The Washington Football Team’s loss in their Week 3 match-up against the Cleveland Browns has left the team with many questions and not many answers. Star rookie pass rusher Chase Young left the game in the first half with a groin injury, and his status for the Week 4 match-up is still up in the air. Matt Ioannidis left the game with an arm injury which was confirmed Monday as a torn bicep. For the players on the field, the results weren’t much better. Dwayne Haskins had one of the worst starts of his career. He turned the ball over four times and Cleveland scored on the ensuing possession for each one. What’s next for the Washington Football Team, where do they go from here?
Chase Young and Matt Ioannidis
There’s no question that the team would miss both players, however, the defensive performance against Cleveland showed that the defensive line is more than just talented at the top. The unit is deep with great players. Montez Sweat and Tim Settle each played arguably the best game of their young careers.
Sweat was taken by Washington in the first round of last year’s draft and he’s accumulated two sacks, six tackles for loss, and six QB hits in three games this season. Settle was taken by the team in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft and has been buried in the depth chart due to Washington’s talent on the defensive line. I’m a huge fan of Settle and I maintain confident in the opinion that he could start on half the defensive lines in the NFL. Hopefully at the very least Young is available to play against Baltimore, but if not Washington has the depth to be ok.
Dwayne Haskins’ poor performance
Let me get this out of the way right now, Ron Rivera will not be benching Haskins any time soon. Rivera has already gone on record to point out that this season is not about chasing cheap wins and attempting to be a false contender. This season is about evaluating what he has on the roster and building a culture from the ground up.
Haskins was named the team’s starter and was voted a team captain. The team spent a first-round draft pick on him and he dedicated all of his time and effort to improving his body and becoming a more dynamic player. Rivera needs to see what he has in Haskins, and whether or not he can improve his play. Barring Haskins getting worse each week and the team’s record plummeting, it’s extremely unlikely Haskins gets pulled this season.
What’s next for Washington?
Coming up, Washington has back-to-back games against tough opponents. First, they will take on the AFC powerhouse Baltimore Ravens and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. Then they’ll face former Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay as his 2-1 Rams come to town. While both games are home for Washington, expect Washington to be massive underdogs as both teams expect to be deep playoff contenders.
After those two games, Washington has back to back divisional games followed by their bye week. After the Rams, Washington travels to New York to take on the Giants in a game that is winnable. Then they face the Cowboys at home. The best-case scenario for Washington would be the team heading into the bye week with a 3-4 record. The Worst case would be the team going into their bye at a pathetic 1-6. My guess is that they’ll be 2-5 going into a very friendly three weeks where they face the: Giants, the Lions in Detroit, and Cincinnati. That trio of games is a stretch Washington has on the schedule, and they must come out of the bye week strong.
Despite losing Young and Ioannidis in the first half against Cleveland, the Washington defense performed admirably and showed that losing those two players won’t completely derail the unit. Haskins has struggled to this point in the season, but it’s still too soon to give up on the former first-round pick. Expect Rivera to give Haskins at least until the bye week to right the ship. Finally, Washington has a tough slate of games coming up, but the bye week followed by a trio of winnable games makes the future more palatable.