Football Team

Report card: Grading Washington's offense in first half of 2020

Football Team

With Washington on a bye and basically halfway through their 2020 schedule, now's an ideal time to look back and review what the team has done so far.

Here, Pete Hailey assesses the offense, going position by position, handing out grades and analyzing each group.

Quarterback: C-

Dwayne Haskins started off the year so well, playing efficiently in the season-opening win over Philly and delivering an apparently very inspirational halftime speech. Turns out, that would be by far his high point of the campaign.

After that effort, Haskins essentially cost the Burgundy and Gold a win in Cleveland by posting four turnovers, and one week later, he was benched. There's been plenty of talk and reporting about his lack of maturity since.

Kyle Allen has been better than Haskins in his time as starter, but not by a ton. Like Haskins, his turnovers were a major factor in a loss. However, his most recent outing against the Cowboys was exactly what he needs to aim for: Tidy and effective. 

For his work, Haskins gets a D, and that might even be too generous. Allen checks in at a C, meanwhile. So, together, they receive a C-.

Running back: B-

This group, led by Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic along with some sprinkles of Peyton Barber, hasn't been outstanding. However, they have been improving, due in part to Scott Turner turning them loose more and more by the game.

Gibson has spoken often about having to learn the intricacies of running back and his progress has been quite encouraging. Yes, there are times where his naïveté is still evident, but he has looked the part in many other instances and has already scored four times. He's up to 4.4 yards-per-carry and has also added 19 grabs.

 

As for McKissic, he's really come on as a useful dual threat. His 25 receptions are good for second on offense and he's also averaging 4.7 yards-per-attempt on the ground. He's on track for his career-best season. 

Lastly, Barber helps in short-yardage scenarios, and that's about it.

A B- feels appropriate for now, but come Week 17, there's a chance this grade is higher.

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Wide receiver: C

Terry McLaurin is holding up this grade all by himself.

Before getting to the rest of the mediocre bunch, let's focus on McLaurin. Somehow, despite not having another legit threat across from him, having to get in sync with two separate QBs and now being the main concern for opponents, he's on track to far outdo his impressive rookie year. McLaurin is just a beast.

Now, beyond him, there hasn't been a lot to brag about. Dontrelle Inman is fifth on the squad in receiving, behind McLaurin, McKissic, Logan Thomas and Gibson. Antonio Gandy-Golden has one catch and is currently on IR. Steven Sims is on IR, too. Cam Sims and Isaiah Wright have had their moments but aren't consistently impactful at all.

McLaurin has been an A. Everyone else, on the other hand, um, haven't. Therefore, as a whole, the receivers have earned a C.

Tight end: C-

Coming into 2020, tight end looked like the weakest place on the roster. Thomas has done what he can — and more than most expected — to help make things function there, but much like McLaurin, there's no one behind him contributing to the cause.

First, though, Thomas deserves some praise. Ron Rivera and the staff were really excited about his potential, and he's largely justified that excitement. He may never turn into a top-of-the-line tight end, but he can definitely be a reliable piece on an offense. He's already surpassed his career high for receptions in a single season and he's also leading Washington in touchdown snags with three.

The rest of the tight ends, unfortunately, have combined for three catches. Thomas has 21 by himself. That's probably how it's going to be the rest of the way, too.

Offensive line: C-

The blockers up front have surrendered 26 sacks in seven contests, which places them 30th in the league. They also haven't excelled when it comes to opening up running lanes. So, yeah, the O-line hasn't been great.

Brandon Scherff's IR stint certainly harmed the operation. Washington's other guard, Wes Martin, was replaced by Saahdiq Charles in order to get better production, but Charles got hurt two snaps into his debut. That explains the interior troubles. As for the tackles, Morgan Moses has cut down on his penalties, while Geron Christian has been relatively serviceable.

 

Is a C- too kind? Perhaps. Maybe a D+ would be more accurate. But with the "class" going on "vacation," a little friendly grading won't hurt anybody.