The defense’s inability to halt the run on Sunday showed wider concern. Because if there had been an urgent attack that Washington should have limited without major problems, this would be it. Two days before the game, trainer Ron Rivera said the Giants’ ground game was having “problems” and that quarterback Daniel Jones was the greatest threat. Then the Giants, led by Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris, who fell back on the third and fourth strings, stormed to a season high of 166 meters.
The problem, Rivera said, was “void integrity.” Defensive linemen and linebackers who adjusted to the run either came late or were thrown out of them. This was often evident on Sunday, including a two-yard walkable touchdown for Gallman.
This indicates a bigger problem. Defensive players have spoken many times this season about the difficulty of transitioning from the 3-4 scheme with two holes under former coordinator Greg Manusky to the 4-3 attack scheme of current coordinator Jack Del Rio. With this system, players have to defend the run en route to quarterback and the unit’s inability to synchronize has been demonstrated. Washington is worse against the run than against the pass according to traditional stats and advanced metrics, and its 128.1 yards per game allowed on the floor ranks 10th worst in the league.
“That defense has been very, very successful over the years,” said Rivera. “What it really takes is for the guys to buy in and understand how to play defense. You come into your crease and hold your crease. “
Rivera also said the coaches need improvement. He pointed out the in-game adjustments “that weren’t as good as we would have liked and that’s a bit of a problem.” Linebacker Jon Bostic acknowledged the disappointment because Washington had seen this type of run before.
“Some of it was just guys trying to do a little too much,” he said. “You have to get into your loophole and do your job. That really matters. “
Ron Rivera admitted the obvious on Monday: Washington doesn’t know its future quarterback. What options does the team have? The pressure on the team to identify one is immense as there should be a plan in place at the most important position in the sport by the second year of rebuilding.
Option one is Dwayne Haskins. Rivera said he still believes Haskins has the talent to be the long-term solution, but he urged the 23-year-old to prove as a fresh backup that he learned from a bank and will work harder at it every week, prepare.
If Haskins isn’t the answer, things get harder. This free agent class is thin and the only options for starter quality under 30 are Dak Prescott and Jameis Winston, each of which has significant question marks. Prescott is returning from a gruesome ankle injury (and could be retained by Dallas) and Winston, the backup of New Orleans, hasn’t started since leading the league with 30 interceptions in 2019. Cam Newton, Rivera’s former starter at Carolina, is 31 and has been battling the Patriots since a hot start.
Washington could look at the draft. But if the team now continues to prioritize to win – “short-term fame,” as Rivera once said – it would potentially be out of the reach of the consensus two top quarterbacks, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields of the state Ohio. This would leave them a choice of second tier options like Trey Lance from the state of North Dakota, Zach Wilson from Brigham Young, or Kyle Trask from Florida.
The Giants’ defensive coordinator Pat Graham installed the piece that Washington defeated on Saturday last week. Trainer Joe Judge praised him for giving the two-minute defense the tricky look to keep Logan Ryan safe. On Monday, ESPN pointed out that it wasn’t the first time the Giants had played this piece. That came just before halftime.
The scheme is cover 2. The game is designed with boxing safety and a cornerback falling back to defend the two deep halves of the field, allowing Ryan, who starts low, to move up and play midfield. This is supposed to confuse the quarterback, but Ryan wasn’t in the right place on the first game and it resulted in a 32 yard completion for Cam Sims. The second time Ryan secured the game’s interception, it was him.
On Sunday of the second quarter, Morgan Moses met his team-mates after a bad offensive series. Washington followed the New York Giants 13-3, mostly because of its own mistakes, and Fox cameras showed Moses screaming, “Have some [expletive] Heart ”with a group of players including Logan Thomas, Antonio Gibson, Temarrick Hemingway and Steven Sims.
“It’s great,” Rivera said of Moses’ speech. “I think it’s great when a man challenges his teammates, especially in a certain situation with a man like Morgan who trains hard and plays hard and does things right. That’s why he’s the captain right now. I have no problem with a man who challenges his teammates. “
Rookie defender Kam Curl made an uneven debut with strong security replacing Landon Collins. The seventh round election showed his potential with eleven team-level tackles and a giant sack of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones in the fourth quarter, but his inexperience hurt too. The most glaring example was a failure to report against Evan Engram that allowed the Giants to take a 20-3 lead.
Long term, Rivera remained positive on Curl. He believes that after Collins’ return, Curl could become a versatile pawn again, as he was earlier this season as Big Nickel. Curl believes he is a true defender who can play anywhere and it is possible that in free safety he could evolve into the answer.
If nothing else, Curl suits Washington because his father Greg hates the cowboys. Greg grew up in the small town of Oklahoma and quickly got tired of the rabid fan base. Instead, he cheered the Houston Oilers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I’m a die-hard cowboy hater,” Greg said last week. “Although there was speculation, Dallas might call [Kam] during the design. I just said, ‘If he has to go there …’ “