Hype is not in short supply for the Washington Football Team heading into 2021. Since last season, it has improved the wide receiver core, nabbed a solid starting quarterback, added several free agency pieces at other key spots and should still have one of the best defensive units in the league.
Analysts have been giving WFT its roses ahead of the season to the point where one longtime NFL columnist / insider thinks they can make a significant leap this year coming off a 7-9 season and a playoff berth despite facing a far more difficult schedule.
“I think Washington’s an interesting team. When I look at that team on paper, when I look at the rest of that division, and I look at the NFC in its totality, I think there’s an opportunity there,” said Jason La Canfora, columnist / insider for CBS Sports, on a recent episode of the Tony Kornheiser Show podcast. “I do think they’re much improved. They took a step forward last year — can they follow that up with two steps forward this year? I don’t think that’s out of the question.”
La Canfora also dissuaded listeners from being worried about WFT’s preseason, especially that ugly showing in the finale vs. the Ravens, noting that none of the team’s actual starters had truly showed their stuff quite yet. With Ryan Fitzpatrick now at the helm, Washington could make a run at the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers as it did in a close postseason loss last January.
“Outside of Tampa, I just feel like in the NFC, once we get in that dance, I think it’s gonna be a little more wide open."
That would leave an opportunity for Washington to make a run.
There certainly is competition within Washington’s conference. Though the NFC East itself might not be as daunting, teams like the Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers and really the entire NFC West could prove to be stiff competition for the new and improved WFT.
Washington starts its regular season next Sunday against the L.A. Chargers. That’ll be the first look fans get at the team in its true form — and whether or not it has done enough to live up to these higher expectations.