3. The Reality Is, this team doesn’t self-scout well.
Antonio Gibson has always been most effective as a volume player. He wears down defenders with his combination of quickness and power. This Washington offensive line is a nasty group of maulers in the run game. And yet Washington has struggled to stick with the run in key moments throughout this young season. Terry McLaurin is uncheckable. Period. He’s a YAC machine. He’s the most dependable receiver in football.
And yet, the team primarily runs complex, timing-dependent concepts for Terry even though they should know they have a quarterback that often struggles to get the ball to him in timing. It’s no surprise that in the two games Washington has won this year, they have made a concerted effort to get the ball to Terry and let him make plays.
And back to Heinicke. It’s been obvious since his first reps against Carolina last season that Heinicke has a great grasp of the offense, but struggles to put the ball on receivers with sufficient velocity to be perfectly in-time. He plays like he has Brett Favre’s arm, but he throws with touch off his back foot without transferring his weight or snapping his hips. So the ball floats on him. It appears like he’s late and hesitant, but I think he’s just a lazy technician. This coaching staff should be working with him to drive the ball. They should be helping him know his limitations and overcome them. Instead, they’re telling him to be more of a game manager – trying to get him to be something he isn’t.
As poor as Landon Collins has been in coverage, he continues to be put in situations to be a single-high safety. He’s not effective in that role. He’s almost exclusively effective playing downhill near the line of scrimmage. This coaching staff is either blind to this or simply unwilling to adjust their plans to put a player in position to succeed, rather than expecting him to somehow become something he is not. This team doesn’t self-scout well, and there’s little evidence that this coaching staff knows how to develop or position players to overcome their weaknesses and maximize their strengths.
Sean Payton clearly understood Washington’s defensive players better than Rivera and company did. He exploited Collins in deep coverage. He blanketed Terry in man-coverage and dared Heinicke to throw with velocity and anticipation. And the Washington staff failed to scheme up and coach up their players to succeed.
Against Andy Reid, Eric Bienemy, and Steve Spagnuolo, Washington had better gameplan and make rotational decision with better self-awareness, or this will be another depressing outing.