Seventeen days ago, when the Commanders’ season opened, there was one glaring weakness that everybody agreed upon: the offensive line was a concern.
Well, two-plus weeks, three games, and 19 sacks of Sam Howell later, that’s still the case, and while most fans would take 2-2 through four games (worst case if they lose in Philly Sunday), this is a problem that has to be corrected if the team is going to truly contend for the playoffs.
“The most basic of statistics is a little problematic when your quarterback is in the bottom tier of QBR and passer rating,” JP Flaim said on Wednesday’s Sports Junkies. “It’s hard to win games if that continues.”
“If you’re going to be the Eagles, Sam Howell is going to have to plan an A game,” Bish replied. “Do you think he can play an A game against that defense?”
“I think if you protect him, he can have an A-game against anybody,” EB chimed in, “but, they haven't done the things they need to do to protect him: max protect, make adjustments, etc.”
When Cakes surmised that the line may not physically be able to do that – no matter the scheme, they might be deficient’ – and JP noted that analytics put half of Howell’s sacks on the QB and not the line, EB had an answer for that
“You know what else they're saying? Through two weeks, we had the second most perfectly covered receivers in all of football, 45 percent of the time,” Bickel said.
Jay Gruden told both Grant & Danny and Chris Russell that he sees a lot of receivers in the same spot, and when Cakes sees that, he thinks ‘donk offensive coordinator.’
And that’s when Eric had enough and took on the offensive line for being, well, offensive.
“I’m just getting pissed because no quarterback is perfect, they all have flaws, but I think Sam has so many great attributes that you can build around that he could be our guy,” EB said. “But if you know he tends to hold the ball too long or whatever, you need to protect his ass!”
That was the rap on him coming out of college, so Cakes says you can blame Ron Rivera and the brass for not drafting linemen or maybe going for better ones in free agency this offseason – and the latter is Bickel’s biggest problem.
“My only caveat is rookies are all usually mediocre, so even a first-round pick will struggles, too,” EB said, “but where they F’ed up is free agency! Andrew Wylie is spinning like a top every week! We have a line that can’t block, a long snapper that can’t snap, a play caller that’s inconsistent, and a quarterback that holds the ball too long!”
The guys joked about how Rivera drafted the long snapper who can’t snap but hasn’t really beefed up the line, and to EB, if that was the plan, they should’ve figured out how to work around it, even if both tackles rank in the top half of the league per PFF.
“You knew that before they played game one, the offense line was gonna be an issue, but I said they could scheme around it,” EB said. “They did it Week 2 and looked brilliant. I still think we can get to eight or nine wins, but I don't think they're doing all that they can to make this team better.”
Take a listen above as the guys discuss the line and EB gets madder and madder!