Overall thoughts and grade for the Washington Football Team defense
This isn’t a fun one to grade. The Washington Football Team was supposed to be elite with a ridiculous number of studs wreaking havoc. Instead, the defense was bad with a whopping one stud – Jonathan Allen.
Montez Sweat and good Da’Ron Payne were good. Benjamin St-Juste was good. Kam Curl was good. Cole Holcomb was solid and Landon Collins was decent when he moved to linebacker. Outside of that, there’s very little to say that’s going to be positive outside of praising a couple of depth players that didn’t get many chances to make a difference anyway.
They finished the year allowing 359.3 total yards of offense a game – the 11th worst in the entire NFL. That’s especially bad considering how good the rushing defense was. This was far from a “bend but don’t break” defense too. They allowed 25.5 points per game. That was the eighth-most allowed per game in the NFL.
Washington wasn’t really getting many turnovers either. They had 11 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries. That’s a total of 19 takeaways, which was tied for the ninth fewest in the NFL.
Washington was lacking playmakers. Your defensive tackle having to be the one to make plays isn’t the best strategy. Yes, you could say Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams do it. But Donald has a lot of help – like an elite cornerback in Jalen Ramsey.
There’s still a lot to be excited about with this defense. Allen is a monster inside and Payne is really good too. Sweat makes plays and Chase Young struggled before his injury but he’s still a freak. Linebacker Jamin Davis didn’t have a great rookie year but there were some highlights at the end of the year.
Curl and St-Juste are exciting young defensive backs. But Washington will still need to make some moves to bolster their secondary and linebacker corps if they want to be elite again.
2021 was certainly not what many were expecting. There were some positives, but it felt like those positives were far outweighed by the hefty number of negatives. The future is still pretty bright but 2021 was not it. Final grade: C-.