Commanders consider offensive line changes after giving up six more sacks vs. Giants

The inability of Washington to counter the defensive tactics of Giants’ coordinator Wink Martindale was the most glaring issue in their Week 7 loss. The starting offensive line performed poorly, struggling to handle even the most basic stunts from the Giants’ front seven. It seemed like they had never played together before.

The Commanders failed to pass off twisting and angling rushers to their fellow blockers, a skill that is essential for a strong pass-protecting offensive line. As a result, Howell, the quarterback, was left vulnerable to the opposing rush. The Giants’ defense successfully sacked Howell multiple times, making it clear that a comeback would be incredibly difficult.

Tackle Charles Leno Jr., with his 10 years of NFL experience, understands that blaming the offensive line entirely is not the solution. However, he acknowledges that they need to improve.

“When you have a 1-on-1 matchup in the National Football League, you have to win it,” said Leno. “This applies to the offensive line, running backs, tight ends, and the quarterback. When there’s a hot route, the ball needs to be released. It’s a collective effort.”

With a record of 3-4, Washington doesn’t have much time to solve their issues before it’s too late. Their upcoming rematch against Philadelphia poses a significant challenge, as the Eagles have five players with 2.5 or more sacks in the 2023 season. Philadelphia also ranks among the top three in sacks, QB hits, and QB pressures.

Howell currently ranks as the worst in the NFL in those three categories, along with interceptions thrown under pressure (six). This highlights the stark contrast in his performance under pressure compared to when he is not.

In their previous matchup, Howell tied his own league-high record for pressures in a single game with 27. It’s important to note that this stat is not solely his fault, but he can improve his situation by releasing the ball quicker at any cost.

The significance of protection in this upcoming game is evident.


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