Updated: Sep 28
On the latest Beltway Sports Bros. Podcast, Noel and Matt go in-depth discussing the Washington Football Team Week 1 Depth Chart. Check it out below.
Washington Football Team Depth Chart: Week 1
At first glance, the Washington Football Team's 2020 Roster screams versatility. Generally, being versatile is a trait that most strive for. The ability to have an answer for even the most difficult situations. Mastering multiple tasks and doing them all equally as well.
Well, that's in most cases...
Unfortunately, this year Roster screams quite the opposite. As the old saying goes, "A jack of all trades is a master of none". Washington Head Coach, Ron Rivera has made it clear that he covets versatile players. Rivera has said this on multiple occasions throughout the offseason. Speaking in regards to Rookie RB, Antonio Gibson, "Antonio’s a very versatile young man, a solid football player. I told you guys the other day we’ve put a lot on his plate. We really have, and he’s handled it very well," said Rivera.
While Washington may be banking on Gibson's versatility, have they fully thought through his ability to handle a full load as an NFL starting Running Back? Keep in mind, at Memphis, Gibson rushed for 0 yards as a Junior, and 369 yards as a Senior, on 33 total attempts. 369 yards would be phenomenal if that was accomplished in one game, but that was his entire season. Washington released a sure thing in veteran RB, Adrian Peterson, due to his inability to adapt to today's NFL schemes, as well as, you guessed it, his lack of versatility.
Having a roster full of versatile players must be a coach's dream scenario. Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has become the greatest to ever do it based on this premise. Belichick even went as far as tapping one of his better Wideouts, Troy Brown, to play Cornerback due to injuries. Brown even ended up second on the team with 3 INT's in 2014.
Brown's situation was an extreme case. In no way, am I suggesting that Rivera will have players move from Defensive Tackle to Quarterback, however, their thought processes are similar, and maybe flawed. The major difference is, that Belichick allows his players to master their position prior to branching out. The majority of the players on this roster have not proven that they can handle one position, let alone multiple ones.
Offensively, the WFT roster is painfully thin. The decision to go even younger (now the 9th youngest team in the league) and releasing veterans that could mentor these first and second-year players, could rear its ugly head down the road.
In the same vein, with Peterson now gone, who are Gibson and RB Bryce Love supposed to follow to make themselves better? J.D. McKissic and Payton Barber? You're asking two veterans that have had mediocre careers, and that's putting it mildly, to mentor two players that you potentially want to build your franchise around?
Speaking of mediocre, Dontrell Inman? Really?
Is 2nd-year WR, Terry McLaurin expected to take Rookie WR, Antonio Gandy-Golden under his wing? One would assume, McLaurin should be concentrating on getting himself better, not anyone else. McLaurin should have the luxury of an accomplished veteran, who can help him reach elite status. Not be held back by having to worry about if Gandy-Golden tied his shoes tightly enough before practice.
Time on the field may be the best experience a young player can have, but who do these players go to? The coaching staff? Maybe, but we all know there's an obvious line of demarcation set between players and coaches.
Who shows these young players the proper way to work in the NFL? What proven methods have worked for the veterans that they can mimic? What about extra time study time, or how to get the most out of practice? What to eat outside of the facility or how to take care of their bodies through the rigors of a brutal 16-game season? What about finances...bad example for AP...but you get my point.
How many times have veterans said that it took them years to figure out what it takes to be great? Everyone in the NFL is a special talent with elite athletic ability. Young players, more often than not, think that the athleticism that carried them to where they are will keep them there. Trial and error and years of taking lumps, until you find out what works for you. Some figure it out, most young NFL players never get a chance to.
Walking through a foot of snow is much easier when you can walk in someone else's footsteps. Taking away valuable veterans and expecting young players to navigate the rough NFL waters on their own, will be difficult. Expecting versatility before they're comfortable in their own skin, could be disastrous.