5 reality checks for the Commanders’ Week 3 battle with the Eagles
By Tim Payne
2. The Reality Is, Philadelphia (the team, not the city) is no joke.
Eagles fans have all the jokes:
And while their entire city is full of horrible fans who spent much of Monday Night Football booing a former player who their team overdrafted, the fact of the matter is their team is a serious threat this season. Unlike the Cowboys, who received their typical amount of media overhyping this offseason, the Eagles actually went about methodically improving their roster and are rolling into FedEx Field this Sunday with a ton of well-deserved confidence based on how well they have played the last two weeks. There’s no two ways about it: Washington is going to have to significantly improve over the first two weeks of the season if they expect to even keep this game close against a loaded Eagles squad.
1. The Reality Is, these receivers are (and need to be) the truth.
Given recent history at the position, it is quite incredible that the undeniable strength of the Commanders is their wide receiving corps. Terry McLaurin, after toiling for two years alongside some of the worst and most inconsistent receiving units in the NFL, is now enjoying single coverage at a significant clip, due to the threats that Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson are proving to be. With Carson Wentz having plenty of talent and courage to throw the ball into tight windows for all three WRs, this offense will likely have the Commanders “in” every game this season, regardless of how bad the defense is. And they will need to continue their high-end production unless and until this defense manages to put their woeful start to the season behind them.
It’s time for Rivera and the coaching staff to make some adjustments. Jack Del Rio’s play-calling and in-game adjustments havre been horrendous for nearly two seasons straight. They’ve been particularly awful the last two weeks.
Scott Turner needs to get back to the deep end of the playbook this week to get Wentz and the stud WRs in a rhythm as early and often as possible against Philadelphia…and to use their confidence and aggression against them with pre-snap motion and mis-direction.
Nate Kaczor needs to light a fire under his special teams unit and get a game-altering play out of them.
Call me crazy, but I don’t think Washington gets their doors blown off this weekend. I think there are too many prideful professionals in that locker room to lay an egg two weeks running. And I do think the offensive coaching staff has some significant talent – and some significant playmakers to scheme for. The defensive staff and personnel worry me. But two games is too small a sample size to make any grand pronouncements for the season.
As for the ultimate result? Follow me @TheRealityIs__ for game-day predictions and keys.