To say that the Commanders’ first four games of the season haven’t been pretty is an understatement, and fans are already asking “can the Commanders turn their season around?”
The Commanders are 1-3 through the first four games of this still early season, and it has been nothing short of disappointing and depressing. The only way the start to the season could have been worse was if Washington lost to the Jaguars in week 1, however they are a dropped touchdown by Travis Etienne away from being 0-4 and the single worst team in the NFL. Before we dive into if the Commanders can turn their season around, let’s look at just how bad they have truly been through the first four games.
The Commanders have been bad, really bad
It seems as thought no matter what stat you look at, Washington has been quite bad so far. The scores of their games have been a 28-22 win over Jacksonville, a 27-36 loss to the Detroit Lions, an 8-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and a 10-25 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Washington has given up a total of 107 points and scored only 73 points, leading to a -34 point differential, which is 32nd in the NFL, dead last.
Washington is tied for for 27th in the league for the most turnovers given away with seven. They also rank as tied for 31st in the league for the worst turnover differential with -6, 32nd in the league in scoring defense, and 32nd in the league in turnovers forced, with only one measly turnover forced all season, which was a desperation hail marry thrown by Trevor Lawrence in week 1. Washington is 32nd in the league in sacks allowed with 17 sacks allowed so far on the season, and they rank as the 23rd team defense, allowing 378.1 yards per game.
Washington is also the 23rd ranked total offense, and rank 26th in the league in total points scored on the year. Carson Wentz has been atrocious to start the season, with a QBR of 35.7, good for 25th in the league, and has been responsible for six turnovers, tied for 4th worst in the league so far. In 2020, Wentz’s worse season in his career, he threw seven interceptions through the first four games; this season, he’s thrown just two less with 5 interceptions so far . Carson Wentz also has completed only 62.2% of his passes, good for 21st in the league.
In summary, the Commanders have been pretty terrible so far this season.
Washington ranks 23rd in total offense and 23rd in total defense. They have forced the least amount of turnovers in the league this season and have given up the most amount of sacks this season. They have simply been nothing short of atrocious.
So, now we’ve looked at the stats and seen just how bad they have been this year. But can they turn it around this season, and either sneak into the playoffs or post a respectable record?
Well, the answer is of course yes, because it’s early enough in the season to where any team could hypothetically turn their season around and rip off some wins. But, how LIKELY is it for Washington?
For starters, Washington has got to figure out how to block.
According to ESPN’s advanced analytics, Washington ranks 31st in the league in pass block win rate and 30th in run block win rate. Simply put, Washington’s biggest weakness this season has been their offensive line. This past offseason, Washington let offensive lineman Ereck Flowers and Brandon Scherff walk in free agency. This decision has proven costly, as the two guys that were tasked with replacing them in Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner, have been extremely underwhelming and grade as two of worst starting guards in the entire NFL. LT Charles Leno has steeply declined from last season, and it surely hasn’t helped that Pro Bowl center Chase Roullier suffered an injury that will cost him the remainder of this 2022 season.
Washington’s offensive line has barely been able to provide Carson Wentz with any protection, causing Wentz to frequently look like his 2020 self and WAY worse than his 2021 self. The biggest issue for Washington is their o-line, and if Washington is going to have any sort of chance to turn their season around, the o-line has got to step up its level. This in turn will greatly help Carson Wentz and aid in cutting down on the turnovers that Wentz causes.
Another area the Commanders have to step up in is their defense, specifically their secondary.
The Commanders have given up 12 plays that have gone for 30 or more yards, which unsurprisingly ranks as the worst in the NFL. The Commanders defense is already a far-cry from what it should be, but even still the pass rush is okay enough to give the Commanders a fighting chance. However, the Commanders’ secondary has got to step up if this team wants to be anything notable the rest of the season. CBs Kendall Fuller and William Jackson have been arguably the worst starting CB duo in the NFL so far this season, and they simply have to pick it up if they want to turn this season around.
If the Commanders’ secondary could avoid blown coverages, something that became a nail in the coffin for them in 2021, and improve their pass and run block win-rates to even the high teens or low 20s in the league, this team would be capable of rattling off some big wins. The Commanders absolutely have talent, with an arguably top 10 ranked skill position unit in the league, with players such as Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Antonia Gibson, J.D McKissic, Brian Robinson (when he comes back from injury), and Logan Thomas.
The two main areas the team has to improve upon are the o-line blocking in general and the secondary blowing coverages.
There are other areas where the team could vastly improve on as well, such as getting much more targets to Terry McLaurin, giving J.D McKissic more touches, and scheming up plays for Carson Wentz to get out of the pocket. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio are absolutely on the hot seat, as they have both been nothing short of awful this season. However, if the Commanders want to have a fighting chance, they have got to figure out how to block people and stop giving up 30 yard plays.
If they can do that, they might just be able to post a respectable record, If not, we can all wave goodbye to the Ron Rivera era in the nation’s capital.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE
It’s been nearly a perfect storm of bad so far for the Commanders. I had been hoping Chase Young would be ready to return for Week 5, but that’s not happening so the defense is going to have to figure out how to make it work with the pieces they’ve got.
Letting Scherff walk this offseason looked like a very questionable decision at the time, and is looking REALLY bad right now.