Football Team

One number to know heading into Washington's Week 1 opener

Football Team

Before every Washington Football Team game this year, Pete Hailey will identify one key number that you must know regarding that contest.

Here is his number for the Week 1 tilt with the Eagles.

154

Ahead of their 2019 opener in Philadelphia, Washington's defense spent all week talking about how they needed to be aware of where No. 10 in green was at all times.

Then No. 10 in green proceeded to haul in eight passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

That's what makes DeSean Jackson so special. His opponents know how dangerous he is, they know how essential it is to limit his deep connections — and yet they simply can't on certain afternoons.

In that matchup last season, Washington was the underdog, but they jumped out to a sizable 17-0 lead and looked primed for an enormous upset. That's when Jackson went off.

He and Carson Wentz linked up for a 51-yard score to get the hosts on the board in the first half, and in the third quarter, they paired up once more for a 53-yard TD to give Philly their first advantage. The Burgundy and Gold was unable to recover after that second strike, and they failed miserably in their attempt to keep D-Jax quiet.

One year later, the goal will the same: Limit Jackson. But the results better be different.

While Washington is again expected to lose to their rival, they absolutely should compete and do have a path to a win. All it takes, though, is one coverage mistake and one Jackson end zone dance to completely block up that path.

 

Fortunately, new coordinator Jack Del Rio is introducing a new scheme, one that's heavy on letting his players have clear heads so they can react quicker. That means the secondary of Landon Collins, Kendall Fuller (who's doubtful for the meeting), Ronald Darby, Jimmy Moreland and Troy Apke should feel more comfortable and also shouldn't have any trouble getting the calls in, which was an ugly hallmark under Greg Manusky.

Even at 33 years old, Jackson is still as fast as ever. He'll be coming into Sunday healthy, too, and will be facing a team he once played for, something he relishes.

Come four o'clock or so, if his yardage totals match or come close to matching the number at the top of this story, then the Ron Rivera era will likely start off 0-1. If the defense does their part, though, and minimizes Jackson's impact, then the surprise victory that should've occurred last September may actually occur this weekend.