The Washington Football Team claimed the NFC East title in year one into the Ron Rivera regime. As exhilarating as it was to get back to the postseason, Washington still finished 7-9 in a lackluster division.
This led to a busy offseason and the WFT has made plenty of moves to fill holes on both sides of the ball.
The defense in D.C. gives hope that Washington can repeat as division champions and become the first team to do so since 2004. This is the ultimate goal. the WFT is looking to get back to the postseason and be in a position to win a playoff game for the first time since 2005.
Rivera is looking to help Washington take that next step in year two. These five moves can be huge factors heading into the season.
5. Signing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
Usually when a team adds a new starting quarterback, it would be closer to the top on a list such as this one. That is not the case here but it is still extremely important.
Washington signed the 38-year-old Fitzpatrick to a one-year deal in free agency. The length of the contract has it in the fifth spot. Indirectly, this entry also has to do with the fact that Washington did not reach on a quarterback in the draft.
There is a dynamic around the league where teams without their "future" quarterback needs to add one immediately. Washington held the 19th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and was not in a position to land a quarterback. They would have had to give up too much to draft Justin Fields so WFT decided to stay put and revisit the problem next year.
For this year, Fitzpatrick will be under center. WFT took off last season when Alex Smith took over the starting job. Fitzpatrick has a chance to bring a bit more than a hobbled Smith. There is no question that Washington is in a better position at quarterback than they were at this time last year.
4. Adding Depth to Offensive Line
The offensive line in Washington was a pleasant surprise in 2020. Brandon Scherff led the charge turning in a season that landed him as a First Team All-Pro. There has been plenty of moves along the offensive line and it began with a surprising release.
Morgan Moses has been an anchor at right tackle for Washington since 2015. He has not missed a game over the last six years. Instead, he was released and has agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Jets. This will bring on a competition at right tackle and second-round pick Samuel Cosmi will be apart of it.
Cosmi is a move that will add depth to the offensive line. He is a prospect that has a chance to piece a piece for the future. On the other end of the spectrum, Washington signed Charles Leno Jr. to play left tackle. He is not a long-term solution but Leno's production in Chicago gives WFT a solid starter to protect the blindside of Fitzpatrick.
If Washington wants to repeat in the NFC East, it will need the offensive line to perform like they did a year ago. Adding depth to the group will be important over the course of a 17-game season.
Washington GAMEDAY: Key to Competing with Packers?
Despite all the injuries in Washington, the team needs to fix its repeated mistakes happening week in and week out.
Washington LISTEN: Will Move to LB Boost Landon Collins?
Locked On Washington: Washington Football Team Facing Government Investigation
How To Watch Washington vs. Green Bay: Offense Must Avoid Turnovers
If Washington wants to stay in the game with the Packers, the offense needs to play cleaner football and score more points.
3. Drafting LB Jamin Davis
Washington was sitting on the clock during the draft at No. 19 with two potential players in mind that would fill holes -- offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Washington went in another direction and selected Jamin Davis out of Kentucky.
Davis might have entered the draft as a relatively unknown name after starting just one year for the Wildcats. As we get deeper into the summer, Davis is beginning to get more and more attention. Washington desperately needed speed at the linebacker position and Davis will bring that right away. His speed and athleticism will transition into the NFL immediately.
Davis was the third linebacker selected in the draft, but has a chance to be the best of the bunch. He has a chance to contribute to a defense that is expected to be elite. There is no question that he will be in contention for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award when it is all said and done.
2. Improving Pass Catchers
Terry McLaurin, Cam Sims, Steven Sims Jr. This is the group that Washington threw out there during Wild Card Weekend. Entering the offseason, WFT needed to add more weapons and they did just that.
Curtis Samuel signed a three-year deal in the offseason. He will reunite with McLaurin, who was his old teammate at Ohio State. Samuel brings versatility to the offense because he can act as a pass catcher and a ball carrier. Adam Humphries was next. This gives Washington a legitimate slot receiver and potential security blanket for Fitzpatrick.
Not only did the WFT add pieces but their pass catchers in place will continue to improve. McLaurin has solidified himself as a No. 1 receiver. Logan Thomas burst onto the scene in 2020 and will look to be a consistent weapon from Week 1. Finally, Antonio Gibson is prepared to be used more in the passing game.
Washington's offense has been underwhelming for years now. It is time that they take a step forward and there is a chance with some new weapons.
1. Adding CB William Jackson III to Secondary
The secondary was not expected to be a huge focus heading into the offseason. Rivera saw a chance to continue to build the defense and took it right away.
William Jackson III agreed to a three-year deal with Washington in free agency. This gives WFT a legitimate No. 1 cornerback. Jackson is a corner who will shadow top receivers and will have plenty of work in division with the likes of Amari Cooper, Kenny Golladay, DeVonta Smith, and multiple others.
Jackson's addition allows Kendall Fuller to move to the other side and potentially back inside. Third-round selection Benjamin St-Juste has been impressive early on and could land that second job on the outside. This would allow Fuller to work in the slot, where he is arguably at his best.
Jackson brings energy, confidence, and talent to the cornerback position in Washington. Landon Collins and Kam Curl will be responsible at safety and all of a sudden, the secondary in Washington looks much better.
CONTINUE READING: Gibson's Growth: Washington Coach Rivera 'Excited' By RB Maturity