The Philadelphia Eagles were long viewed as a daunting matchup for the Washington Commanders, but I’m not sure anyone expected the scoreboard and overall performance by both teams to be as lopsided as it was Sunday.
The Commanders were shut out for the first 58 minutes before Antonio Gibson punched in a garbage time touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Their only points before that came in the form of a Daron Payne safety … that also came in garbage time with Washington trailing Philadelphia 24-0 on the scoreboard.
There’s no single coach or player you can point the finger at for a loss like this. Both sides should collectively shoulder the blame, but I can’t help but look at mistakes made by the front office this offseason that reared their ugly head on Sunday as huge reasons why the Commanders capitulated at home against the Eagles.
3 Commanders offseason mistakes that were apparent in Week 3 loss
3. Moving Benjamin St-Juste to the nickel
The Commanders moved St-Juste to the nickel position this offseason with the hope that his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame would hold up against bigger targets like tight ends and create mismatches against smaller, shiftier pass-catchers.
St-Juste performed well in the slot in the first two games, but Week 3 showed his elite potential on the perimeter. While Kendall Fuller, Rachad Wildgoose and the rest of Washington’s secondary were busy getting cooked, St-Juste recorded three third-down pass breakups in the first half alone before blanketing DeVonta Smith, who finished with 8 catches for 169 yards and a score, on a deep shot in the third quarter.
Should St-Juste play ahead of William Jackson, who missed the game with a back injury and has underwhelmed opposite Fuller? I wouldn’t be opposed. Either way, St-Juste should play no less than 90% of the snaps moving forward. After this performance, I’d stick him on opposing team’s No. 1 receivers and see what happens.
Regardless, this game sparks questions about why St-Juste was even moved out of his familiar boundary position in the first place.