After winning the NFC East in 2020, the Washington soccer team won’t be playing playoff soccer this time around. It has been a season full of ups and downs. Although he never held a winning record at any time during the year, Washington had four consecutive wins late in the season to re-enter the playoff race. However, four straight losses ended those playoff dreams.
It will be a big offseason for Washington. Not only because the entire franchise is rebranding, but because it hopes to turn a new leaf in the field as well. Below, we’ll break down three areas where Washington needs to improve this offseason. Unfortunately, the 2022 version of How to Fix Washington is eerily similar to last year’s. I think Ron Rivera is a good coach, but if we meet again around the same time next year and are still talking about the same issues, then “hiring a head coach” could be included in this list.
1. Find QB1
Taylor Heinicke is a player I want on my list. He’s a fierce fighter, a hard worker, and he’s very good for a kid on the Old Dominion training squad. However, I don’t want Heinicke as a starter. The quarterback position is the most important in football, and it’s something that many teams that were sent home earlier will be looking into. This offseason is going to be unpredictable when it comes to quarterback movement. We could see a ton, or we could be a little disappointed. Also, when it comes to the draft, this class of quarterback is not as touted as some years past.
Ryan Wilson, a CBS Sports NFL draft expert, has just three first-round callers in his last mock draft, with the first going to No.9 in the Denver Broncos overall standings at Ole Miss’s Matt Corral. Washington at No.11 takes Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, which is an intriguing selection, but Washington could also be looking to recruit someone in free agency, or even trade for a new starting quarterback.
There aren’t many intriguing names in free agency, but signing Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota or Mitchell Trubisky might turn some on. However, trading for a star like Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks or Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers would obviously be a home run. Would Wilson give up his no-trade clause for Washington? And is Rodgers legitimately interested in leaving Green Bay? The other side of this potential move is how much would those two great quarterbacks cost? NFL Insider John Clayton recently said Rodgers could be available for a first and third round pick this offseason, which I think is way too low. I call the Seahawks and Packers, although my chances of making a trade are slim.
2. Improve secondary
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed us last year and the University of Georgia proved it Monday night: the defense wins the championships. It was Washington’s defense that helped this franchise advance to the playoffs last season, but 2021 was another story. Surprisingly, Washington’s defense ranked among the worst units in the NFL at the start of the season, then rebounded towards the end of the year before plunging again during Washington’s four-game losing streak.
Washington finished with the No.22 defense overall, but it was the passing defense in particular that pulled the unit together as a whole. Washington had the NFL’s fourth-worst pass defense in 2021. It was a bizarre result, as Washington had the NFL’s second-best pass defense last season and caught what was considered a major improvement in the game. cornerback William Jackson III. Kendall Fuller got much better coverage, however. Looking at the rest of the cornerbacks, I anticipate Benjamin St-Juste will make a jump in the second year, but there’s no denying that Washington needs to make an addition to the cornerback this offseason.
The free safety position is also a position that needs to be upgraded. Bobby McCain is a pending free agent, and I’m not against his re-signing. A versatile veteran is always welcome, but Washington could use one of their first draft picks to acquire new free starting safety that will take the deep ball for Washington.
3. Identify the linebackers
Speaking of Washington’s defense, he has to decide the linebacker rotation. Not only do Washington need another starter in this position, they also need to determine exactly where that starter will play. Rookie Jamin Davis played a middle linebacker, but staff are still trying to determine if he’s better suited there or on the road. The same goes for Cole Holcomb, who plays away but could potentially be an MLB.
As previously reported, Washington had the fourth-worst passing defense in the NFL last season. Some of that falls right on the high school, but Washington would also benefit from drafting or signing a legitimate 4-3 starting MLB that can take the midfielder into the cover.
The other side of this is Landon Collins, who now plays a hybrid linebacker / safety role. Using this offseason to make a specific plan for how you want to use it will also be important.