Washington Football Team’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs will honor nearly 100 alumni at FedEx Field, while also paying a special tribute to one of its greatest stars and beloved players who was taken from us too soon at the age of 24. Sean Taylor was brutally murdered in 2007, during a robbery at his home. His family will join the team on-field for a pre-game ceremony in which Taylor’s contributions to the team will be remembered alongside the retirement of his jersey number, 21. This will mark only the third time in the team’s 89-year history that a jersey number will be officially retired.
Of course, no good deed goes unpunished as the public relations’ group only gave three days advanced notice that Taylor’s jersey number would be retired, and there was an uproar from the media and fans that the team is abruptly doing this to divert from all of the controversy surrounding the team in the NFL’s probe into the team’s culture that just took down Jon Gruden who resigned as head coach from the Las Vegas Raiders amid an email controversy. Gruden never worked for Washington, but had been emailing former employees with inappropriate content deemed racist, homophobic, misogynistic as well as disgusting.
The only two jersey numbers that were previously retired were number 33 for Sammy Baugh who played from 1937–1952, and number 49 for Bobby Mitchell who played from 1962–1968.
In a touch of irony, this team formerly known as the Redskins from 1933 until they changed the name two years ago will face the Chiefs today, a team that has not changed their name or fan culture. They are one of the remaining teams that does not ban what was popularized as the Tomahawk Chop and deemed racist. Just a bit more irony how the NFL operates.
Washington needs a win today to get back to .500 as they are 2-3 on the season. The Chiefs are led by star quarterback Patrick Mahomes who is the star of stars on this team and in this league. He became the face of football, and his team is struggling to stay relevant this year.
What Washington needs is for their defense and Chase Young to step up and be the dominant star on this WFT defense. Young, who is in his second year has to step up with some big plays, and many expected him to dominate this year after being named the Defensive Rookie of the Year from last season. This defense must contain Mahomes and put constant pressure on him.
After an inconsistent game last week, Washington’s quarterback, Taylor Heinicke, has to step up and make some big plays. He has Terry McLaurin and J.D. McKissic as well as Adam Humphries and running back Antonio Gibson as his main weapons. While Washington’s tight ends were used more on blocking schemes, expect them to get some open looks today as the WFT spreads the offense with multiple targets. With Gibson as the main running back, the team is looking for him to rack up more yards than they have seen. He only has one rushing TD this year compared to a dozen last year.
Interesting words from the head coach. If they are growing, it is hard to see. The defense was supposed to be a strength for this team this season. Saying the words from the coaches to the media isn’t the same as accountability as the growth is difficult to see at this point. This is a team that used their 1st round pick, 19th overall pick, to go defense and draft linebacker Jamin Davis and through five games he has not made one big play. You expect your top pick to step up but we have not seen it yet. With the injuries in the linebacking corps, we have to see Davis step up. He has 14 solo tackles and two assists. You can do that math that he has less than three solo tackles per game.
By the numbers, Washington is the second worst third down defense in the league, and they have allowed 56.16% of 3rd down conversions. If not for the Dolphins, the WFT would be the worst in that column too. They did show a lot of improvement last week but unfortunately they also lost to the Saints last week.
Where this team goes this season will depend a lot on how they play today. They blew a game last week that they should have won and the difference was a Hail Mary for a touchdown to close the first half last week that was inexcusable. The team is now in a tough stretch of their schedule and today is the day to turn things positive. The team is a big 6 1/2 point underdog today.
WHERE: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland (Washington)
WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
SPREAD: Washington +6.5| O/U: 54.0