When the Washington Football Team signed running back J.D. McKissic to a two-year deal in 2020, the acquisition was underwhelming to some. What hasn’t been underwhelming is McKissic’s production since joining the team. Just last week, he scored the game-winning 30-yard receiving touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons. Two weeks prior versus the New York Giants, McKissic had a two-yard rushing touchdown. He also had a key 56-yard catch late in the game on a two-play scoring drive for Washington.
JD McKissic was criminally underutilized in losses against the Los Angeles Chargers and Buffalo Bills. He had just six total touches in both games combined. In both of Washington’s wins this season, he has been more involved. In both games versus the Giants and Falcons, McKissic had 21 touches.
Against the New Orleans Saints, McKissic should be on the receiving end of more targets. Both Dyami Brown and Cam Sims will be out of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Tight-end Logan Thomas will also miss at least the next three games for Washington. Despite the injuries, offensive coordinator Scott Turner can get J.D. McKissic more involved in the passing game.
In 2020, the former wide receiver finished the season with 80 receptions for 589 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. In five games last season, McKissic received double-digit targets. So far in 2021, McKissic has 12 catches for 142 yards and a receiving touchdown. He’s also is averaging 11.8 yards per catch. In 16 games last year, JD McKissic had just three total touchdowns. Through the first four games, he already has two.
What impact will J.D. McKissic have on Washington’s offense against the New Orleans Saints?
At wide receiver, it’s no secret that Terry McLaurin is establishing his status as one of the best in all of football. With Washington taking a cautious approach with Curtis Samuel, someone has to step up opposite of McLaurin. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen won’t let McLaurin go off against the Saints secondary. So, it will be up to other players like McKissic to pick up the slack.
McKissic will be relied upon to generate some of that offense through the air. Despite being torched for over 400 yards by Daniel Jones, the Saints defense remains one of the best in the NFL.
Through the first four games of the year, New Orleans has the fifth-best scoring defense. (17.3 ppg) The Saints’ defense is also fourth in the NFL in turnovers and 11th in total yards allowed. The New Orleans secondary is full of ballhawks and can make life miserable for Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
The game plan might call for more passes to running backs Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. New Orleans has shown the inability to contain Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley on the receiving end. In week two, McCaffrey recorded five catches for 65 yards. His longest catch went for 32 yards. In the 27-21 loss to the Giants, Barkley had five catches for 74 yards. His longest was a 54-yard touchdown, in which he burned Saints defenders on a wheel route.
JD McKissic is not as an accomplished player as such as Barkley and McCaffery. However, he is a guy that can make defenses pay. He’s solid in pass protection and has been a spark for Washington’s offense. Don’t be surprised if McKissic has another big game for the Washington Football Team this week versus the New Orleans Saints.