Making a Case for Backyard Football | Washington Commanders
By Adam Aniba
The problems on Washington's offensive line are well documented. The play calling and production at QB are even more of a concern though, after the 25-10 loss to Dallas which dropped their record to 1-3 (0-2 in the East). It's unlikely Ron Rivera would make a change at quarterback this early in the season, considering the draft capital and cap dedicated to Carson Wentz.
The fact of the matter is, Wentz continues to display flashes, albeit limited. His overall ability and situational football decision making are constantly a step behind and his regression over the years has been evident.
Over the last two games, Wentz has been sacked 11 times (9 vs PHI), but his two intentional grounding penalties against Dallas are significant reason for concern and puts his decision making into question. Through two weeks Washington has only scored 18 points after scoring 28 points in Week 1 and 27 in Week 2.
Many fans believe Taylor Heinicke would produce better results, considering he threw for 3,419 20 TDs and 15 interceptions without talented receivers Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson. The current state of the offensive line (3rd center of the season against DAL), certainly doesn't help any quarterback learning a new system attempting to build chemistry.
In saying that, good coaches play to their team's strengths. At this moment, a drastic scale back in play calling needs to happen. We saw more RPO concepts in the first two games, as opposed to the last 2 weeks with positive results. Although there was a clear attempt to establish the run (nearly 100 yards on the ground in the 1st half), the strategy failed to produce effective playaction and never posed a real threat against the aggressive Dallas defense.
Heinicke's style of backyard ball and improvisational ability do have its perks, so a switch at QB could be on the table if the losing trend continues. The idea of utilizing 5-step and 7-step drops need to be scrapped from Turner's play calling sheet altogether, considering the lack of protection and Wentz' struggles to read the field.
Implementing consistent 3-step drops and uptempo quick game is easier said than done, but Heinicke has shown success in this area with lesser talent and has displayed the ability to escape pressure. Although it's unlikely a switch will even be considered before the bye week, going with the backyard style ball Heinicke brings to table, could help an anemic offense find success before the NFC East is out of reach.
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