Here comes the noise in Washington.
After an exciting come-from-behind win against the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1, and a sobering loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2, the Washington Football Team
In a game in which Dwayne Haskins Jr. not only threw three interceptions but recorded one lost fumble and Antonio Gibson recorded a fumble of his own for a total of five giveaways, the Washington Football Team beat themselves. Washington has only four takeaways of its own, resulting in a -3 turnover differential after three weeks of play.
Head coach Ron Rivera called the turnovers disappointing.
“That’s one thing we can’t do,” Rivera said to the media after the game. “We turned the ball over in the first half and then had an opportunity to come back, so we did and then we turned the ball over again. We’re not going to win football games if we don’t win the takeaway battle.”
Because of his team’s performance, Rivera knows that there will be backlash from critics as Washington drops to 1-2 on the season. But he is going to tune them out.
“The outside noise is exactly what it is: noise,” Rivera said to the media following the loss. “My concern is developing this football team, not appeasing anyone who has an opinion. This football team is a young team that is going to learn and grow and we’re going to learn and grow the way that I see fit for this organization.”
With that, let’s dive into the main takeaways from Sunday’s loss.
Haskins isn’t going anywhere
Sunday marked the first time that Haskins threw three interceptions in a game since his first big-league start against the New York Giants in Week 4 of the 2019 season. Before Sunday, Haskins had not thrown an interception in his past four starts. In addition to the interceptions, Haskins finished the game against the Browns with 21 completions in 37 attempts, 224 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite his abysmal performance, Rivera made it clear that he is sticking with Haskins moving forward. Backups Kyle Allen and Alex Smith will continue to be backups.
“I just got done talking to Dwayne and I told him, ‘I’m behind you. I’m going to stick with you, so you go out and play football,’” Rivera said.
For Rivera, the situation is similar to that of Cam Newton in Carolina. Despite some mediocre performances in his rookie campaign, including one game in which Newton threw four interceptions against the Detroit Lions, Rivera stood by him. He plans to do the same for Haskins by continuing to expose him to live-game situations.
“The truth of the matter is, how is he going to learn?” Rivera said. “Is he going to learn taking the scout team snaps? No. The only way we’re going to figure out where Dwayne is and what he can do for us is to put him back out on the football field. That’s how he grows.”
As far as the interceptions, Rivera knows that Haskins is doing whatever he thinks is best in the moment to help the team win.
“He’s not doing it on purpose,” Haskins said. “We’re going to live with those mistakes and grow from those mistakes. Again, the only way to find out if he can do it is to keep him on the football field.”
Keep the pressure coming
The Washington Football Team entered Sunday’s game with just eight defensive lineman, and lost two in the first half in Matthew Ioannidis and Chase Young. It has been relatado that Ioannidis has a torn bicep and is out for the season. There has been no official yet word on Young, who left the game in the second quarter with a groin injury.
These are big losses to a defensive line that has been arguably the strongest part of the team over the course of three games. Ioannidis did not start this season as he played behind Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. He is yet another example of the depth of the defensive line overall.
Washington recorded a blistering eight sacks against the Eagles in Week 1 and have leveled off in the past two weeks, recording three against the Cardinals and two versus the Browns. They are still ranked No. 2 in the league overall with 13 sacks.
Defensive end Montez Sweat had a strong game despite the injuries though, recording four tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and four quarterback hits.
“Montez stepped up,” Rivera said. “Those six guys that were left fought their butts off to finish the game. That’s what you need. Montez showed that he is a force to be reckoned with.”
With a Week 4 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson, Washington cannot afford to lose any more defensive strength.
História em construção
Though Sunday’s matchup against the Browns was not remarkable for Washington, one aspect of the game is worth remembering. History was made in the NFL as Sunday’s contest marked the first game in which there were female coaches on both sidelines and a female official.
Jennifer King is in her first full season coaching in the NFL and her first as Washington’s full-year coaching intern. She works with the offensive staff and specifically alongside running back’s coach Randy Jordan.
Callie Brownson serves as the chief of staff for the Browns. She played eight seasons as a safety, running back and slot receiver for the D.C. Divas of the Women’s Football Alliance. She was a five-team captain and four-time All-American. Before arriving in Cleveland, Brownson worked with the Buffalo Bills.
Sarah Thomas is the first full-time female official in NFL history. Sunday’s matchup was her 78th officiated game in the NFL.
“I think it’s about time that there is some gender equity in this sport,” Rivera said. “Women love this game. A lot of women want to play this game and they play it. They want to coach it and they’re coaching it. And all we’re doing is creating opportunities for people that deserve it.
“I’m very proud of Jennifer King. She’s somebody I’ve worked with the past few years and she’s shown me that she deserves the opportunity and she’s running with it.”