Commanders slump in ESPN's power rankings
Sunday's whooping against the Buffalo Bills was a humbling experience for the Washington Commanders. The hype train was rolling after two straight victories under new ownership, but everything came crashing back down to earth versus a team that looks primed to go deep in the postseason once again.
It came as no surprise to see the Commanders fall to No. 17 in ESPN's power rankings as a result. When discussing the team's biggest complication through three weeks, beat writer John Keim highlighted the suspect pass protection as something that needs to be rectified as a matter of extreme urgency.
"Sam Howell has been sacked an NFL-high 19 times -- six more than any other quarterback. He's been pressured on 36.6% of his passes, fifth highest -- this despite being blitzed only 20.3% of the time, second lowest. After a nine-sack game, Bills defenders said they noticed he holds the ball too long at times. But it extends beyond that: The line has not protected him well enough; he's getting hit after he throws too often. Other times it's a slower developing play that leads to trouble with no receiver open or looking back before he's sacked."- John Keim, ESPN
This is the same old where the Commanders are concerned since Ron Rivera became head coach. The experienced figure values position versatility on the protection far more than investing in truly elite performers at one position - something the Commanders hope doesn't come back to haunt them as the campaign progresses.