The Washington Football Team was one of the best feel-good stories of the 2020 NFL season. Head coach Ron Rivera beat cancer and journeyman QB Alex Smith came back from a life-threatening injury to lead Washington to a playoff berth.
What will 2021 have in store for the boys from DC? Smith retired at the end of the year but veteran QB Ryan “The Beard” Fitzpatrick will be calling the shots (Ourlads.com). The Washington defense could very well lead this team to another postseason appearance this season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick just doesn’t seem to age like the rest of us. The 38-year old Harvard alum tossed 13 touchdowns and only eight picks for the Miami Dolphins in 2020. Fitzpatrick should fit right into this offense from day one. Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen, and Steven Montez will compete for the backup QB position.
Antonio Gibson had a productive rookie season for Washington at running back last season. The former Memphis standout rushed for 795 yards and found the endzone 11 times in 2020. JD McKissic, Peyton Barber, and Lamar Miller will compete for the backup RB role in the preseason.
Washington doesn’t really have a superstar wideout on its roster, but they have some solid options. Third-year man Terry McLaurin is the best of the group and had over 1,000 yards receiving and four touchdowns in 2020. Cam Sims and Curtis Samuel are also adequate options for Fitzpatrick in the passing game. Dyami Brown, a third-round pick for North Carolina, should see quite a bit of playing time this season.
Washington should again have one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2021 after ranking fourth in points per game allowed last season (20.6). Chase Young is already a terrific pass rusher and should have an even better second season after getting 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 2020.
Former Alabama bash brothers Da’Ron Payne and Jonathan Allen are both great against the run and can pressure the QB as well. Jamin Davis, a huge linebacker from Kentucky, was a great pickup for Washington in the first round of the draft.
The Washington secondary is loaded with playmakers. Guys like Landon Collins and Kendall Fuller are ballhawks who love to pick off passes. Fuller had four interceptions in 2020.
2021 Special Teams
Dustin Hopkins returns for his seventh season as the Washington kicker. The former Florida State star made 27 of his 34 field goal attempts in 2020. His longest field goal was 51 yards last season.
Veteran punter Tress Way will be back in 2021. Way averaged 48 yards per punt last season after leading the league in punting in 2019. Way’s longest punt last season was 65 yards.
Isaiah Wright will be the main punt returner for Washington in 2021 after sporadic playing time in 2020. Starting running back Antonio Gibson will handle kick-off returns this season. Cornerback Danny Johnson will also help out on kick returns after gaining 573 kick return yards in 2020.