5. The Reality Is, the linebackers aren’t playing soft enough.
Outside of Jamin Davis’ key 3rd down tackle of Sterling Shepherd in the Red Zone, Washington’s linebackers have been somewhere between forgettable and terrible in coverage so far this season. In re-watching the games, I noticed their initial alignment has a part to play in their struggles. Jon Bostic, in particular, is extremely shallow in his initial alignment, often lining up only 1-2 yards behind the defensive linemen.
This gives him next to zero ability to drive on passes, and sets him up to immediately be beaten off the line by tight ends and running backs. It’s even gotten him caught up in the trash on QB keepers and outside runs, unable to get wide to make a play. He’s proven to be quite a bit more effective coming downhill than backpedaling, so he should be starting a few yards deeper in the secondary to allow himself to keep the play in front.
The soft middle of the field behind the linebackers has been where both Justin Herbert and Daniel Jones converted a large percentage of their key passes in the first two weeks, and it’s no wonder, given where Bostic and Holcomb have been lining up. I’d like to see the additional film study available to them on this mini-bye produce an adjustment to their pre-snap alignment that puts them generally about 4-5 yards behind the line of scrimmage, rather than 1.5.
Prediction: Bostic is who he is. He’s got that odd deep knee bend pre-snap and he’s not likely to change his alignment or somehow become better in coverage. But watch Holcomb and Davis generally line up a bit further behind the line on Sunday against the Bills to better allow a cushion so as not to get beat over the middle so easily. And watch Jamin Davis continue to take more and more snaps away from Bostic.