By Mark F. Gray
Special to the AFRO
Let’s not put all of last Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos on the shoulders of quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who is the bearer of all things wrong with the Washington Football Team.
It also can’t be blamed on the defense either. There were mistakes and breakdowns, but they did enough to beat a bad team.
Instead, lay the entire loss of the bad week the front office had and another failed attempt to address the pathetic special teams performance that Head Coach Ron Rivera brought in to replace Dustin Hopkins.
Oftentimes in life people ask “what’s in a name,” or “how you fared,” with an opportunity. When it works out, great! However, in this case, for the Washington Football Team, they blew it again.
The replacement kicker, Chase Blewitt, did just that by missing two field goals and costing the team a chance to reboot their season and was the major culprit in a 17-10 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Only in D.C. can things demonstratively worse when trying to make change for the better.
Washington masked their deficiencies well enough to be in position to win the game versus a team that continues to have as many problems as they do. However, the Football Team’s resilience and focus had nothing to do with this loss. They played through the noise of skeletons in the closet from eras gone by and injuries that have once again decimated the offensive line. Changes in the defense, which allowed underachieving safety Landon Collins to become a major factor as linebacker to debut with decent success.
Sunday also proved how much Henicke’s teammates actually believe in him as their field general. Despite his physical limitations, he has the confidence of the team in the huddle and under center. This team will ride or die for Heinicke in a way they never would for more talented quarterbacks who previously were under center wearing burgundy and gold.
If Bob Griffin or Kirk Cousins had the belief of their teammates the way Heincke does, playoff seasons would be the norm rather than a guest appearance as they have become on the south end of the parkway. He finished 24/39 for 270 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. However, he really wasn’t put in positions to succeed by questionable sideline management and questionable play calling by offensive coordinator Scott Turner.
Turner’s inefficiency was on blast after the two-minute warning in the second half. He called a swing pass to Terry McLaurin on third down and seven from the eight yard line, which only gained one yard. On the next play Heinicke was sacked and Denver recovered, which effectively turned the lights out on this game.
Heincke has a big heart, but physical limitations that have to be factored into game plan and his play calling. But like everything with “Riverboat Ron,” it seems to be all about his staff and trusting the process rather than trying to win games that are there to be won.
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