Before every one of Washington's matchups for the 2021 season, Pete Hailey will present one number to know for that particular battle.
Here's what's on his mind, and what should be on your mind, for when the squad heads to Denver in Week 8.
Sorry if you've heard a line like this before, but: Washington is facing a quarterback this weekend that it should be able to take advantage of.
Now, was a similar statement made before Daniel Jones and Jameis Winston visited FedEx Field and ahead of the team's trip to see Matt Ryan in Atlanta? Yes. And did those statements seem foolish in hindsight? Mega yes.
However, after having to deal with Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers over the past two contests, Teddy Bridgewater sure seems a lot more manageable for Washington to try and limit. Perhaps more than you realize, too.
Bridgewater's 2021 as a whole has been, like much of his career, fine. That said, his year can also be divided into two chapters: a hot start and a hot mess.
In his first three appearances for the Broncos, Bridgewater posted passer ratings of 115.7, 125.6 and 104.6 against the Giants, Jaguars and Jets. Denver went 3-0 versus that slate of foes.
Since then, he's fallen off of a... bridge. In his last four starts, the veteran has notched ratings of 76.3, 92.9, 84.9 and 91.4. Not coincidentally, the Broncos dropped all four of those games.
So, to begin the year, Bridgewater averaged a passer rating of 115.3 across his three victories. In the stretch of four losses, meanwhile, his average rating was 86.4. The difference between those two numbers is 28.9, and that's a big difference.
To illustrate that gap, consider this: Dak Prescott is third in the NFL right now with a passer rating of 115, while — weirdly enough — Taylor Heinicke is 24th in the sport at 86.8.
Of course, Washington is perhaps the most quarterback-friendly defense in the league these days, so it's quite possible that Bridgewater performs more like Prescott than Heinicke when he sees Jack Del Rio's bunch. For a unit that has maintained all week that it is finally beginning to get it, though, maybe there should be an expectation that they bother Bridgewater all Sunday long.
In all honesty, it comes down to this: Teddy Bridgewater is a principle character standing between Washington and a back half of a schedule that could still matter or be completely irrelevant. Is Ron Rivera's club really going to let Bridgewater be the one to send them into a full-on spiral?