A majority of the NFL world was tuned into the action on Championship Sunday, as both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs advanced on to Super Bowl LV a couple of weeks from now in Tampa Bay. A lot of congratulations can be given, but for many fans of the Washington Football Team, a lot of time was probably spent picturing what that must be like to root for a team going to the final game of the season.
After a 7-9 season that ended in the wild-card round of the playoffs, it may seem crazy to say, but WFT is closer to that happening than some might think. The young talent and coaching is there, but a few pieces need to be added in order to push them over the edge. Here are 5 things that Washington needs to do to become a Super Bowl contender in 2021.
Find a real quarterback
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
No matter what Washington does this offseason, they absolutely have to come away from the summer with a quarterback at the helm that they feel comfortable with. There are a number of ways that they can do this, whether it's via free agency, trade, or the NFL Draft, but what can't happen is another season rotating between Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, and Alex Smith. Nothing will close a Super Bowl window faster than poor QB play. The player who is currently at the top of our QB wish list is Detroit Lions' veteran Matthew Stafford, who is reportedly available to be traded for. Acquiring Stafford wouldn't cost Washington too much, and his addition to the team instantly makes them a contender. Other options are a mega-trade for Deshaun Watson (unlikely), or having someone fall to No. 19 in the draft (also unlikely.) We'll see how Ron Rivera and his guys choose to play this, but QB is the number one thing to worry about this offseason.
Add a playmaking wide receiver
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
It was made clear this past season that Washington does not have enough talent at the WR position, and whoever ends up playing QB is going to need a lot more than just Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas to rely on. The dream, of course, is convincing someone like Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, or Chris Godwin to come to D.C., but it seems more likely that Washington will add a mid-tier WR — Marvin Jones Jr.? JuJu Smith-Schuster? — or find someone in the draft that can hopefully become an instant playmaker.
Put a strong MLB at the core of the defense
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Washington's defensive line steals all of the headlines, and they are luckily good enough to cover up a lot of shortcomings that the team has on that side of the ball as well. While there are a couple of nice pieces at the LB spot for Washington, a rock-solid guy in the middle would really do wonders for this team. Guys like Cole Holcomb and Jon Bostic have proven to be really good, but if Rivera and Jack Del Rio can either find someone in the draft or lure in a free agent to help buoy their run defense, the unit as a whole could take a major step forward.
Keep the offensive line together
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
For the first time in a while, Washington had a pretty solid offensive line in 2020, and it ironically came in a year where we didn't expect much from that unit. Cornelius Lucas stepped up at the LT position, and Wes Schweitzer more than held his own at LG, while the trio of Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and Morgan Moses were again great on the right side. Washington has most of those guys under contract, with a couple of young players like Saahdiq Charles and Geron Christian ready to compete, but they need to make sure that they can get Scherff back next year by signing him to an extension. Scherff is set to be a free agent this offseason, but he can't step foot outside of Washington, and Rivera knows that.
Get some help for the secondary
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Washington's secondary was pretty good this season, but they had a penchant for giving up the big play every now and again, and there was absolutely room for improvement. The biggest area where they can focus on getting better is at the free safety position, and a look at free agency would definitely help that. It also would not hurt to add some more depth at the cornerback position, especially considering that Ronald Darby might leave this offseason.