Ron Rivera went to Washington on January 1st, 2020. Since arriving in DC, Rivera has built a culture around winning and work ethic. When you watch the Football Team play on TV, you can see that the players want to win. You can tell that players are pushing each other to get better every day. For instance, the same year Chase Young joins the defensive line, Montez Sweat has his best year ever. Brotherhood, mentorship, and drive are just a few tropes established by Ron Rivera in the District of Columbia.
WFT is here to win now, but this team resembles more than that. Washington is a team that fans around the league are excited to see this year. Enamored by their stout defensive line, star-struck by the big names, and inspired by the “cinderella story” narrative, the Washington Football Team is one of the most exciting teams to watch this year.
Key offseason additions in both free agency and the draft have turned this team into a true powerhouse.
Meet the Defense
The Football Team’s defense is either best or second-best in the NFL. This squad is loaded with talent from the front seven to free safety. Defensive line is the anchor for this unit. Chase Young (Edge), Montez Sweat (Edge), Daron Payne (DT), and Jonathan Allen (DT) make up Washington’s wall.
The true embodiment of an X-factor, Chase Young finished last season with 7.5 sacks, winning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award. Young is a natural leader who brought energy to the team that encouraged the defensive line to exceed their full potential. Chase Young was the last piece of the puzzle for this line and a major individual contributor for Washington. Young never quits until the whistle is blown. The effort he shows on the field to not only hit the QB but to also strip the ball and force fumbles is unlike any rookie defensive end the league has ever seen.
The secondary unit of this defense is impossible to ignore. This offseason, Washington signed FA William Jackson III (CB) to a 3 year, $42M deal, with $26M guaranteed. This blockbuster deal shocked the football world, as it marked the completion of Washington’s secondary unit. Superstar William Jackson III tallied 11 pass-breakups last year in 14 games with the Bengals. Jackson is ready to bring his defensive prowess to the DMV.
Aside from the William Jackson signing, WFT’s secondary was greatly improved with the arrival of rookie safety Kamren Curl. A true steal, Kam Curl (FS) was drafted in the seventh round by Washington in 2020. He quickly proved himself and earned an opportunity to reach the top of the depth chart when Landon Collins suffered a season-ending injury midway through the 2020 season. The following week, Curl led the Football Team in tackles (11) and got his first career sack. Rivera doesn’t care about big names, he goes after talent. Drafted 216th overall, the football team definitely got Curl for a steal.
The biggest signing for the Football Team’s offense by far was Curtis Samuel. Samuel (WR) signed a 3 year, $34.5M contract with Washington, instantly becoming WR2 for the team. Last year, Samuel tallied 851 yards on 77 receptions, 3 of which were in the end zone. Samuel is a solid receiver in his prime and fits perfectly in this new era of Washington football.
The other big signing for the Washington offense was QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is going into his 17th season and has played for eight other teams throughout his NFL career. Washington will be his ninth home in the NFL. Fitzpatrick played great football for the Miami Dolphins last year, totaling 2091 yards on 187 completions, with 68% completion. He only played 9 games because Miami thought it was time to pass the torch to rookie franchise QB, Tua Tagovailoa. Fitzpatrick comes into the 2021 season with a chip on his shoulder after being benched for a rookie, and the Football Team will capitalize on it.
Washington Football Team
Rivera has built the team he wants to go to battle with. After playing the reigning champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers so hard in the playoffs last year, everyone knew their day would arrive soon.
Being in the NFC East makes this team all the more exciting. When this Football Team matches up against the Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys, it’s going to be a dunk contest (with Terry McLaurin doing the dunking.)