may just have been his worst performance in the burgundy and gold. This wasn’t the offense that we’ve been seeing, yet somehow they still managed to put up a reasonable amount of points. Yet none of that matters when your defense can’t help but give up 30+ every game.
Terry was locked up by Lattimore today but I don’t think panic buttons need to be pressed there.
Chase Young actually had a solid game today — a forced fumble with pressure is exactly what he needs to be doing week in and week out.
If our defense as a whole doesn’t improve in a hurry, I can’t anticipate this team winning more than 5 games this year. The schedule simply won’t allow it.
As bullish as I was coming off of a gutsy week four performance, the glass has suddenly become half empty for the Washington Football Team in my eyes.
I’m also not even going to address the off-field stuff. It’s too infuriating to even begin to talk about.
I’ll be honest -- it has been a bit of struggle trying to watch the Washington Football Team living up here in Chicago. The Bears always take precedence, and I always end up watching them. Either way, I have spent my last 4 Sundays watching what can be described as flagrantly average football.
I like to write because it gives me time to sit down, research what I’m talking about, provide some statistics, and think about what I’m putting down on the pages here. Let me invite you to join me in sitting down and thinking about some of these statistics regarding the WFT defense:
30th in scoring defense (122 points allowed, 30.5 points per game)
29th in takeaways (2)
29th in passing defense (1,196 yards allowed, 299 per game, 10 TDs)
Growing up, I used to watch the early SportsCenter before school, and Neil Everett and Stan Verrett would grace my 6:30 mornings with their memorable catchphrases. One of my favorites was when Stan would read off a string of bad statistics for a team or individual and ask, “Neil, is that bad?” as if he had forgotten he was hosting a sports television show. And Neil would always respond with:
“It’s not good.”
Well, there’s your string of bad statistics for a team. The Washington Football Team defense… is not good. And I’ll be honest, I’ve seen these stats next to the Washington Football Team name before, and it wasn’t that upsetting because it’s what we have grown to expect from this team.
Not this year, though!
This defense was touted as one of the best up-and-coming, dominant defenses in the league! If you want to compare the stats from this year to last year, you might understand the grand disappointment the fans have. WFT was 2nd in passing defense (only 21 TDs allowed)... PAUSE. Are you telling me we are halfway towards our mark from last year through four games? Is that bad?
Continuing… 4th in total scoring (329 points allowed), and 7th in the league in takeaways (23). We were an elite defense last year, plain and simple. But our defense this year is what might not let this team live up to its expectations.
I don’t mention the rushing defense because we finished 14th in rushing yards last year and are 16th in the league right now. Nothing too concerning. It’s our pass defense that is abominable. And, hand up, I’ll admit, football was the only sport of the four major American sports that I didn’t play growing up, so I have a limited football knowledge. BUT -- I feel like I am a logical human being with good reasoning. My logical guess for what’s wrong in this situation and how to fix it?
Our defense is bad, and I don’t know, just fix it, please.
I’m gonna stop rambling now, and move on to talking about the best part of this football team.
TAYLOR HEINICKE! This guy is my guy. Our city first fell in love with him last January in our playoff game against the Bucs, and with Ryan Fitzpatrick’s unfortunate injury, we have fallen in love with him again.
Now, he isn’t Tom Brady (or maybe Derek Carr is a more apt comparison this year). Hell, he may not even be Jared Goff. He also isn’t Davis Mills. The reason why we like this guy so much is because he’s gritty (this is the part of the article where I like to talk in generalities). He’s tougher than a $2 steak. He gets it done, and, wow, does he want to win.
Heinicke is middle-of-the-pack for just about any QB stat right now (21st in yards, 13th in TDs), but it’s his intangible desire to win, and do-whatever-it-takes attitude that’s going to propel this team forward. That third-quarter, pylon-diving touchdown in the January playoff game is Taylor Heinicke.
Other parts of the offense look solid (solid, not great). Antonio Gibson is looking pretty good with a couple of touchdowns and big plays this season, and “Scary” Terry McLaurin is among league leaders in receptions (25) and TDs (3). I’ll admit, the Logan Thomas injury puts the team at a bit of a deficit, but overall, the offense looks solid -- nothing more, and nothing less.
In summary, our defense needs to play better (← did that sound like I know a lot about football?). But seriously, we have won two games we should have won (Falcons and Giants), and we lost two games we should have lost (Chargers and Bills). I know I kind of tore apart the defense there, but we don’t need to panic right now. We have a winnable game against the Saints coming up this weekend before facing the (surprisingly not scary) Chiefs after that.
But for now, we are 2-2. Kyle, is that bad?
Actually, no. It’s not that bad.
Okay, it might be bad.
I mean who are we playing every week? Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers?! It just seems like this defensive pattern is irreversible.
I’m typically the happy and optimistic one with the teams I root for… I’m always the one saying, “oh things are bound to turn around. With that much potential? There’s no way they squander that!”
Whelp, it’s the third game in a row allowing 33 points or more, and I’m starting to think the potential is about halfway to being squandered.
Heinicke and the offense looked awful against the Saints, and credit to the Saints for having an above average defense, but the offense did not look good (still putting up a fair 22 points, though!). As I am a huge Heinicke fan, I will acknowledge that he is doing the best he can here, but there are two sides of the football: the one with the ball and the one without it. And our side without the ball is not good, plain and simple.
I announce that I am not in FULL panic mode, as there is a lot of football left to be played (again with my stupid optimism), and the NFC East isn’t incredible. With that being said, however, I am not comfortable being a Washington Football fan right now.