Josh Harris’ first season of Washington Commanders possession should really feel like Calvin working the WacArnold’s night time shift. It looks as if a distinguished alternative at first to personal a legacy franchise. Till you begin contrasting them in opposition to the league’s most revered franchises. Being congratulated on the group he owns should have had a pleasant ring to it till he found the mess left behind by Dan Snyder has left Washington within the fast-food tier of franchises.
In the meantime, Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys are stuffing their bellies within the NFL equal of Gordon Ramsey’s kitchen. Loud, overdramatic, and manner too overexposed. Halfway via the season, followers have begun to comprehend how starvation has clouded their determination to assist the group. Whereas the Cowboys rolled out the very best offense and protection when it comes to expertise on each side of the ball, Washington’s drive-thru roster resembles stale, processed burger meat.
All the things in Washington feels prefer it’s quick meals high quality. The quarterback is an undercooked fifth-round decide, the operating recreation is mushy and the teaching employees is cooking up burnt fries. The season ended after they received burned by the Philadelphia Eagles simply earlier than the commerce deadline. On Friday, the Commanders fired defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio after Dallas’ offense moved the ball at will. A season that started with excessive expectations below Del Rio’s zone match cowl scheme has splintered into a large number. After impersonating a high-level defense in the second half of 2022, Washington is the league’s worst-scoring protection a yr later and compelled fewer turnovers than 24 of the league’s 32 groups.
It’s not completely Del Rio’s fault. Washington has drafted clumsily on both aspect this decade. Former No. 2 decide Chase Young was traded to San Francisco after 4 underwhelming seasons in trade for a conditional third-round decide. Washington’s most up-to-date first-rounder Emmanuel Forbes has been a constant DNP when wholesome or sat as a consequence of damage. Washington hasn’t even ranked among the many high half of scoring offenses in seven seasons.
Dallas and the Commanders used to really feel like a rivalry. Today, it looks like an exhibition match between the Washington Generals and the Globetrotters. Sam Howell is the one brilliant spot of this season, however even he’s stacking up unhealthy performances in a rush, whereas buttressing it with empty calorie numbers. In Washington’s annual Turkey Day conflict, Howell additionally threw a pick-six to DaRon Bland. Howell shouldn’t be judged too harshly for his rookie errors in opposition to a top-five protection. Bland has now picked off a report 5 pick-sixes this season in Diggs’ absence.
A season that started with aspirations of one other playoff run has devolved into one other race to the underside. This group wants greater than a rebrand. It wants a brand new teaching employees, a brand new perspective, and Washington has seen sufficient to speculate one other season into Howell.
Howell at the moment leads the league in passing yardage and has accrued a optimistic touchdown-to-interception ratio. However he’s additionally found that the Washington offensive line is a paper straw. By means of 12 video games, Howell has been sacked 55 instances, 17 greater than the second-most sacked sign caller, Zach Wilson. At his present tempo, Howell is on tempo to surpass David Carr because the most-sacked quarterback in a single season.
That is the cycle for Washington sign callers. The entrance workplace discovers a middling expertise, devotes manner too many seasons to a group with .500 upside, after which repeats the method over and over. What’s the purpose of getting Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson lining up at receiver should you aren’t going to have a premium arm delivering passes to them downfield?
Offensively, Ceedee Lamb and Dak Prescott represent one of the formidable tandems in soccer. Say what you’ll about Prescott’s playoff shortcomings, however he’s a chef behind a line of scrimmage in comparison with Washington’s line cooks. Whereas Washington is arguably the league’s most porous protection, Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs as defensive cornerstones are defouling opposing offenses all on their very own.
Even when their seasons have a behavior of ending tragically, a minimum of they’re within the combine. Washington nonetheless smells like years-old unhealthy components below a warmth lamp.
Observe DJ Dunson on X: @cerebralsportex