Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Rivera, Washington 2-6. but shift to future evaluation mode

Another close defeat was enough to shore up Washington’s season.

With the next Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2-6 and the Dallas Cowboys in control of the NFC East, Washington’s hopes of a long-shot playoff bid seem out of reach. It’s all about the future now, and the only mystery over the next few months as to where the team will draft in the first round will be the new name of the franchise.

“The truth of the matter is, it gets dark before it’s brightest,” coach Ron Rivera said. “We have to go through this. … We can do our best. We’ll play as hard as we can and see what happens. We’re going to show up every Sunday and try and give our best and hopefully some Will win the football game.”

Rivera still wants to win, but the focus has changed. He said after losing in Denver on Sunday that he and the staff would now reevaluate every situation on a team that is “still trying to try and find itself.”

Washington finds itself tied for last in the division, and going on a run will be harder than last season. A soft schedule helped Washington go 2-7 to 7-9 and the playoffs—and now a first-place schedule with Tom Brady’s Buccaneers, Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks and Dak Prescott’s Cowboys making it a tough climb. makes.

“Last year last year,” JD McKisick said. “We have to focus on this year. Right now, we just have to finish.”

Washington doesn’t have the finishing touches in this mess. with taylor heinicke At quarterback, the team has the worst red zone offense in the NFL at 45.5%, and defense that should have ranked 27th among the league’s best ranks.

Injuries certainly played a part. After early-start QB Ryan Fitzpatrick injured his right hip in six passing attempts in the season opener, top free agent signing Curtis Samuels has been restricted to two games, 2020 All-Pro right guard Brandon Scherf ( knee) and tight end Logan Thomas (hamstring) have missed the last four and linebacker John Bostick is likely to be done for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.

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Rivera is optimistic about bringing back some players after the goodbye week and looks forward to seeing what the team looks like then.

“Some of the things we’ve done recently really show that we have the ability to start this again,” he said. “But figuring out who we are has a lot to do with people we haven’t been able to use and play with, so I think coming out of this, we’ll see how we respond to that.” “

The responses so far have come up empty. They beat the Giants on a buzzer-beating field goal, after New York’s Dexter Lawrence missed the first attempt and needed two touchdowns in the final four minutes to come back to Atlanta and win.

Rivera thought aloud on Sunday: “Where are we?” And his players clarified that this is still an open question.

“It is still a search for an identity for our offense,” said left tackle Charles Leno. “Goodbye week came at just the right time. Let’s just go ahead and do some self-examination, figure out what we are good at, figure out what we need to be better at and eliminate the things we are bad at and go from there.

Veteran safety Landon Collins – who has been used mostly as a linebacker this season – said he is “not letting the disappointment get in.” Doing so is easier said than done, and how players handle it will go a long way toward determining who’s around next season when Washington’s name has more expectations.

“We are a young team that is learning how to mature and that’s on us,” Rivera said. “We’re going to do our best to train them and we’ll see what happens.”

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