Commanders OL near perfect in protection
The Washington Commanders' much-maligned protection unit has generally been better than the sum of its parts so far this season. While health has yet to become an obstacle, quarterback Sam Howell has also not been doing his protection many favors with his troubling propensity to hold onto the football for too long.
Howell's bad habit should eventually get cleaned up with experience and repetition. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy can give some help to his young quarterback and his offensive line by calling more quick passes and screens to get the ball out faster.
The Atlanta Falcons defense doesn't generate a ton of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, totaling just five sacks coming into this contest. Unfortunately, the Commanders have struggled mightily in protection so far this season, giving up a whopping 29 sacks, trailing only the New York Giants for most in the league.
Against a stout Atlanta defensive front, Washington could potentially have a tougher time finding footing in the ground game. But the Commanders' offense might be able to find some success with a more balanced and creative attack that features receivers Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel in the short/intermediate areas.
Bieniemy's game plan could still highlight a steady dose of rushing attempts by Brian Robinson Jr. and rookie Chris Rodriguez Jr. to control time of possession and wear down the Falcons' defense. Using a variety of runs, quick passes, screens, RPOs, and play-action shots should help Washington's offensive line in protection while keeping Howell from taking too many unnecessary hits.
The Commanders' offensive line consistently gives Howell a clean pocket with time to operate. They give up minimal pressure and don't allow a single sack for the first time all season.