Complimentary Football in Washington, a Downwards Trend.

No matter how frustrating being a fan of this team is due to those associated with it off the field engaging in their own immoral escapades, there is nothing more frustrating than an on-field product that fails to do anything that you, the fan, wishes it could do. But if we go deeper, what part of the actual play is the most upsetting? What makes a fanbase detach and lose interest? What ruins our Sundays? I argue that the lack of complimentary football being played is extremely discouraging, and with a team like ours, it seems built to discourage.

Complimentary football, for those unaware, is when a symbiotic relationship is formed between all sides of the ball on one team. The defense provides stops, the offense gives the defense a break with a long drive and so on and so forth. This season, the lack of this is extremely evident. Carson Wentz has decent numbers, outside of his interceptions. But judging by the first two weeks of the season, he should have top-5 numbers. In the recent two games, production has notably decreased, resulting in only 388 combined passing yards between the two games. This, in my opinion, doesn't fall on Wentz as much as the numbers say. He took 11 sacks in these two games, and a measly 227 rushing yards by Washington in these two games certainly doesn't take much pressure off of him. Wentz and the offense also face the #2 and #4 defenses in the league scoring wise, although the Commanders performance contribute to their standing. So clearly, something, or multiple things, are not being executed as intended for Washington offensively. This alone reduces the chance to win games dramatically, but it can at the least be somewhat redeemed by a stout defense.

2020. A better time. For Washington football at least. The best defense that we had seen in perhaps decades rose to prominence, even if it was somewhat of a fluke given the state of our division at that time. There was real promise to be one of the best units in the league for years to come. Now our defense is...comprised of football players. It's quite hard to judge the talent of this group and where the failing of the actual unit ends and where bad coaching begins. Washington has a bottom 10 defense in terms of scoring, but this lacks vital context such as field position, injuries, or Jack Del Rio. Yes, the infamous coordinator has been under fire for some time now, as he should be. A defense filled with the type of talent that is present here should not be a bottom 10 unit. However, there are glaring player-based issues. William Jackson III has been an extremely disappointing. It is no longer hyperbole to say he is similar to the disaster of Josh Norman. He is consistently beaten, sometimes by established elite receivers, and sometimes by the USFL's finest. Kendall Fuller has also been gashed, allowing an astronomical 130.1 passer rating on throws in his direction. Yet, at least judging strictly by the eye test, the defense has become more competent the past two weeks. Despite yards and points still being allowed in bunches, it mostly seems to be a result of pure exhaustion. Although Washington is 4th in time of possession, this is mostly due to garbage time drives. Punt after punt after punt is not going to benefit anyone but the tax dependents of Tress Way, and it results in a tired defense simply being outran.

This isn't exactly a recent trend. Last season, Washington finished 21st in total offense, and 22nd in total defense. In 2020, Washington was 2nd in total defense, while 30th in total offense. This continues until 2005, where Washington had the 11th best defense, and the 9th best offense. Each of the last three playoff teams have had a bottom five unit (2012, 2015 defense, 2020 offense). It's been 17 years since we played complimentary football consistently for the whole season. A shocker, 2005 is also the last season we won a playoff game. I'm not saying that our coaches aren't striving for a balanced team, but right now there is no sign of a method to their madness. There's a reason we are not coaches and they are, but at some point their problems become evident and glaring. So now is the real test for Rivera and Co. You know what's wrong, now fix it accordingly. Failure will only result in more apathy, the plague of the DMV.