Commanders must confuse Desmond Ridder
Of the main failings of the defense designed by Jack Del Rio and head coach Ron Rivera, breakdowns in zone coverage are among the most familiar. Fortunately, facing Desmond Ridder and the Atlanta Falcons provides a good opportunity for the Washington Commanders' zone-heavy approach to improve and succeed.
Ridder led a game-winning drive against the Houston Texans last week, but he still has problems deciphering coverage. His issues, along with how the Falcons try and compensate, were described by NFL Films' Greg Cossell on an edition of the Ross Tucker Football Podcast:
"What you have to do with him is you got to design some half-field read concepts, which cleanly define the reads in the throws, particularly versus zone converage."- Greg Cosell via Ross Tucker Podcast
Del Rio can disguise and mix coverages to confuse Ridder. It'll mean showing man coverage and shifting into soft zones post-snap, as well as tweaking looks like Cover 2 by having corners retreat deep, while safeties jump the underneath routes.
These are elementary ways for the Commanders to shake up what's been a stale formula without having to go blitz-happy and declare open season for giving up more big plays through the air.