Commanders must force the issue with Calais Campbell
He's 37 years old, but Calais Campbell remains a force in the trenches. A natural disruptor against the run. the defensive lineman already has one tackle for loss and 4.5 run stuffs to his credit through five games, which is a threat the Washington Commanders must take seriously.
More than the stats, Campbell is a natural magnet for double teams. His 6-foot-8, 300-plus pound frame presents problems for a Commanders' offensive interior pushed around too often in recent weeks.
Center Nick Gates should be a rugged scrapper, but he struggled with Chicago Bears' defensive tackles Andrew Billings and Justin Jones. So did guards Saahdiq Charles and Sam Cosmi.
Any time the Falcons kick Campbell inside, the six-time Pro Bowler will demand special attention. The attention should be manifested through double teams and showing him different looks with wham blocks by tight ends and having running backs chip inside.
If the Commanders get the basics right, their superior talent will prove decisive. But if the Falcons out-physical under-pressure head coach Ron Rivera's team, a once-promising season will begin to resemble a disaster.