Through the first three games of the Washington Commanders’ season, they are 1-2, and it has been shaky. They started the season with a win over the now 2-1 Jacksonville Jaguars, which easily could’ve been lost despite a fourth quarter turnaround. They have followed that win with two straight losses to the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles, which have both been ugly. Here, I will take a deeper dive into the biggest takeaways from the season so far.
Something About the Commanders’ Defense Needs to Change
Virtually everything about this Commanders’ defense has been ugly. They have yet to give up less than 22 points in a game, they gave up 22 in the first half against the Lions and 24 in the first against the Eagles. Even though Philadelphia scored more points against the Commanders in the first half, the Lion’s game felt worse. The Lions dismantled the Commanders’ defense the entire first half through the air and on the ground. Lions quarterback Jared Goff connected with Josh Reynolds and Amon-Ra St. Brown for a pair of first-half touchdowns, with big rushes coming by D’Andre Swift and St. Brown. The Commanders were able to rally and make the final score respectable, but still gave up close to 40 points in the loss. In their most recent game against the Eagles, they fell behind 24-0 in the first half as Jalen Hurts torched their secondary with three passing touchdowns, all to different receivers. The defense had some positives, though, as the Eagles scored all their points in the second quarter, and the front seven looked improved to hold them scoreless otherwise. Even though there were some positives today, giving up 81 points through three games is not something to be proud of, and something needs to be changed. If I was Jack Del Rio, I know that if I don’t fix this defense quickly, I may be on the way out the door.
The Offensive Line Is What Is Holding the Offense Back
As a Commanders’ fan, I’d have to say I was relatively happy with the way our offense was performing before the game against the Eagles. Combining for 55 points in the first two games with a combined eight touchdowns was a lot better than anything we’ve seen out of this offense in a long time, but the Eagle’s defensive line put a damper on my happiness. The Eagles just put up a staggering nine sacks against Washington, which resulted in Washington only scoring six offensive points. The defense on a safety caused the other two, and virtually no time early in the game for quarterback Carson Wentz to throw the ball. Now, with center Chase Roullier out for the season, the Commanders have to work with an even more broken offensive line to get their season back on track.
The Commanders Have Been Treated to the Full Carson Wentz Experience
The biggest news this offseason for the Commanders, besides the team’s name change, was the addition of new quarterback Carson Wentz. In his first game as a Commander, Wentz showed everything he had in his bag by throwing four touchdowns and leading his team to a comeback victory, while also throwing two terrible interceptions that almost cost his team the game to begin with. His second game was much cleaner, as he threw for three touchdowns and only one interception and tried his best to lead his team to another comeback, but he was unsuccessful. Unfortunately, his first game against his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, was not as pleasant as he had hoped. He was sacked nine times, threw zero touchdowns, and fumbled the ball in his own territory. Wentz went from looking like a talented gunslinger who could push this team to playoff contention to everything Eagles and Indianapolis Colts fans warned the Commanders of.
My positives for Wentz are this; he’s the first quarterback I’ve seen in a long time in a Washington uniform that has been able to effectively throw the ball downfield and have multiple three passing touchdown games. Still, I have also noticed some concerning patterns. Although Wentz was sacked nine times against the Eagles, not all of those were the offensive line’s fault. Wentz’s pocket awareness has been poor, as multiple times I have seen him scramble towards a pass rusher rather than away from him, which ends up in a sack that could have been avoided. I have noticed that Wentz’s ball placement has been high; against the Lions, he had Logan Thomas open across the middle and threw it over Thomas’s head and hands, resulting in an interception. Overall, I’d say Carson Wentz is the best quarterback I’ve seen in a Washington uniform since pre-leg injury Alex Smith. But, the concerns of decision-making and pocket awareness are still noticeable; the rest of the season will be vital in determining what is next in Wentz’s career.