When the Aug. 31 roster deadline approached, Washington Football Team fans accepted the fact that some talented players would be cut.
Thanks to the new roster-building standard Ron Rivera and GM Martin Mayhew have set, Washington’s roster is as deep as its been in years.
Little did fans know, however, that this vastly talented roster was going to yield such disappointing results through three weeks.
Speaking strictly in terms of the defense, Washington’s unit, despite flaunting more talent than last year’s group, has been a monstrosity.
The defensive line hasn’t been nearly as dominant as fans expected. The linebacking corps has been a letdown, but that was to be expected. As for the secondary, well, good luck finding one that’s performed worse than Jack Del Rio’s.
We’ll dive into the stats in a minute, but you can’t sit there and tell us that Washington isn’t regretting cutting Jimmy Moreland.
Washington already looks foolish for releasing Jimmy Moreland.
Of course, Moreland was waived with an injury designation. In most circumstances, fans wouldn’t bat an eyelash. However, the 2019 seventh-rounder was dealing with a bone bruise and recovered in time for Week 1. Why would Washington part ways with a talented CB over something as trifling as a knee bruise?
We’re still wrapping our mind around the decision, which looks more foolish with each passing week after the previously out of sync Josh Allen just lit up Washington’s secondary for 358 yards and four touchdowns.
Through three weeks, the Football Team ranks 29th in both passing yards allowed (307) and total points allowed per game (30.4). Kendall Fuller has looked worse than his stats would suggest. William Jackson III is committing pass interference penalties left and right. Landon Collins has the highest contract value of any safety in the NFL and is currently sporting a 54.2 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus.
Benjamin St-Juste has had some nice breakups, but he’s struggling like any rookie third-round pick who’s playing 70% of the snaps would.
You really mean to tell us that Moreland couldn’t sniff any playing time in this secondary? At least he has experience playing alongside Fuller and Collins.
As depicted in the highlight above, Moreland is a beast defending the run. He earned an elite 72.4 run defense grade from PFF last season. While Washington’s secondary woes have taken most of the spotlight, their run defense has been almost as bad, as they rank 25th with 125 rushing yards allowed per game.
Moreland isn’t the most imposing DB you’ll ever see, but he plays much bigger than his size and loves setting the tone with big tackles against the run and serving as a ball-hawk when he’s dropped back in coverage.
Furthermore, Moreland played 518 (!) snaps covering the slot in 2020. Given how Fuller’s performed thus far — Keenan Allen and Sterling Shepard had him chasing ghosts in Weeks 1 and 2 — Washington could sure use another dependable nickel cornerback.
They had one on the books for just $850,000, but decided to release him in favor of more flavorful and expensive options.
How’s that looking now?