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In ‘Measuring Stick’ Game, Washington Comes Up Short

Knowledge is power, and changes need to happen

You may have heard this before, but insanity is doing the same things over and over again while expecting different results. 

Three weeks in a row now, the Washington Football Team has gotten very little pressure on their opposing quarterback. In each of those games, they've also allowed their opponents to score a touchdown on their opening drives. 

So, something has to change. Period.

READ MORE: WFT Defense: From Elite to Embarrassed

The time for saying “players just have to execute is over.” The team that came in with expectations of defending the NFC East Division title, knowing they were facing a first-place schedule, hasn't defended much of anything up to this point.

Ahead of last weekend's trip to face the Buffalo Bills, head coach Ron Rivera placed a very specific significance to this game. 

"They are a measuring stick," Rivera said. “When you talk about teams that have opportunities every year now to compete and do some great things, this is one of them. So, you should measure yourself to the great teams in this league right now … We feel like we’re coming up against a measuring stick and really kind of see where we are and how far we have to go.”

Well, after measuring up, the answer of how far they have to go is clear.

After coaching his team to a 43-21 loss, Rivera said, "We've got a long way to go."

Truer words may have never been spoken. 

But he wasn't done talking, because press conferences are longer than one sentence.

The message moving forward is going to be growth. Just as it has been up to this point. 

Thus far, the message has appeared to have fallen on deaf ears as the same results have appeared largely over the past three weeks. In fact, if not for an offsides penalty which may or may not have been a bad call in the first place, the Washington Football Team is less than one yard away from an 0-3 start.

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"The things that we have to correct, we will most certainly continue to work on," Rivera said in the opening comments of his press conference Sunday. 

“Continue” is a tricky word here. 

More of the same is likely to produce, well, more of the same. 

READ MORE: What Went Wrong in Buffalo?

"We had a couple opportunities on defense to make some things happen and we didn't get it done," Rivera said, specifically referring to his team's third-down defense.  

Something we've witnessed, and words we've heard a few times already in 2021. 

"We have a lot of talent (on the defensive front)," Rivera said when asked about his defensive line stocked with first-round picks. "But we (have) to get them to play as a unit. And that's on us as coaches. We have to make sure things that we're doing, things that we're creating for them, are things that they can work...and be a unit together."

This subtle line might be the most encouraging of the entire press conference. It shows a head coach who isn't willing to say, 'Players need to execute', and leave it at that. 

We did hear some of that in recent days, but at some point a struggling organization eventually has to lean on leadership. Such is the burden of being in charge. 

It's a sign of a leadership mentality from coach Rivera which could spark a change in what the coaches are asking of their units, or at least adjusting how they're teaching and communicating it - all I in an effort to get better, together.

"What you do the next week, that's really the indicator of what your character is," Rivera said. "And we'll find out what we're made out of."

The Washington Football Team now knows where this team stands. How they measure up to a legitimate playoff contender. And it isn't good. 

We'll see if they use that knowledge effectively, next week against the Atlanta Falcons.