Commanders coaching: Part No. 4
Tariq Castro-Fields is a young player. He has only been active a couple of weeks, and his primary duties have come as a gunner on special teams. It may not come as much of a surprise that he got flagged for a holding penalty on a Jamison Crowder punt return in the second half.
But in the first half, he was flagged for a different penalty. While covering a punt, Castro-Fields ran straight out of bounds without being blocked and stayed on the sideline for several strides before returning to the field of play.
This is an obvious penalty. Everyone knows this. I imagine Castro-Fields knows this too and simply lost his bearings for a moment. That can happen.
But it shouldn’t happen. On well-coached teams, it doesn’t happen.
This penalty barely matters, because there was an offsetting call on the New York Giants. But when you consider that the Washington Commanders only got back in the game due to a muffed punt in the second half, you realize how devastating small penalties like this can be if they wipe out a game-changing play.
Is that poor special teams coaching? Maybe not. I mean, it isn’t like the Commanders had a crucial field goal blocked with the game hanging in the balance. After the Giants came into this game having gone 99 games without a blocked field goal. Surely, Washington wouldn’t allow anything like that.
To be fair, Washington made some very astute coaching moves. Rolling out Sam Howell to avoid pressure, using Chris Rodriguez Jr. to give the running game a boost, and even putting Cornelius Lucas in as a sixth lineman to help with protection. These moves, along with a few gifts from the Giants, helped make the game competitive.
But the trend that has plagued Washington all season continued against New York. They didn’t show up ready to play. And a lot of that has to be blamed on the coaching staff.