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Washington Record: Best- And Worst-Case Scenarios

Can Washington reach their true potential in 2021? Well, once again the performances of an aging quarterback look to be the key.

Last season was a rollercoaster from start to finish. A team rebrand, late-season revival, an injury comeback for the ages, and a team rallying behind a head coach battling for his life, it won't be forgotten in a hurry. 

That being said, 2021 is a new year and brings with it a rise in expectations following an unexpected playoff appearance in 2020. 

READ MORE: Aaron Rodgers Trade Plan: Impact on Washington Football Team?

So what should fans expect? Well, the folks over at Pro Football Focus have, in their infinite wisdom, compiled a list of the best and worst outcomes for every NFL team for 2021. 

And according to PFF, the deciding factor is whether they can find a little bit of magic. More specifically, they believe it revolves around the bearded, Harvard-educated journeyman quarterback Ryan FitzMagic.

If Washington is able to build upon Fitzpatrick's form of 2020, then they're in luck. If we're looking at the Fitzpatrick of old... then Washington is headed for a 5-12 season.

Washington finds itself on the wrong end of the Ryan Fitzpatrick experience. Fitzpatrick has earned the three highest PFF grades of his career in the past three seasons, but he only earned an overall grade higher than 70.0 once in his career before 2018. There’s always the potential that Fitzpatrick “giving his wide receivers a chance” becomes more of a negative than a positive again. The career-high grades the Football Team received from Cornelius Lucas, Wes Schweitzer, Chase Roullier and Brandon Scherff in 2020 don’t repeat themselves, either.

As implied above, while Fitzpatrick has the potential to be a guiding light at times, this hasn't always been the case. 

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If Washington's offensive line is able to continue their form of last season then a relatively safe Fitzpatrick should have everything he needs to turn on the magic. And given that their defense is as young as talented as they could wish for, the offense really will be the deciding factor.

READ MORE: Where's Washington Secondary Rank In NFC East?

However, given that there is no reason to believe (at this time) that Fitzpatrick and the offensive line won't be able to continue delivering, and their defense should continue to improve and grow, then 11-6 could be on the horizon.

Fitzpatrick’s late-career renaissance continues in Washington. His willingness to push the ball downfield to receivers such as Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown adds a different element to the Football Team’s offense. A season ago, 67% of Alex Smith’s pass attempts were short of the first down marker, the highest in the NFL. 

Washington’s defensive line only improves as Chase Young and Montez Sweat continue to develop. And William Jackson III serves as an upgrade at one of the outside cornerback spots, giving defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio more flexibility in the secondary. 

Optimistic? Perhaps. But possible? Absolutely.

On paper, this team has only improved over the past few months. Key departures were minimal, and their draft haul was potentially impressive.

If the likes of Jamin Davis, Benjamin St-Juste, and Shaka Toney (a personal favorite) can all develop into key members of this defense then the sky is the limit. 

And again, if the ageless wonder that is Fitzpatrick can bring a little touch of magic on offense then who knows, 11-6 could be an underestimation.

CONTINUE READING: Washington Football Team: What's The Best Name For The Future?