The offense for the Washington Football Team has been underwhelming over the last few years. The franchise has been unable to land that next long-term option under center and that has hindered progress. In 2020, Washington used three quarterbacks and will have a new one this season with Ryan Fitzpatrick being added.
It was clear that offense was a priority during the offseason. In addition to Fitzpatrick, Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries were added in free agency while Dyami Brown was drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. These receivers will join Terry McLaurin and give the WFT some more options on the outside.
Antonio Gibson and Logan Thomas are other returning playmakers that are expected to make an impact. On paper, this offense is much improved. Heading into the 2020 season, Washington could find themselves near the bottom of the league in terms of offensive weapons. That should not be the case this season but Bill Barnwell of ESPN is still not sold.
Barnwell recently ranked each team in the NFL based on their offensive weapons. He placed the WFT at No. 24 and had this to say about the team:
There were signs of life around Terry McLaurin last season! At running back, Antonio Gibson was a Week 1 starter and proved to be an effective player despite his lack of experience, averaging 4.7 yards per carry while finishing sixth in the league in DVOA. The other surprising seasons weren’t quite as impressive; J.D. McKissic’s 80-catch effort was mostly a product of Alex Smith tossing the former Seahawks tailback checkdowns, while Logan Thomas ranked 35th among tight ends in yards per target. They were both more effective in fantasy football than the real thing. All of those players return to the fold, though, and Washington supplemented this group by bringing in Curtis Samuel, who produced 1,051 yards from scrimmage for Carolina a year ago. Samuel should be more efficient and explosive with his touches than either McKissic or Thomas were in 2020. The more Washington can concentrate the football into the hands of its three top weapons, the better it will be on offense. Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had no qualms about tossing the ball up to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in 2019.
Barnwell has Washington ranked behind the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. He did not discredit the WFT but highlighted inexperience as a reason they were ranked so low.
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This begins with Gibson. He is entering his second year in the league as the primary ball carrier for Washington. Gibson scored 11 touchdowns as a rookie in 14 games. He will have to prove that he can remain on the field for all 17 games and improve as a pass catcher out of the backfield. This is the role that J.D. McKissic excelled in last season. He finished with 80 catches in 2020 and while that number may go down, he will still be a factor and bring a certain dynamic to the offense.
McLaurin and Samuel will have a chance to make some noise as a receiving duo -- and they will have a reliable quarterback under center. This is not to say that Fitzpatrick is going to win MVP but when looking at the group from last season, he is a huge upgrade. As good as Alex Smith was down the stretch, he was clearly hobbled and struggled to get the ball down the field. This is something Fitzpatrick is not afraid to do and that will benefit the receiving corps as a whole.
Washington is still a team that is going to ride its defense but they should be solid offensively as well. They are not up there with the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs but they should not be ranked near the Philadelphia Eagles or Houston Texans either.
The WFT will have to prove itself this season as it is expected to compete for a second-straight NFC East title. The offense in Washington can be viewed as average and middle of the pack. While No. 24 is a low ranking, that could change right away if the WFT proves they can put some points on the board.