3 Commanders who need to step up vs the Bears on TNF
The Washington Commanders’ season is on the line in Week 6. After losing four in a row since the season opener against the Jaguars, Ron Rivera and his crew have to leave Chicago with a win. To do so, these three players have to step up.
3 Commanders who need to perform against the Bears
Andrew Norwell joined Washington as a key offseason acquisition of Ron Rivera. As a former All-Pro in Carolina, his veteran presence and familiarity with Rivera seemed like a good fit for an offensive line that just lost Brandon Scherff.
Through five weeks, however, things just haven’t looked right for Norwell.
The interior of the line has already seen turnover at the center position, and fellow guard Trai Turner was removed from the lineup a few weeks back after his own struggles. Washington’s offense simply can’t afford for Andrew Norwell to give them poor outings.
The reality is, Carson Wentz doesn’t bring the out-of-pocket mobility of 2016 with him on game days. Interior pressure is the hardest pressure to deal with for any quarterback, yet alone a passer who struggles to extend plays with his legs. Ron Rivera chose to let Ereck Flowers and Brandon Scherff walk in free agency, and his solutions were Norwell and Trai Turner. While Turner has already found himself losing snaps, the Commanders have to get more from Norwell.
A strong rebound for Norwell will go a long way in helping get the most out of Scott Turner’s offense.
While statistically the defense has improved in recent weeks, Kendall Fuller has been a major disappointment early in this season. His pass coverage so far this season has ranked near the bottom of the league according to PFF.
Against the Eagles in Week 3, Fuller was targeted 11 times, allowing nine catches for 152 yards and a 149.1 QBR to Jalen Hurts, per pFF.
It doesn’t help Fuller that his opposite side corner, William Jackson, was benched this past week, leaving yet another gap at a position of weakness for an already thin defense. This week is a prime bounce back week for Fuller, facing a young and very inexperienced Justin Fields in Chicago.
The frustration with Kendall Fuller’s struggles comes from the fact that we’ve seen him play shut down corner before. As one of the more beloved veterans on this team, Fuller is paid handsomely to be a reliable fixture on the outside.
Having a strong outing against Chicago will be key to leaving with a win.
This one is an obvious addition to the group, because after all, what position is more important than quarterback?
The Carson Wentz experience in Washington has seen it’s ups and downs since Week 1. While it’s easy to focus on his struggles, the truth is Carson Wentz has actually showed some some good things in his first season in Washington. His arm strength and ability to push the ball downfield has been a major boost for this offense.
The problem is consistency.
This Wentz led offense has yet to put back to back solid performances together. Carson threw 7 interceptions in the entirety of the 2021 season, and has already thrown 6 through just 5 games.
An injured and struggling offensive line is certainly not helping the matter. But limiting turnover worthy plays and working on getting in a rhythm early in the game is key to bringing this offense to life. The Bears defense is far from 1985. This group allowed Kirk Cousins to complete 78% of passes in Week 5, so Carson Wentz has to take advantage and play a sharp game.
At the end of the day, there are far more than three players that have to play better for Washington. But to avoid a 1-5 start, these key pieces could be the difference between staying alive in 2022 or watching the season fall apart before Halloween.