Let's make one thing abundantly clear right here, right now: This story doesn't exist to suggest that the Washington Football Team will be the NFL's next Super Bowl winner.
However, the 2020 Burgundy and Gold do share some pretty interesting traits with the 2019 Buccaneers — the group that preceded the group that just took out the Chiefs in SB LV — so, therefore, maybe they, too, are a quarterback upgrade away from taking a major leap forward in terms of contending.
Everyone got it? Can we all nod our heads? Everyone's nodding? Sweet.
So, where do the two squads intersect?
Well, to begin, Washington went 7-9 in 2020, which is the same record that Tampa Bay posted in 2019.
Weirdly enough, Washington and the Bucs were doormats in the first half of their campaigns, as they both began 2-6 through eight contests. Then they finished 5-3 in November and December.
Each bunch reached that 7-9 mark with a head coach in his first year with the respective organizations, too.
And in Jack Del Rio and Todd Bowles, both of those head coaches featured highly-successful defensive coordinators on their staffs.
Speaking of the defenses, the two teams relied on a dangerous pass rush to lead that side of the ball. In fact — hope you're sitting down for this one — those two units both compiled exactly 47 sacks.
However, overall, neither was able to get above the .500 threshold due to subpar quarterback play; Washington cycled through four different options under center while the Buccaneers watched Jameis Winston hand out interceptions like a new restaurant hands out coupons for a free appetizer.
And, lastly, Peyton Barber was a part of both rosters! All right, that one's a reach; strike it from the argument.
Now, OBVIOUSLY, the biggest change for Tampa Bay between 2019 and 2020 was the addition of Tom Brady. Tom ain't about to pack his bags for the NFC East, so that's where the overlapping ends for Ron Rivera's franchise.
That said, all of these intersections further emphasize that Washington should look to invest prime resources when it comes to their own quarterback situation.
That can mean throwing in an extra first-rounder compared to the rest of the bidders or offering up Montez Sweat in a deal for Deshaun Watson. That can mean being aggressive with Vegas in order to land Derek Carr. Or that can mean moving up in the draft this April to scoop up a prospect that the staff really believes in.
Regardless of how they do it, Washington needs to be serious about doing it.
Again, acquiring someone like, say, Carr won't reserve a spot in February of 2022 for many reasons, most notably:
- Carr and every other player short of Watson won't be able to come close to Brady's impact, and even the young and dynamic Watson can't match the NFL's best-ever QB.
- When Brady went to Florida, he was able to convince Rob Gronkowski to join him, and eventually corralled Leonard Fournette and Antonio Brown as well. That trio each made significant differences on their own.
- Washington finished first in its division at 7-9, meaning they're slated for a first-place schedule next year. That's something the Bucs didn't have to deal with in their run.
But — by changing quarterback from a position of weakness into a position of strength, Tampa was able to watch as a roster that had talent elsewhere turned into a more well-rounded operation and grew into a major threat.
That same principle could absolutely apply to Washington in its second season under Rivera.
Yes, there's a cut-off point in this discussion; is it worth the team shipping out draft picks or money to get someone such as Sam Darnold or Jimmy Garoppolo? That's what Rivera and his front office will have to debate.
In the end, though, if they feel like they can nab a starter who'll give them much more than their 2020 collection of arms did, Washington should act. Doing so is the simplest way to ensure that things keep moving forward under Rivera, which is what everybody wants.