Game #7 with a season on the brink of slipping away; WFT in Green Bay!

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkWFT

Washington enters today’s game with a 2-4 record and on the brink of their season slipping away before the halfway point of the season. They are a steep 8.5 point underdog today against the 5-1 Green Bay Packers in this game in Wisconsin. The cheeseheads will be loud and proud in this one as the WFT will face an NFL legend in Aaron Rodgers. The WFT has put themselves in this position by losing last week with a chance to get to 3-3.

The keys to a WFT win today is for the vaunted defense to step up and force turnovers. But the WFT is tied for last in the entire NFL with only six sacks this season and ninth worst with only four interceptions. While Chase Young looked better last week, he is far behind what he did last year. It isn’t all on Young, the rest of that line has to step up and the linebackers have to plug holes.

There is a lot of heat on Taylor Heinicke‘s but keep in mind, he has a total of six career starts. This is not a first round draft “can’t miss” type of quarterback. Even with his 45.8 QBR this season, that is far better than Dwayne Haskins‘ 31.0 rating last year. Haskins got 13 starts with the WFT, and he probably would have received more if not for the off-the-field issues. This isn’t to say Heinicke will be a serviceable QB, but where is Haskins this year? Right, nowhere. He hasn’t played a down in 2021. Heinicke has led the team to two game winning drives which ranks third in the NFL. That’s something. It isn’t like the defense is giving him great field position and that anything else is really clicking.

There were rumors circulating that the WFT was trading for Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa. He has a QBR rating of 41.8. He’s had 12 career starts. Tagovailoa is part of the crop of recent top of the 1st round draft picks who are scuffling. He was 5th overall in the 2020 draft and one pick ahead of where the Chargers drafted Justin Herbert at 6th overall. The Tagovailoa rumors were shot down by WFT head coach Ron Rivera as false news, but you can be sure the WFT will be once again looking for a QB in the top of the 1st round after their swing and miss with Haskins. Until this team finds their franchise QB which they have never had during this ownership group, you fear these will be the results. The Robert Griffin draft pick was costly for what the team gave up, and trading up, rarely works. You can go back further to previous first round QB picks prior to RG III with Jason Campbell and Patrick Ramsey during the Snyder ownership run from 1999 and forward. Not the worst results

The WFT offense has to also help their quarterback. Curtis Samuel is injured with one start and 19 yards of receiving on the season, and Logan Thomas is on injured reserve. The main playmakers are Terry McLaurin and J.D. McKissic as well as Adam Humphries along with running back Antonio Gibson.

One of the big decisions this week was a move to release kicker Dustin Hopkins and sign Chris Blewitt with all of the risk that comes with that. Hopkins was actually more accurate this year than he was last year improving from 79.4% on field goals made to 85.7% this year. His extra points were down as he made only 10-of-12, but why wasn’t the Hopkins situation resolved over the summer? Blewitt has no NFL experience and was last seen in Bears camp in 2019 when he was cut. His last kick in a game that counted was in 2016 for the University of Pittsburgh where he had a 69.6 success rate on field goals. What was Ron Rivera thinking?

“Well, just felt that we needed to do something going forward. Really appreciate everything Dustin has done for us. He’s a solid football player. He’ll get an opportunity to play again. I just felt at this time it was something that I felt we had to do going forward. This was my move, my decision and I’ll live with it.”

“Yeah. There’s not a lot of guys out there with a lot of experience right now. We had brought Chris in before and Chris did the same thing in the workout he did before. I think he only missed one and it was over a 50 yarder, I think, at both of his tryouts that he had. That’s how consistent he was. He kicks the ball off relatively deep. He kicked one yesterday into the wind. We didn’t have him kick with the wind. We had him kick into the wind. He kicked one into the wind that had about a 4.5 second hang time, and it was about 70 yards deep. So, we know he’s got a strong leg for kickoff, so we felt pretty good about that.”

“As I said, it was my decision, and I’ll own that.”

— Head coach Ron Rivera

Washington was out of the basement last week as the worst third down defensive team, but they are right back into the worst this week and by the numbers, Washington is the worst by a large margin. They have allowed 57.78% on 3rd down conversions.

There is plenty of blame to go around on the defense, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has few answers on what has gone wrong.

But certainly most eyes will be on Heinicke as the quarterback is the main focus of every team. Playing in Lambeau Field is like playing on hallowed ground. Hopefully Heinicke does his part in this game.

“Yeah, there’s definitely a fine line there and you just want to be smart about it. I think as the biggest thing is you want to be yourself and play like yourself out there, but don’t make the bad decision. And that’s something you have to keep on working every week. I’m not making excuses. I’ve only started six games in the NFL. I’m still learning, but that’s no excuse to throw the picks I’ve thrown. I’m still learning. I’m still learning stuff about myself, what I can and can’t do, just I’ll come here to the facility every day and try and get better and learn. That’s how I go about it.”

— Quarterback Taylor Heinicke

The intangibles will play a part in this game. We will see what week seven has for the WFT this week and for the direction of this team and the franchise.

WHERE: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX

SPREAD: Washington +8.5| O/U: 47.5

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