Some worrying trends were higlighted as the Washington Commanders took a nosedive in NFL.com's power rankings heading into Week 6.
There's no doubt been plenty of soul-searching and harsh assessments within the Washington Commanders over the past few days. Their embarrassing loss against the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football was the latest underachievement with the spotlight glaring, which cast further questions about those in positions of power and whether the new ownership group would take matters into their own hands.
If Josina Anderson of CBS Sports' report is accurate, nothing drastic is on the immediate horizon. Josh Harris has preached patience as an owner of other sports franchises, so it would be a big shock if Ron Rivera didn't get a full campaign to prove his worth unless there is a drastic drop-off in terms of results or he loses the locker room.
Commanders must counteract concerning trends to salvage their season
Others within the partnership are already looking to the future, per Anderson. Magic Johnson was highly critical of the Commanders for what he perceived to be a clear lack of effort versus the Bears, which won't go down well with a perennial winner as a player and owner over the decades.
Regardless of whether Rivera and his coaches get a genuine reprieve or not, it doesn't change the fact there is a lot of hard work ahead. Some expected problems have surfaced and surprising disappointments are also rearing their head to further complicate matters, although Washington's gamble to put Sam Howell as the starting quarterback is going better than most envisaged from a production standpoint.
There is a chance to go on a good run looking at the upcoming games, providing certain position groups buck up their ideas. For now, the concerns this is more than a mini-losing blip cannot be overlooked until proven otherwise.
This was a topic brought up by Eric Edholm in his latest NFL.com power rankings, which slumped the Commanders down four spots to No. 26 thanks in no small part to the worrying trends that have emerged following a two-game winning streak to begin the season.
"Winnable games lie ahead, but there are some really concerning trends that must end before harboring those thoughts. The high-profile defense is being gashed by big plays. Sam Howell is taking way too many hits. And the rookie class has provided little help, with first-round CB Emmanuel Forbes Jr. suffering through another tough outing last week. Arguably the most fixable of the issues is the defensive front. Dominating more and playing with more discipline on the D-line would help alleviate the secondary concerns. The Commanders' celebrated group of QB hunters is racking up pressures and sacks, but it hasn't taken over games enough. That unit is at least part of why Washington’s defense has taken a step backward."- Eric Edholm, NFL.com
Losing three straight is far from ideal, but there is a lot of talent for the Commanders to utilize and a lot of football left to play. The noose might be tightening around Rivera's neck - especially among some sections of the fanbase - but gaining another road victory at the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday would get the pendulum swinging in the other direction once again.
That won't be easy against their formidable rushing attack led by first-round pick Bijan Robinson. But anyone thinking the Commanders don't have a chance is kidding themselves.
And if these concerning trends evaporate or at least improve gradually, better results won't be too far behind.