football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

Washington Will Have Successful 2021 Season If…

  • The Draft Network
  • June 29, 2021
  • Share

The arrival of new faces escorts a change of presence and personality, and with it comes an inherent change in culture and identity. Since the arrival of Ron Rivera in the nation’s capital, the proof is in the pudding for the progression Washington has taken as a franchise in just the last 18 months.

Now, with a division title under their belt and optimism aplenty surrounding one of football’s most budding rosters, 2021 could be their step back toward the top of the conference totem pole.

While changes have come in abundance at nearly every position on both sides of the ball since Rivera’s arrival, the carousel under center has continued for the burgundy and gold, as they enter training camp set to give the starting nod to journeyman signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick, who’ll be tasked with leading an exciting arsenal of young offensive talent in Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson, and offseason addition Curtis Samuel. Although his story is often classified as a folly overshadowed by his extravagant play and unique image, Fitzpatrick has never led an offensive unit tasked with just keeping things close as Washington’s success hinges upon its ability to dominate on defense, rather than placing the burden on the 38-year-old’s shoulders to catch lightning in a bottle on a weekly basis.

For many, Washington, again, doesn’t have a true answer under center. Fitzpatrick looks to be QB1, but what about late-season hero Taylor Heinicke? Kyle Allen? While a potential competition in camp makes for great journalism, I say otherwise, in that Washington, for the first time in a long while, has a slew of options to line up under center that can indeed get the job done and lead Washington to their second consecutive division title.

Up front, gone are the faces in Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, as second-rounder Sam Cosmi and veteran Charles Leno look to represent the unit tasked with leading the charge in keeping Fitzpatrick upright. Back are Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Wes Schweitzer, and Ereck Flowers, who returns to D.C. after a pitstop in Miami last season. He will battle Schweitzer for the nod at left guard.

You didn’t think I was going to skip over the electric trio of McLaurin, Samuel, and Gibson, did you? They are single-handedly responsible for the success of Washington’s offense this fall. For the first time in a long while, Washington, under the tutelage of Scott Turner and his ever-developing offense, has the chance to play itself into victories with its exciting group of talent littered within one of the youngest offenses in football. Now in his third season, McLaurin, the team’s clear top target and vertical presence could burst into the category of elite wideouts with eyes now drawn elsewhere to Samuel, Gibson, and tight end Logan Thomas.

If Washington has any plans of pushing their way to the playoffs and earning their first postseason victory since the 2005 season, Fitzpatrick and company must keep their defense fresh and put up six, not three, on scoring drives.

Defensively, the group needs no introduction. Chase Young headlines a star-studded front seven with five first-round picks following the addition of former Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis. Free agent addition William Jackson III arrives as the team’s top corner to work in tandem with Kendall Fuller, as Kamren Curl returns as the team’s top apex defender with Landon Collins’ role currently up in the air with Bobby McCain’s arrival. 

Despite positive remarks from defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio this spring, only time will tell what Collins’ true snap count will prove to be.

Whether it’s Fitzpatrick, Heinicke, Allen, or an unknown commodity leading the charge in D.C. come fall, the production and ability to spearhead an impressive unit of offensive talent will be paramount if Washington looks to escape an awfully tough gauntlet of matchups within their first-place schedule. 

The days of the burgundy and gold coinciding with the NFC East’s cellar have surely become a thing of the past as we raise our eyes toward the future. Built upon a foundation of character and youthful, hungry talent, the ceiling and projected success of their unit relies solely on the thorn that’s been an ever-present reality for a franchise in desperate search of its fourth Lombardi Trophy.

There’s nowhere to go but up for Washington, as anything less than a division title would be considered an unsuccessful campaign. Rivera has high hopes for his group, and if all things mesh, an optimal campaign could encompass a playoff victory and a spot in the conference’s final four.

Filed In

Related Articles

Written By

The Draft Network