Washington Football Team: Find positives but don’t drink the Kool-Aid

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 02: Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Washington Football Team throws the ball during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on January 02, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 02: Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Washington Football Team throws the ball during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on January 02, 2022 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

There are some positives for the Washington Football Team right now. But don’t be blind to the negatives and drink the Kool-Aid too much.

Not many fans of the Washington Football Team were all that happy with the direction the team was heading going into Week 16. Riding a three-game losing streak and holding a 6-9 record didn’t excite many people.

However, they had a strong showing in Week 17 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, they lost 20-16 but there were so many more positives. The defense looked strong despite a bunch of injuries and COVID absentees.

Jaret Patterson had a breakout type game. The rookie running back set new career-bests in carries (12), rushing yards (57), receptions (5), and receiving yards (41). He also scored his second career touchdown in the game.

Tight end John Bates continues to have some solid production. Dyami Brown has shown big-play ability. Saahdiq Charles and Sam Cosmi have the potential to be serious long-term answers on the offensive line.

Defensively we keep getting proof of the depth of the defensive line. Jamin Davis has struggled this year but the rookie linebacker picked up his first sack of the year in Week 17. Danny Johnson and Jeremy Reaves continue to take advantage of any chances they are given.

However, not everything is roses – obviously. A 6-10 team riding a four-game losing-steak clearly has its problems.

Heading into Week 17 it felt almost unanimous that Washington needed to get a quarterback this offseason. This was of course following a couple of absolutely horrendous outings by Taylor Heinicke.

Then in Week 17, the QB found a good rhythm that included starting the game 12-for-12. He finished 27-for-36 for 247 yards and one interception. Nothing great but pretty decent. And it had a few fans backtracking on Twitter and suddenly the Washington Football Team wasn’t desperate for a QB in the eyes of some.

I feel like I’ve bashed on Heinicke a bit too much. There’s a lot to like about his game. He’s someone I would love as a backup. If he was needed for a few games, I’d feel perfectly fine knowing he can lead a team to a win.

The miserable arm strength mixed with high confidence/hubris is a big problem though. Heinicke had one interception in that game, and he should’ve had at least one more. He refuses to let a play die, which is awesome. But sometimes you have to recognize when it’s over and take the sack or throw the ball out of bounds. It seems like Heinicke would rather blindly throw up a jump ball – that will lose more games than it wins.

My friend Todd is a Baltimore Ravens fan. He loves to tell me that the Washington Football Team is an “unserious franchise”. The main reason for that is probably because they never have a star quarterback. They won’t be “serious” until they get one. It almost seems like they are content with piecing it all together, and that leads to them not winning playoff games. Hence, unserious.

It’s not just Heinicke though.

The thing is, Washington has a Week 18 game against the 4-12 New York Giants. A team that is painfully bad and just made the 6-10 Chicago Bears look like Super Bowl contenders in their 29-3 win over New York.

Don’t be surprised if Heinicke puts up monster numbers. Maybe receivers other than Terry McLaurin have a huge game. Davis and the linebackers hide all their issues. The secondary looks perfect.

This is the type of game that could have fans ending the season looking through rose-colored glasses.

Now, on the other hand, Washington isn’t exactly scary right now either. So if they lose (which is absolutely possible) it could make fans panic even worse than expected. But that’s not nearly the focus here.

The point is, don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Washington had a strong game against a good team in Week 17. Now they have a chance to end the season on a very high note in Week 18.

There are still so many problems though. A quarterback is needed. He’ll need more weapons at receiver and a left tackle. Is Brandon Scherff leaving? The running back situation isn’t as comfortable as it felt at the end of last season. Can they find fix the linebackers and fill the holes in the secondary? A lot of steps need to be taken if Washington wants to be true competitors.

The Washington Football Team could end the season with a bang. Enjoy that, and celebrate the positives. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid though. The problems aren’t going to be magically fixed by one game to end the year against a miserable team. I want a future where my friends don’t mock my team as an “unserious franchise”. That starts this offseason.