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Coach Ron Rivera Reveals What Washington Defense is Missing

Winning buys some time, but a tough match-up in Week 3 requires answers

As Chase Young left the playing field following the Washington Football Team's 30-29 win over the New York Giants, he said the win wasn't pretty, but they got the job done. 

Notice the lack of quotes there. What he said was more “colorful,” so I'm paraphrasing for the unexplicit content produced here. 

Through two weeks it's clear the WFT defense isn't firing on all cylinders. Is it that they were overrated entering the season? Maybe it's all the new pieces, including safety Landon Collins who missed all but seven games in 2020. Sometimes units with a lot of turnover take time to gel. 

READ MORE: Is WFT Offense Underrated?

No, according to head coach Ron Rivera, it's none of those things. 

"Just a lack of discipline," Rivera told the media when asked about what he saw from the defense. "That's frustrating because when we prepared for something that we've seen in the past...(Giants quarterback, Daniel Jones) did it last week and he did it again this week. So that's disappointing."

The good news is, discipline issues are relatively easy to fix, but they're the problems you hope not to have in the first place. 

As a coordinator, it's hard to make large-scale scheme adjustments when players aren't executing the scheme and play calls correctly in the first place. 

Hard to tell if the scheme is deficient when players go outside of it, really. 

For Jack Del Rio, this poses a problem. Keep the current approach, and players keep going off-script leading to big plays. Or, change the script and hope the players now stick to the plan. But if they aren't sticking to this one, what's to say they'll follow a new one?

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Bottom line is, a lack of discipline is generally easy to fix, but it's perhaps the biggest problem to have. 

Rivera communicated that frustration by saying, "That will be pointed out and we're gonna work to correct it, cause that's honestly, … something that's very frustrating for us as coaches."

When fans have seen teams like the New England Patriots win consistently with a 'do your job' attitude, it's been disheartening to see the WFT defense struggle, especially due to these reasons. 

Week 2 did show improvements, though. 

Washington's defense went from allowing more than 70 percent of third downs converted against the Los Angeles Chargers to under 35. A big improvement, even if the team would like to get the number closer to 30 percent. 

Another big climber was rookie linebacker Jamin Davis, who earned praise from the head coach as well. 

So the arrow is pointing north. And the talent is clearly there. 

READ MORE: Did WFT Find Their QB?

It'll be on the coaches to preach discipline, and team leaders like captain Chase Young to hold players accountable on the field. 

If they can achieve that, then the excitement experienced in the Washington Football Team's first win of the year, could be just the beginning.