After an impressive and encouraging 2020 season saw the Washington Football Team win a division title, the pressure increased to continue that improvement in 2021.
While the incremental progress that comes with good coaching and steady leadership under Ron Rivera will continue, Washington also seems positioned to make a big jump by making a few major moves.
What are they?
Everybody knows the Football Team needs to address quarterback, so let's look past the signal-caller to the rest of the team.
Remember, these aren't regular predictions. Any person that seriously follows the Burgundy and Gold knows that receiver and linebacker are priorities.
These are bold predictions -- big swings and calling shots. Specifically. Let's get bold:
1. More firepower on offense - Terry McLaurin is a stud and will remain a fixture in Washington, but know what would help him and the whole offense improve? Another stud receiver. In Allen Robinson's last two seasons with the Bears, he's averaged about 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns. That production could make a dramatic change for Scott Turner's play-calling and help whatever QB lands in Washington. Starting four QBs in 2020 and still winning seven games is remarkable, but consider this: Washington averaged 9.8 yards-per-completion last season. That's tied for the second-worst average in the NFL. Signing Robinson would help that immediately. This would be a major announcement that Washington intends to seriously compete, and with a price tag of $19 million or more per season, the offense could improve fast even without the perfect fix at QB. Washington tried to land the best free agent WR in 2020 and could not get a deal done. The coaches like Robinson, but that's obvious. Maybe this year a deal gets done.
2. Sign Lavonte David and draft Jabril Cox - David is a veteran linebacker that will immediately help the middle level of the Washington defense, and Cox is the long-term answer in the same spot. David is coming off a monster year and a Super Bowl win in Tampa, but his veteran presence and durability will be a huge help in D.C. In nine NFL seasons, David has missed seven games. Nine seasons, seven games missed. And in eight of his nine years, David has logged at least 100 tackles. He's a leader and a highly capable player that will transform Jack Del Rio's linebacker group. The other side of the coin is Cox, a rookie who last year played at LSU. A transfer from North Dakota State, Cox had a terrific week during the Senior Bowl and probably worked his way into a Day 2 draft pick. Athletic, big and with speed, Cox would be a strong fit for a 4-3 system and could get pushed further down draft boards because of the strength of the LB position in this year's rookie class. Washington has two third-round picks (74,83) and could use those to take Cox or get where they need to be to make the selection. Getting one of these guys would be great, but that's not bold. Getting both is.
3. Watch what happens in Philly - Washington needs to wait and see what the Eagles' plan is for Zach Ertz. Should Philadelphia release the veteran tight end, he'd make sense in D.C. Remember last season when Ron Rivera tried to bring Greg Olsen to Washington? Olsen was past his prime but looking to join a winner. This offseason, a similar scenario could unfold with Ertz. It seems highly likely his time in Philadelphia is done, and though his 2020 season was disappointing, Ertz is just two years removed from an 88-catch, 900-yard campaign. This is not a move to slow down Logan Thomas, rather, it's a move to speed him up. When Washington rolls out its two tight end set, Ertz across from Thomas would be a major advantage for the Washington offense. Thomas remains the primary tight end, but Ertz, a three-time Pro Bowler with a Super Bowl ring, is only 30 and he strongly believes he has plenty of football left. What better way to prove it than facing the Eagles twice a year.
Bonus bold prediction - Washington really liked and appreciated Peyton Barber in 2020, but the team will look to improve its short-yardage back in 2021.
Bonus bonus bold prediction - With Virginia slated to elect a new Governor in 2021, expect to hear a lot about a new stadium for the Washington Football Team in the Commonwealth. A LOT.