The Washington Commanders are in trouble.
The defense is as bad as feared, special teams may need a new returner and kicker and the offensive line is marginal. Year 3 appears no different than the first two losing seasons.
When "Riverboat Ron" Rivera defends a poor decision with analytics, we're nearing the end of his era despite being early into the season.
The Commanders trailed 22-0 early to the Detroit Lions on Sunday in the 36-27 loss. It was embarrassing. The Lions just manhandled the Commanders on both sides. Quarterback Carson Wentz barely finished the snap count before Aidan Hutchinson and Co. were on his neck.
The loss shows there are no easy games in the NFL. Many touted a 2-0 start against Jacksonville and Detroit versus two of the worst teams leaguewide for years and Washington barely escaped 1-1. Frankly, they should be 0-2.
And now NFC East foes Philadelphia and Dallas lie ahead respectively. If Washington doesn't quickly step up, it's in an uphill chase for the playoffs before the leaves turn color – again!
Now the Commanders finally have an offense. All that hand-wringing and self-doubt over quarterback Carson Wentz were for nothing. He's thrown seven touchdowns in two games and more than 300 yards in each. It would be nice if Wentz wouldn't pretend to be a statue or run into coming rushers, but overall it has been a solid effort.
And Washington's receiver corps has been as good as hoped. Three standout targets in Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson and Terry McLaurin plus tight end Logan Thomas make any comeback possible.
But the defense just stinks from front to back. The Lions turned them inside out from running through the middle to passing over the top. Why, Detroit's D'Andre Swift even laid on the ground for a moment after a catch before running 15 yards for a score untouched. That's ridiculous.
Why does this defense continue to underperform with so many first-rounders and top-paid players? Why is the best defender someone who's just getting a chance? And why can't this team ever hand over coverage so opposing receivers aren't wide open?
It has to be coaching. Washington never seems ready and rarely shows a sense of urgency. The Commanders actually stopped the Lions on the first drive, then allowed a field goal, touchdown, field goal and touchdown in the next four series sandwiched around their defense scoring a safety.
Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and Rivera, both one-time respected NFL linebackers, have done a miserable job. The first-round pick of linebacker Jamin Davis looks mediocre at best and Washington did nothing to bolster the middle of the defense over the offseason. Nor has it schemed effectively against bunch receivers that scramble past the Commanders.
There isn't enough vanilla ice cream for the owners to fill Del Rio's office. No matter – someone else will fill that room next season. And, if the season is a loser, someone else should be sitting in all of the coaching rooms.
It's one thing to lose, even regularly. It's another to look ridiculous.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.