Football Team

One number to know for Washington's meeting with Cardinals

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 2 tilt with the Cardinals.

37.66

Washington's offense generated three touchdowns against the Eagles, which was an encouraging sign for a mostly young collection of players. However, all three of those scores came on short fields, which is what the number above refers to.

Dwayne Haskins' connection with Logan Thomas capped off a 45-yard possession, and Peyton Barber's breakthroughs finished off 20- and 48-yard trips. That means their average TD drive spanned just 37.66 yards.

There will be days like the opener where Jack Del Rio's defense is just destroying the opponent and Haskins' unit won't have to travel far for its six-pointers. Hell, there may be a lot of days where that's true.

However, the offense can't always count on the defense to pick off passes and rack up eight sacks. Yes, the latter will be leaned on more than the former in Washington victories this year — on Thursday, Ron Rivera even said it may take until 2021 for he and Scott Turner's system to fully mesh — but the former has got to find a way to advance the ball when it gets pinned deep in its own territory.

That doesn't fall on just one guy, either. The entire group has to be sharper.

Haskins needs to be more accurate, especially in the beginning of games. Starting out 3-for-12 versus Philly really sapped the early momentum.

 

The five players in front of the quarterback, especially on his left side, must improve as well. Giving Haskins some more time so he can look farther downfield would be huge, as would opening up more holes for Antonio Gibson and Barber.

The pass catchers will also obviously have a role in any success. Can someone other than Terry McLaurin be dynamic, dependable, or both? That's a void that someone like Steven Sims or Logan Thomas or Gibson or JD McKissic, or a combination of that bunch, is going to have to fill. 

The formula that Washington used in its first win of 2020 can no doubt be replicated. The defense has the ability to rattle signal callers and also get the ball back to Haskins and Co., who demonstrated they can take advantage of those quick turnarounds. 

Yet, if the team's season is going to continue to ascend, that 37.66 average has to ascend with it. So, while it'll be easy to pay attention to how Washington finishes its possessions that conclude in the end zone, also take note of where those efforts commence.