3. Washington opts to stay in heavy man-coverage.
In Week 1, Washington opted to run cover-one man concepts on 31% of their defensive snaps. On 10 of the 15 third-down conversions allowed against the Chargers, Washington ran man-concepts that was routinely cooked by the great Justin Herbert.
The combination of crossing patterns, quick timing routes, and wideouts who can create a passing window for themselves led to their third-down success outside of their lethal quarterback play.
For some, running more man coverage on third down when it didn’t work against your week one opponent seems like a bad thing. But for the Football Team, they should stick to this game plan against a Giants squad that will need to prove they can pull off something on Thursday night.
Jones had an AGG% (percentage of attempts thrown into tight windows) of 17% in 2020. That’s a strong number, but it’s for a reason. Teams will live with two deep shells, running man coverage underneath, forcing Jones to make tight-window throws and decisions against man defenders.
Jones and company haven’t shown the ability to have great success against man coverage throughout the course of his career. Some may say due to the up-and-down nature of his receiving targets, but a big chunk of that is due to Jones’ inability to throw receivers open, to attack tight windows, and ultimately fall in love with check downs.
In 2020, Daniel Jones had supreme failures against man coverage, a major regression from his rookie year.
The Giants QB1 totaled an EPA of -36.9 against man coverage while completing a tick over 50 percent of his throws. Though he had significantly better numbers against zone coverage, Washington should stick with what the numbers tell them and play heavy man against a quarterback that’s proven to struggle against it.
Not only that, we saw in week one how a defense that shows a ton of two-deep zone looks gave Jones trouble, as Denver disguised what looked like cover-2 zone turned into man coverage several times throughout Sunday’s contest.
Washington can take a page out of the Vic Fangio, Brandon Staley book and disguise these middle of the field open, cover two looks and actually run man coverage out of them. Jones hasn’t shown the ability to consistently dissect defenses through various schemes and disguises, and he’s shown an ability to struggle mightily against man throughout his career.
It makes too much sense for Washington to run man coverage against Jones and the Giants offense, as, despite the improvements along the perimeter, they still have numerous questions there and at the QB position.
The Football Team should stick with what they know and with what is comfortable, that’s playing heavy man coverage and rushing four against a Giants offense that’s proven to struggle against the concept.