3. Disaster all-around on defense
Heinicke wasn’t the only player who struggled yesterday. His performance was mediocre at best, but Washington’s coverage issues take the cake by a mile. No matter what Washington did yesterday, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was thoroughly outclassed.
The personnel was all over the place and failed routinely against whatever Buffalo decided to run. Scheme-wise, nothing seemed to work as this defensive group significantly underperforms week in and week out. Washington’s linebacker core has been the weak link by a country mile.
Whether it’s Jon Bostic or Cole Holcomb, both players have had poor showings in coverages and, unless Ron Rivera has confidence that Jamin Davis can play 75% of the snaps, Washington must undergo a significant scheme change going forward. The likeliest route they can go is opting to run a significant dose of press man, cover 1.
If you’re going to run a 5-1 or a 4-2-5, you want to rely on heavy man coverage like your personnel is suited to do. Running press man will help disrupt the timing of throws because offenses will tend to opt for a quick passing game to counteract the defensive front, but by doing so, Washington should live with the results.
Through three weeks, Washington’s back seven has struggled mightily in coverage, There’s an obvious lack of communication and lack of continuity on the backend. It seems more often than not, many players are out of position, many players are dropping too deep or too wide, nobody is on the same page in coverage.
At this point, the Washington defense as a pertains to pass coverage is flat out beating itself over the last three weeks and unless they have a quick fix for this, this will be a reoccurring theme for weeks to come.
It’s an issue that must be fixed immediately, as personnel changes and scheme changes should be imminent. Proper coaching adjustments should be made, but we’ll have to see what happens against an Atlanta team that is closer to a rebuild than it is to a playoff birth.