The 2021 season can be a bright one for the Washington Football Team. A new quarterback comes to town and head coach Ron Rivera looks to build on the successes of 2020 and an NFC East division title.
Maybe the biggest issues are about "culture'' and "complacency.''
Rivera talks a lot about the first one. And the second one? As the Washington Football Team's regular season approaches, he's bringing it up a lot as well.
"To me, you went through a tough situation," Rivera said, reflecting on some of the challenges of last year and then the eventual NFC East title. "You found an ability to reach down and find something to help you get through that. And that's stuff you build on. But if for whatever reason we come out and say, ‘Well, we arrived. Man, we got this.’ Then we're not going to get better.
"That's what I'm concerned about and that's what I want to feel good about when we get ready to play that first regular-season game."
The impact of Rivera resonates throughout an organization that has long been under a cloud during the tenure of owner Dan Snyder. Can Snyder and Rivera work together as they attempt to build a powerhouse in Washington D.C.? The partnership is working so far, largely because the owner is staying out of the way.
What to expect from new WFT quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick?
Fitzpatrick's arrival brings the team some short-term stability, but the team's long-term starting quarterback situation is still in question. That latter question is one for another day. But immediately?
Fitz is an upgrade to last year's often-stagnant offense. Wide receiver Curtis Samuel joining Terry McLaurin to form a scary pass-catching dual marks an upgrade. And as Fitzpatrick enters his 17th season in the league, he does so with a stable offensive line and a run game looking to elevate its numbers in Year 2 with Antonio Gibson, who can be a true three-down back if that's what Rivera wants.
There are 31 other teams that would definitely swap defensive lines with Washington. It's loaded with star power at the top and has tremendous depth. Chase Young and Montez Sweat should be improved from last season, which is a terrifying thought for opposing offensive lines.
“If there are two guys that I really want to see if they’re ready to take the next step, honestly, they’re both our defensive ends,” Rivera said. “Montez and Chase are two guys if they take the next big step in their development as football players [they] can really take their game to the next level and that can help us out as a football team.”
That "next level'' in 2021? It would mean the WFT boasts the NFL's best defense.
Washington's Record: 9-8
Expected Depth Chart
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke
RB: Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Jaret Patterson, Peyton Barber
WR: Terry McLaurin, Dyami Brown, Antonio Gandy-Golden
WR: Curtis Samuel, Adam Humphries, Cam Sims Dax Milne
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TE: Logan Thomas John Bates Ricky Seals-Jones, Sammis Reyes
LT: Charles Leno Jr., David Sharpe
LG: Ereck Flowers, Wes Schweitzer
C: Chase Roullier
RG: Brandon Scherff, Wes Martin
RT: Sam Cosmi, Cornelius Lucas
DE: Chase Young
Right DE: Montez Sweat, Casey Toohill, William Bradley-King, Jalen Jelks
DT: Jonathan Allen, Matthew Ioannidis, David Bada
DT: Daron Payne, Tim Settle
LB: Cole Holcomb, Jared Norris
LB: Jamin Davis, Khaleke Hudson, David Mayo
LB: Jon Bostic, Jordan Kunaszyk
CB: William Jackson, Benjamin St-Juste, Troy Apke
CB: Kendall Fuller, Jimmy Moreland
SS: Landon Collins, Deshazor Everett
FS: Kamren Curl, Bobby McCain, Jeremy Reaves
P: Tress Way
K: Dustin Hopkins
LS: Camaron Cheeseman
PR: DeAndre Carter, Isaiah Wright
KR: Danny Johnson
CONTINUE READING: Power Rankings: Where Does WFT Stand Ahead Of Week 1?