2. The Reality Is, Del Rio and Rivera must simplify the defense.
Baby steps in the right direction would feel pretty dramatic at this point. Like keeping an opposing quarterback under 75% completions, or an opposing offense under 65% on 3rd downs. The defense has been so bad this year that its total unreality to expect a miraculous and comprehensive turnaround in Atlanta this week. Go ahead and flush those delusions of grandeur that had the WFT near the top of preseason defensive rankings. Washington will need dramatic improvement to become a below-average defensive team this season.
But in order to get incremental improvement, Rivera and Del Rio must adjust their approach, and rather than trying to force-feed a “system” to their players, they need to simplify and adjust it for a custom fit with the players on the roster. It seems pretty clear to me that the defense is playing slowly and hesitantly this season. They’re thinking too much. JDR and Ron Rivera need to get them back to playing.
Prediction: Expect some more creativity on the defensive line, and more simplified, assignment-clear packages on the back end this week in Atlanta. Expect Cole Holcomb and Jamin Davis to continue to play from a bit more depth like I suggested last week. Expect more matching concepts in zone and less concepts where players are passed off from corners to safeties.