If the Washington Football Team is to somehow miraculously salvage their season, they’ll first and foremost need better play from their offensive line going forward.
Heading into the 2020 season, the left side of the offensive line was a glaring weakness for the Washington Football Team. The coaching staff and front office made little improvement to the unit during the offseason.
Letting Ereck Flowers walk after a 2019 campaign that saw him revive his career was confounding. There was no reconciliation with Ron Rivera and Trent Willams, and we all know how that situation turned out. There was also no veteran free agent acquisition to replace Willams after his departure.
As a result, Washington quarterbacks are being sacked 10.66 percent of the time, which is dead last in the NFL. The 4.2 sacks allowed per game is 31st in the league, and the 22 total sacks allowed are the highest in the league.
Versus the Los Angeles Rams in a rain-soaked contest, Washington’s offensive line allowed a season-high eight sacks. NFC Defensive Player of the Week Aaron Donald tied his career-high with four sacks. Backup inside linebacker Troy Reeder had three sacks, and rookie defensive end Jachai Polite recorded the first sack of his career.
Being that Washington was without Brandon Scherff for the third straight game, allowing four sacks to the best defensive player in the NFL the past three seasons is somewhat acceptable. What’s not acceptable is 108 total yards of offense in a professional football contest. That’s what the Washington Football Team was able to do in 60 minutes of football last week.
Brandon Scherff returned to practice on Wednesday after sustaining a sprained MCL in Week 2, and is expected to assume his starting position against the Giants. Wes Schweitzer had been a pleasant surprise for Washington in Scherff’s absence. Schweitzer allowed zero sacks and no penalties. According to Pro Football Focus, he has a 70.7 overall grade. Schweitzer has a mean streak to him, and he’s shown that he’s worthy of more playing time going forward.
After a promising rookie campaign in 2019, Wes Martin has been dreadful so far this season. Pro Football Focus has rated Martin 72nd out of 75 eligible players at his position. His overall grade on the season is 43.6. Against the Rams, he had an overall pass blocking grade of 0.2 and allowed two sacks.
Insert LSU product Saahdiq Charles, who’ll be making his first NFL start at left guard. Ron Rivera had glowing reviews about Charles after practice and stated the move was made moreso out of ‘need’. This move could turn out to solidify the left side of the line. At 6-foo-4, 320 pounds, Charles has the size of a mauler, and he also has exceptional feet. Some scouts actually believed Charles was a better left tackle prospect out of college than current starter Geron Christian. Washington is hoping the extra reps at practice this week for Charles can be a boost to the line.
Speaking of Geron Christian, his play has been uninspiring at times, but he’s had his moments. In Week 2, he kept Chandler Jones in check. However, he struggled versus Aaron Donald and Myles Garrett, but those two players are arguably the best pure pass rushers in the game today. On the season, Christian has allowed five sacks. It appears as if the team is content with letting Christian mature at the position
Believe it or not, Washington has received solid play from several starters along the offensive line. Now fully healthy, right tackle Morgan Moses has returned to his consistent play. So far in 2020, Moses has only been penalized once and he’s allowed a sack. Chase Roullier was the highest-graded offensive lineman on Sunday with a 66.8 overall grade and a 79.4 pass block grade, allowing zero sacks. These guys haven’t been dominant, but they’re definitely not liabilities.
On paper, the starting unit on Sunday will be left tackle Geron Christian, left guard Saahdiq Charles, center Chase Roullier, right guard Brandon Scherff, and right tackle Morgan Moses. After last week’s performance, it’s imperative that the offensive line for Washington has a bounce-back game. With a murky quarterback situation and little weapons at the skill positions, the offensive line can no longer be a detriment. If Washington is to somehow pull off the upset versus the 0-5 New York Giants, better play from the offensive line has to be at a premium.