The 2020 season is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its inaugural campaign under head coach Ron Rivera.
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The buzz surrounding the Washington Football Team's defensive line this offseason has been hard to avoid.
Since the moment Washington drafted Chase Young No. 2 overall -- giving the unit five former first-round picks along its front -- the public has debated just how dominant it could be. Ahead of training camp, Pro Football Focus ranked Washington's defensive line third entering 2020 season.
NFL Network sportscaster Peter Schrager then went a step further on "Good Morning Football" earlier this week.
"I, Peter Schrager, on September 8, 2020, believe the Washington Football Team defensive line will be the best in all of football."
But the man leading the unit, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, couldn't care less about potential. He wants to see the defensive line perform to its capabilities, starting with Sunday's regular season opener against Philadelphia.
"I've been getting a lot [of comments] about how talented we are; it's about production," Del Rio said. "Really, this league is not about assembling talent. It really doesn't matter. There are a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame that were undrafted. It doesn't matter where you come from or how you get here, it's about how you perform when you get your opportunity. It's about this group here and now, so, that's where our focus is. We're just looking to be at our best for each other, very unselfishly. Doing our role, doing exactly what we're supposed to be and doing it fast and then playing off each other. Those are the fundamentals that allow us to play at a higher level collectively, regardless of the amount of talent we have."
Washington struggled to contain its division rivals a year ago. In two games, it gave up a combined 69 points and allowed quarterback Carson Wentz to complete 70% of his passes for 579 yards and six touchdowns compared to zero interceptions. In the second matchup, running back Miles Sanders compiled 172 scrimmage yards and found the end zone twice.
Expect Washington's defense to perform better this time around. In addition to Young, Washington bolstered its secondary with the signings of Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby and pushed its linebackers with an intense competition during training camp. They'll also benefit from working under Del Rio, who has a history of turning underperforming defenses into some of the best in the league.
"I feel like it's easy for us as a group to look at the expectations and get excited, but me personally, I could care less," defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said. "It really doesn't matter what anybody outside of this organization thinks in my opinion. Expectations, I don't believe in those. I believe in having standards that we must live up to day in and day out and game in and game out. If I live up to the certain standards that I set for myself and as a unit we set them collectively, we'll have success regardless of the outcome."
-- Rivera unveils his reading list: A known bookworm, Rivera is currently reading two books: "The Splendid and The Vile" by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and "The Real All Americans" by Washington Post reporter Sally Jenkins.
Rivera said Churchill's book is about "hunkering down for the long haul," which he can relate to after signing a multi-year contract to become Washington's head coach in January. "There are a lot of good messages in it about preparation and understanding that things are going to be easy -- they're going to be hard -- but getting everybody to rally," Rivera said. "I found some solace in reading a book like that."
Jenkins' book focuses on the Carlisle Indian School football team. Rivera said he initially chose the book to better familiarize himself with the history of Native Americans, and so far he's been pleased. "It's just an enjoyable book. I'm learning a lot. Like I said, for personal reasons that book has been interesting."
-- Chase Roullier gives his scouting report of Chase Young: After months of speculation, Young will make his NFL debut Sunday against a pair of perennial Pro Bowlers in Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. Without preseason games, the Eagles have not been able to see Young in action, but starting center Chase Roullier has gone up against him sporadically over the past six weeks. The basis of his scouting report was simple: Young is going to be a problem for opposing offenses.
"He's got a very, very uncommon combination of speed and strength and quickness that is difficult for any offensive lineman to deal with," Roullier said. "In my few reps that I've had to go against him, it's been difficult to have to combat the bull rush with his strength and how quick he is being able to take an edge. And that's something that I think he's going to move forward in his career with and really wreak some havoc in this league."
-- Zampese highlights Haskins' competitiveness: Quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese first got to know Dwayne Haskins Jr. during the virtual offseason, but training camp was the first time he got to see how his young quarterback acted once he got on the field. Haskins' desire to succeed stood out.
"He loves the drill work. He loves competing, 7-on-7, 11-on-11, it doesn't matter. He just loves to be out there playing, which is fun. It's a great starting point for us and we can progress from there. He's a hungry player, which makes it a lot easier. It's tough when you have to drag them with you. I really enjoy that part of him."
Check out the injury report for Washington's game against Philadelphia, HERE.
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