Commanders defensive investment didn't pay off
Considering his defensive background, it came as no surprise to see Ron Rivera invest heavily in this side of the football. Multiple high-end draft picks were spent on fortifying the defense. Lofty contract extensions were allocated. There was even enough for a few notable free-agent signings thrown in for good measure.
Aside from the 2022 season, this vaunted unit never met expectations. Things spiraled completely out of control for the group this season. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was fired. Even when Rivera took over play-calling duties, the same glaring flaws remained.
One could point to the fact Washington traded their two primary pass-rushers Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the deadline. But it's not like they were setting the world alight before those tough yet understandable moves were made with Josh Harris' approval.
Picking Emmanuel Forbes in the first round was another potential error. The rookie cornerback looked like a rabbit in the headlights throughout his first season in the pros. Writing him off so soon is foolish, but there's no doubt Rivera was expecting more from the former Mississippi State star right out of the gate.
The splash plays conceded at will. The failure to become impactful against the run. The lack of ferocity at the linebacking positions. It all contributed heavily to Washington's defensive investments failing to reap the necessary rewards.