Washington Football: The entire defensive line needs to Put up their Dukes

ASHBURN, VA - JUNE 10: Chase Young #99 of the Washington Football Team stands with Jonathan Allen #93 and Montez Sweat #90 during mandatory minicamp at Inova Sports Performance Center on June 10, 2021 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
ASHBURN, VA - JUNE 10: Chase Young #99 of the Washington Football Team stands with Jonathan Allen #93 and Montez Sweat #90 during mandatory minicamp at Inova Sports Performance Center on June 10, 2021 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Washington Football Team invested a lot of draft capital along the defensive line from 2017-2020. In each of those years, Washington spent a first-round pick on a defensive lineman. After enjoying minor success last year,  Washington’s defense as a whole has done a complete180 this season. All off-season, the unit was perceived to be among the elite within the National Football League. The main reason why is because of the defensive line.

The group of Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, Chase Young, and Matt Ioannidis were supposed to be dominant this season. After all, the defensive line fueled the team with their dominant play en route to an NFC East division title last season.

However, the defense for the Washington Football Team has regressed in 2021. Washington’s defense currently ranks 32nd in points allowed (30.0 ppg) and 29th in yards allowed. (406.0 ypg) Washington also has the worst third-down defense in the NFL. Opposing offenses are converting third downs at a historic rate. (56.86%)

The secondary has been beyond awful. The passing defense is in the bottom third of many passing statistical categories. The WFT is 32nd in passing yards allowed per game and 24th in yards allowed per reception. The pass rush hasn’t been of much help. Washington’s defense ranks 25th in sack percentage.

Despite limiting the Green Bay Packers to just 24 points and 304 total yards in the 24-10 loss, Washington’s defense failed to prevent touchdowns when they needed to. Nonetheless, the performance was somewhat encouraging. Ultimately, your record is the only number that truly matters. The WFT currently is second in the NFC East with a paltry 2-5 record.

Despite the three-game losing streak, the defensive line for the Washington Football Team has been playing better. They forced six turnovers in the past three games versus the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, and Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately, Washington’s offense was unable to convert those turnovers into meaningful points in those respective games. The offense for the Washington Football Team was unable to capitalize on them as they scored just 45 total points during the three-game losing streak.

The defensive line has totaled eight sacks during Washington’s three-game losing streak. They also deserve some credit for Washington’s ability to stop the run. Washington is 10th in rushing defense (105.4 pg) and seventh in yards allowed per rush. (4.0 ypa)

Washington should be able to win their third game of the season if the defensive line plays well.

The Denver Broncos offense has committed at least one turnover in every game except in a week two contest versus Jacksonville. Including a season-high four turnovers versus the Las Vegas Raiders. Denver’s offensive line has also been playing bad football during their four-game losing streak. During the Broncos’ four-game losing streak, their offensive line has surrendered 14 sacks. Washington’s defensive line has to take advantage of a Broncos offensive line that’s playing bad football right now.

Overall, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has solid numbers on the season. He’s completing 70.1 percent of his passes and has thrown for over 1,701 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, his play has been sub-par in recent weeks. Bridgewater has thrown all five of his interceptions in Denver’s past three contests. Bridgewater has also been dealing with several injuries. Washington’s defensive line needs to harass him early and often so that he’s unable to find any rhythm.

ESPN’s Jeff Legwold detailed the Broncos’ lack of commitment to the running game the past three games. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur called four running plays in the second half versus Baltimore. They attempted just eight rushes in the first half against Pittsburgh. In last week’s 17-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Broncos offense attempted just six runs in the first half.

With Denver’s recent struggles on offense, it will be vital for Washington’s defensive line to contain the running back duo of Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. If the defensive line can make Denver’s offense one-dimensional, they’ll have ample opportunities to make an impact towards the Washington Football Team earning their third win of the season.

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