Washington football notes: Secondary breakdowns, Terry McLaurin’s development, more

In opposition to Philadelphia, cornerback Ronald Darby and robust protection Landon Collins gave the impression to be taking part in deep zones on 3rd and 22 when Eagles receiver Jalen Reagor cut up them for the lengthy achieve. Collins didn’t appear to peer Reagor till it used to be too past due. On Sunday, Arizona’s play motion iced up loose protection Troy Apke whilst the receiver sped through him. Those split-second hiccups opened the door for large positive factors.

General, the secondary has had an asymmetric begin to the season. Cornerbacks have held their very own for essentially the most section, however most sensible free-agent signing Kendall Fuller (knee) hasn’t observed the sector, Apke’s shine from coaching camp hasn’t translated and Collins hasn’t seemed like himself instead of his interception Sunday, which got here after a miscommunication ended in a landing for Arizona large receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Trainer Ron Rivera has wired he sees expansion within the unit, however the play from the again of the secondary thus far has been a priority.

After grievance from fanatics, pundits and gamers, Ron Rivera tripled down on his determination to not use his 3 timeouts on the finish of Sunday’s recreation. In his information convention Monday, he repeated his need to keep away from additional accidents, and he emphasised that he processes numerous data — “what I’m listening to, what I’m seeing, how the sport’s progressing, what’s going down at the sideline” — earlier than making essential alternatives comparable to that one.

“That’s the verdict I made,” Rivera stated. “It rings a bell in my memory of what Ernest Hemingway stated: ‘There are the ones that can cross into the hoop and combat the bulls, and those who will write about it.’ As a result of I’m in the course of it, I’ll make the ones selections.”

Brandon Scherff’s coming near near absence will harm the offensive line, however it is going to give Washington a longer take a look at swing guard Wes Schweitzer. The 27-year-old ignored maximum of coaching camp and not in reality competed with Wes Martin to start out at left guard. But when Rivera stated he likes Schweitzer, there’s reason why to imagine him. In a yr when Washington signed maximum of its loose brokers to one-year, prove-it contracts, they gave the reserve guard a three-year deal. He used to be the one participant instead of Fuller to receiver a freelance longer than two seasons.

“I really like him,” Rivera stated of Schweitzer after the sport Sunday. “I believe he is a superb, bodily soccer participant. I were given a chance to judge and notice if he’s precisely what I believe he’s.”

Scherff is anticipated to pass over 3 to 5 weeks with a sprained MCL in his knee.

This yr, Terry McLaurin used to be challenged to make bigger his versatility. The receiver constructed his popularity outdoor closing season, and throughout coaching camp, receivers trainer Jim Hostler stated that, “in the event you’re a excellent participant, and also you’re a No. 1 on this league, you’re going to need to expand your path tree and … cross within.”

McLaurin has began doing that. He’s been within the slot for 6 of his 17 objectives thus far, and his alignments aren’t in point of fact large in some formations. He used to be within the slot for his past due landing towards Arizona on Sunday. It helped that the Cardinals, short of to restrict explosive performs with a large lead, subsidized off superstar cornerback Patrick Peterson in the second one part, however the 24-yard ranking nonetheless highlighted McLaurin’s elite pace.

He’s an amazing competitor and participant,” Arizona Trainer Kliff Kingsbury stated. “I knew how excellent he used to be, however without reference to the ranking, he used to be in the market taking part in his tail off. He’s going to be probably the most vibrant stars within the league shifting ahead.”

Steven Sims Jr. is a high-risk, high-reward punt returner — and Washington turns out to just accept that. On Sunday, Sims put the ball at the floor for the second one recreation in a row, and this time, it harm the workforce. He fumbled within Soccer Crew territory, the Cardinals recovered and the quick box keyed their moment landing. The turnover annoyed Rivera.

“We’re a excellent soccer workforce,” he stated, “however we’re now not skilled sufficient to triumph over serving to the opposite workforce beat you.”

Punt returns can lend a hand a suffering offense, and Sims is tied for the league lead with seven returns already. However for him, ball safety has steadily been a query. He muffed a kickoff closing season towards the Detroit Lions after which returned it for a 91-yard landing. The ability and peril of Sims’ recreation is hard for particular groups coordinator Nate Kaczor to steadiness, and throughout coaching camp, he admitted explosiveness may just permit coaches to put out of your mind different issues in a returner.

After Sims’ fumble, he persevered returning punts. Although Sims’ two muffs/fumbles in seven makes an attempt this season is a small pattern dimension, his previous suggests those struggles are one thing to regulate.

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