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June 25, 2019

10 reasons the Washington team will be a dumpster fire this season

Eagles NFL
062519DanielSnyder Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports

Lol

This week, all week long, we're taking a brutal look at each of the teams in the NFC East, in detail. On Monday we started the series off with the Cowboys. Today, we'll roast the Washington team.

To note, we will not be talking about the positives of any of the Eagles' NFC East rivals, because, well, that's no fun. This will be 100 percent vitriolic. And yes, we'll try to torch the Eagles as well at the end of the series.

1) Washington's quarterbacks have already clinched badness in 2019

In 2018, Washington started four different quarterbacks. They were Alex Smith, Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Johnson. 

That's nothing new. Since Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999, 19 different quarterbacks have started for Washington. They are Brad Johnson, Jeff George, Tony Banks, Shane Matthews, Patrick Ramsey, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck, Robert Griffin III, Colt McCoy, 'Kurt' Cousins, Alex Smith, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Johnson. (Throw-up emoji).

For 10 seconds of fun, play/pause the following gif to see which Washington QB of the last 2 decades you would trust to put a TD on the board to prevent a shutout with a 40-0 deficit.

In 2019, unless McCoy starts all 16 games, first-round pick Dwayne Haskins or free agent acquisition Case Keenum will start at least one game this season, making it a nice round number of QB No. 20. My guess would be that both of them will get a start at some point, if I know this team like I think I do.

All three of those quarterbacks are screwed.

Why? Well, McCoy and Keenum are career backups, or at least they should be, while Haskins is, you know, a rookie, and one with only one college season as his team's starter. In fact, as the following tweet from Jordan Reid shows, Haskins will join Mark Sanchez, Cam Newton, and Mitchell Trubisky as the only quarterbacks drafted in the first round with 15 or fewer collegiate starts:

Sanchez, Trubisky, and Newton combined for 40 TDs and 44 INTs as rookies, and their teams went 18-25 in games they started. 

  1. Sanchez threw 12 TDs vs. 20 INTs, but somehow the Jets defense was good enough to overcome that and win 8 games in Sanchez starts.
  2. Trubisky threw 7 TDs vs. 7 INTs, and the Bears went 4-8 in his starts.
  3. Newton had the best TD-INT ratio at 21-17, starting all 16 games. The Panthers went 6-10, and Newton actually won Rookie of the Year honors, largely on his 14 rushing TDs. Haskins does not have that running element in his game.
So, while Haskins may eventually develop into a good quarterback in the NFL (we'll see), it's not happening this season, with Washington fielding perhaps the worst wide receiving corps in the league (we'll get to that in a minute), and an offensive line with some serious concerns.

The NFC East "clinched a bad quarterback in 2019" standings:

NFC East 
 x - Washington
x - Giants 
 Cowboys
 Eagles


The realistic best case scenario that Washington fans have to hope for in 2019 is that Haskins' will to live isn't crushed, and that he makes positive strides toward becoming a good quarterback in 2020, when the team can maybe find a way to surround him with better players*?


MORE: 10 reasons the Cowboys will be a dumpster fire this season


2) Their best player doesn't want to play there anymore

Washington's best player is Trent Williams, the star LT who has been to seven consecutive Pro Bowls. And he's pissed because he apparently feels that the team took too long to diagnose a growth on his head.

062419TrentWilliams

The growth was removed and Williams is reportedly fine after his scare. Still, he did not attend OTAs or mandatory minicamp, he reportedly wants to be traded, and it'll probably take a (deserved) significant bump in pay for him to show up to training camp.

Williams last signed a contract in 2015, when he got $66 million over a five-year extension that runs through 2020. His cap number in 2019 is $14,729,008. In 2020, it'll be $14,655,880. The actual money Williams will earn is $11,000,000 in salary in 2019, and $12,500,000 in 2020, with game day roster bonuses totaling up to $250,000 each season. 

In terms of average per year, Williams is the ninth-highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. When healthy, he's a lot better than almost everyone ahead of him on that list. More importantly to Washington, they are absolutely screwed without him, as Ereck Flowers was reportedly getting first-team reps at LT in Williams' absence. It's bad enough that Flowers is even being projected to start at guard. Ask any Giants fan what happens to an offense with Flowers at tackle. Williams has extreme leverage.

Washington is likely going to have to give Williams a "Sorry we didn't diagnose that thing on your head" extension, which should be difficult for them, seeing as there are currently only eight teams with less salary cap space.

3) They have nothing at receiver

Washington's top three receivers are, um, Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, and Trey Quinn? Yes? No? Well, whatever. Those guys have been in the league for a combined eight seasons, with 90 combined games played and 51 combined starts. To note, 77 (SEVENTY-SEVEN!!!) still-active players in the NFL in 2018 have/had more career receiving yards than the three of them combined. 

Should I list all 77, and make everyone scroll down this long-ass list? Yeah, let's go ahead and do that:

  1. Larry Fitzgerald
  2. Brandon Marshall
  3. Antonio Gates
  4. Antonio Brown
  5. Julio Jones
  6. DeSean Jackson
  7. Demaryius Thomas
  8. A.J. Green
  9. Jordy Nelson
  10. T.Y. Hilton
  11. Mike Wallace
  12. Rob Gronkowski
  13. Pierre Garcon
  14. Greg Olsen
  15. Michael Crabtree
  16. Vernon Davis
  17. DeAndre Hopkins
  18. Jimmy Graham
  19. Golden Tate
  20. Emmanuel Sanders
  21. Doug Baldwin
  22. Alshon Jeffery
  23. Mike Evans
  24. Ben Watson
  25. Eric Decker
  26. Delanie Walker
  27. Randall Cobb
  28. Odell Beckham
  29. Jared Cook
  30. Brandon LaFell
  31. Julian Edelman
  32. Ted Ginn
  33. Travis Kelce
  34. Keenan Allen
  35. Brandin Cooks
  36. Torrey Smith
  37. Kenny Britt
  38. Jarvis Landry
  39. Zach Ertz
  40. Darren Sproles
  41. Danny Amendola
  42. Marcedes Lewis
  43. Robert Woods
  44. Marvin Jones
  45. Davante Adams
  46. Kenny Stills
  47. Mohamed Sanu
  48. Michael Floyd
  49. Amari Cooper
  50. Adam Thielen
  51. Kendall Wright
  52. Josh Gordon
  53. Frank Gore
  54. Kyle Rudolph
  55. Michael Thomas
  56. Jermaine Gresham
  57. Charles Clay
  58. LeSean McCoy
  59. Allen Robinson
  60. Sammy Watkins
  61. Stefon Diggs
  62. Terrance Williams
  63. Jordan Reed
  64. Jermaine Kearse
  65. Cole Beasley
  66. Tyreek Hill
  67. Jordan Matthews
  68. John Brown
  69. Rishard Matthews
  70. Jeremy Kerley
  71. Travis Benjamin
  72. Kelvin Benjamin
  73. Andre Roberts
  74. Allen Hurns
  75. Darrius Heyward-Bey
  76. Eric Ebron
  77. Tyler Lockett

Anyway, Doctson has been a bust three years into his career, Richardson can't stay healthy, and while Trey Quinn showed a hint of promise as a rookie last season, he's a clear downgrade in the slot from Jamison Crowder, who left in free agency this offseason.

4) The only decent, sort of proven receiving game threat can't stay healthy

That would be TE Jordan Reed. Let's recap his injury history, via SportsInjuryPredictor.com:

Date Team Injury Details
27-Nov-10 Florida (CFB) Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1 Reed suffered a concussion in Florida's final regular-season game. He returned for the bowl game a little more than a month later.
10-Sep-11 Florida (CFB) Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1 Reed missed two games at UF because of a hamstring injury.
15-Oct-11 Florida (CFB) Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1 Reed suffered a concussion at some point during the 2011 college season. He didn't appear to lose any games to it, missing time that season with ankle and hamstring injuries.
19-Nov-11 Florida (CFB) Pedal Ankle Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1 Reed missed the final 2 games of the 2011 college season with an unspecified ankle injury.
22-Sep-12 Florida (CFB) Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1 Reed suffered a concussion but didn't miss any time, perhaps thanks to a bye week in between.
22-Sep-13 Washington Leg Thigh Bruise Reed suffered a quad contusion and was sidelined for the following week.
17-Nov-13 Washington Head Cranial Concussion Grade 3 Reed suffered a concussion in Week 11. He neared a return several times but experienced recurring symptoms. Reed ultimately landed on IR.
23-Aug-14 Washington Hand Thumb Sprain Reed suffered a sprained thumb in the preseason game against the Ravens but missed no game time because of it.
7-Sep-14 Washington Thigh Hamstring Strain Grade 2 During the 1st quarter against the Texans, Reed pulled his left hamstring and was sidelined for the next 4 games.
16-Nov-14 Washington Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1 Reed strained his right hamstring in Week 11 and missed the following game.
28-May-15 Washington Knee Strain Grade 1 Reed had a surgical "procedure" in May for his knee after straining his knee during the offseason.
11-Aug-15 Washington Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1 Reed strained a hamstring 2 days before the 1st preseason game. He sat out that contest and 1 more before returning in preseason Week 3.
17-Sep-15 Washington Leg Quad Strain Reed "tweaked" a quad in Thursday's practice but was ready for Sunday's game.
4-Oct-15 Washington Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1 After taking a big hit in his Week 4 matchup, Reed suffered a concussion along with a couple other injuries (MCL and ankle sprain). He was forced to miss the next 2 weeks of action.
22-Nov-15 Washington Knee MCL Sprain Grade 2 Reed sustained a left MCL sprain but continued to play through the injury.
9-Oct-16 Washington Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1 Reed suffered a concussion in Week 5 and missed the following 2 games. He initially tried to hide his symptoms but entered the protocol during the week following the injury game.
24-Nov-16 Washington Shoulder A/C Joint Separation Reed sustained a Grade 3 separation of the A/C joint in his left shoulder. He finished the game but missed the following week plus Week 16 (after returning for 2 games in between).
26-Jul-17 Washington Pedal Toe Fracture Reed said a toe injury had bothered him since the 2016 season but "flared up" after a stem-cell treatment following OTAs. It was eventually deemed a fracture and led to other compensatory foot issues.
17-Sep-17 Washington Chest Pectoral Bruise Reed suffered a chest contusion and missed a game because of it. He returned to limited practice and then full game action.
29-Oct-17 Washington Thigh Hamstring Tear Grade 3 Reed injured his left hamstring and it sidelined him for several games. He was eventually put on the IR ending his season.
15-Feb-18 Washington Pedal Toe Fracture Reed underwent toe surgery during the 2018 offseason, presumably on the fracture toe that hampered him during 2017 training camp.
9-Dec-18 Washington Pedal Toe Sprain Reed strained a muscle in his right big toe in the 1st quarter against the Giants and missed the final 3 games.

Good Lord.

062419JordanReed

MORE: Eagles rookie NFL player comparisons: The full series


5) And yet, despite all the above offensive badness, it's the highest-paid offense in the NFL in 2019! Lol

Warren Sharp made the observation that Washington has the highest offensive payroll in the NFL in 2019.

Wait, that can't be, can it? Oh, it be. According to OverTheCap.com, Washington has a hair under $109 million dedicated to their cap in 2019 on the offensive side of the ball, just ahead of the Colts, Buccaneers, and Packers. Why? Well, they have a boatload of awful contracts: 

Alex Smith: Bruce Allen traded for Smith, giving up a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller in the process, thus ending the Cousins era. Smith, by all accounts is a good guy and respected teammate, and while I wholeheartedly endorse the decision to let the Vikings wildly overpay for Cousins instead, Smith's four-year, $94 million extension wasn't the answer either on a team that was nowhere near Super Bowl contention. They were certainly a hell of a lot more than a middle-of-the-road quarterback away from being a serious contender, anyway.

Who knew a then-34-year-old mobile quarterback with below-average arm strength wouldn't age well? Of course, Smith suffered a horrific injury in 2018 that may very well end his career, but he wasn't exactly good last season before that occurred. Take this for what it's worth, but Smith was 27th in the NFL in QB rating and 26th in QBR last season. Yes, yes, the team went 6-4 in his starts, and congratulations to Smith for his wins over the Cardinals, Packers, Panthers, the not-yet-hot Cowboys, Giants, and Buccaneers, a group of teams with a combined record of 36-59-1, against whom Smith's offense averaged 22 points per game.

Anyway, whatever. Even without the benefit of hindsight, that was a dumb trade and subsequent contract extension, and Washington is now stuck with a $20,400,000 cap number for Smith in 2019.

Paul Richardson: When Washington lost DeSean Jackson's ability to stretch opposing defenses, their offense took a hit, and their pursuit of a suitable replacement was understandable. However, they massively overpaid for the speedy Richardson during the 2018 offseason, when they handed him a five-year contract worth $40 million. 

In four seasons in Seattle, Richardson had 93 catches for 1,302 yards and 8 TDs. He had his best season in 2017, when he had a mere 44 catches for 703 yards and 6 TDs. 

In seven games last year, Richardson had 20 catches for 262 yards and 2 TDs, before being lost for the season with a shoulder injury. He counts for $7,218,750 on the 2019 cap.

Jordan Reed: Reed got paid after his one good season in 2015, and I certainly can't blame Washington for rewarding a player they thought would be a top-five type of tight end for years. But, uh, 2015 was a long time ago, and Washington could have saved $6,074,125 if they cut or traded him this offseason. Instead, he'll count on Washington's cap for $9,674,125, the third-highest number for a tight end in the NFL. 

Why they haven't moved on is beyond me. Even when he has been able to play the last two seasons, he's averaging barely over 40 yards per game, and has 4 TDs in 19 games.

I mean, I guess it might be a little heartless for the team to cut a guy who has suffered six concussions, but that's small potatoes in comparison to their continued daily shaming of Native Americans.

Vernon Davis: Davis is now 35 years old, he had a stat line of 25-367-2 in 14 games (8 starts) 2018, and he'll count for $6,302,084 in 2019, roughly $5 million of which Washington could have saved if they cut him. Lol.

6) This feels like an opportune time to mention that Bruce Allen is somehow still making decisions for this team

As we noted last year, Allen was hired to be Washington's GM at the tail end of the 2009 season, and he has been the head personnel decision maker ever since, save for the short tenure of Scot McCloughan, who Allen helped oust after two season (2015-2016) with the team. In Allen's nine full seasons with the team, Washington's record is 59-84-1. After a 7-9 season in 2018, Washington's winning percentage under Allen improved to 0.413.

Beyond the bad record, Allen has a bad reputation among former colleagues, agents, and other personnel people around the league. He also didn't even know the name of his own starting quarterback.

There are a lot of general managers who shouldn't still be making high level decisions for their respective billion dollar businesses, and Allen is at the top of that list.


MORE: DeSean Jackson to Cowboys fanboy Skip Bayless: 'I'll shut yo a** up'


7) The linebackers aren't good

After his third arrest in a calendar year, the San Francisco 49ers waived linebacker Reuben Foster during the 2018 season. Fewer than three days after the third arrest, which was on domestic violence charges (his second of those in a year), the Washington team claimed him off of waivers. They were roundly (and rightly) criticized for it. 

Foster did not play the rest of 2018, but he figured to be a big part of Washington's plans on defense in 2019, as he was slated to start at inside linebacker, replacing Zach Brown, who is now with the Eagles.

In May, he reportedly tore his ACL.


Washington is now left with Mason Foster and Jon Bostic starting at linebacker. Bleh. 

8) We need to mention Ereck Flowers again

I mean, we mentioned above that Flowers was filling in for Trent Williams at LT while he was away. If he has to play there during the regular season... season over. Well, season over by Week 5, as opposed to, say, Week 8. But even if he's starting at LG, again, that's not going to be pretty either.

If you have a few minutes, type "Ereck Flowers" into the search bar on Twitter, click "videos," and be amazed at the volume of pass-blocking awfulness. My favorite video was this:

9) Who's starting at safety opposite Landon Collins?

It'll probably be Montae Nicholson, who was so bad last season that Washington traded a fourth-round pick for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to replace him for the final nine games. They already know how that's going play out, but let's run it back!

10) And as always, let me check to see if Daniel Snyder is still the owner.

Yep, he is.

And guess what! This year is special, because May 25 marked the 20th anniversary of Snyder buying the team. I won't go through a timeline of Snyder's awful reign -- Washington City Paper did a fine job of that.

I'll just end this by noting that fans of the three other NFC East teams celebrate him:

062419DanSnyder

Here's to another 20 years.


MORE: Former Eagles QB Rodney Peete accused of stealing $350,000 from former NFL Pro Bowl cornerback


*Lol

Email Jimmy: jimmy@phillyvoice.com.

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