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Hail Mail | Answering questions on Darrick Forrest, Carson Wentz's arm strength


The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.

Winning makes everything better, and while the Washington Commanders teetered on starting the 2022 season 0-1, Carson Wentz delivered in the fourth quarter to open the year with a win for the second time in Ron Rivera’s three seasons with the team.

The energy was high in the stands and the mood was light in the locker room after the 28-22 victory, but the time for celebrating last week's success is over. Now, the Commanders need to shift their attention towards the Detroit Lions in Week 2.

So, with that said, here's what Commanders fans want to know this week.

Connor B.: What did you think of our secondary against the Jaguars? It kinda lacked at times and makes me nervous for the big passing type teams we face later in the season.

You would not be alone in criticizing the secondary, Connor. I was also underwhelmed by what I saw from the group. Yes, the Jaguars have some interesting weapons in Christian Kirk and Travis Etienne, but they should not have been as open as they were last week. People remember the 49-yard bomb to Kirk, but we should not forget the multiple times where Trevor Lawrence just missed open players. That includes what would have been an easy touchdown to Etienne in the first quarter. The group did play up to its standard when the Commanders needed it, though, so there is some optimism. Either way, the defensive backs will need to play better against a Lions receiving corps that features several athletic weapons.

Charles R.: Having acquired Carson Wentz, who has such a strong arm, why aren't more deep shots down the field being called?

Personally, Charles, I think Scott Turner did a great job calling Sunday's game. Turner, quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese and the rest of the offensive coaches were ecstatic to have Wentz on the roster because of his arm strength. He used it some against the Jaguars, see the 49-yard touchdown from Terry McLaurin, and it created some of the most exciting moments of the afternoon. I think it's important to remember that Turner wants Wentz to use his arm at the right moments. Washington has plenty of weapons that can make plays with the ball in their hands, and it was clear that Turner wanted to distribute the ball to them quickly. The other thing to remember is that we're going on a one-game sample size. We will need to see a few more games to get a better grasp on how this offense will take shape in 2022.

Terry M.: Will we continue to see Darrick Forrest featured in the secondary when Kam Curl returns?

The defensive backs rotate a lot, so we were going to see more of Darrick Forrest this season even without Kamren Curl getting injured. However, Forrest did a good job of showing why he deserves more playing time. He was the highest graded safety in Week 1 by Pro Football Focus, which is a distinction he earned because of his physicality and instincts in the secondary. That helped him deliver the biggest hit of the game on Etienne and the game-sealing interception. Curl is still the starting strong safety; there is no debate about that. But Forrest did show that he can handle a larger role when called upon.

TV: 1.) How will the defense adjust to the big loss of P. Mathis? 2.) Would the defense move Kendall Fuller to inside as a slot corner and Benjamin to outside? 3. Wouldn't it be better to add more runs to slow down other teams and make it easier for Carson to pass?

That is a slick move of you to ask three questions, but I'll do my best here.

1.) Losing Phidarian Mathis for the year is certainly a tough loss. They've added two linemen since then: Donovan Jeter, who played at Michigan, and Benning Potoa'e, who was added to the practice squad. Neither will be able to completely replicate Mathis' presence, but they do provide some more depth.

2.) While Kendall Fuller and Benjamin St-Juste do have experience playing at multiple spots in the secondary, I think the staff is content playing them in their current roles. St-Juste had an up-and-down first game as the nickel corner, but he does have the size and talent to be a problem for opposing offenses.

3.) It's a similar answer to a previous question, but I do not think you should make a conclusion that Washington is not going to run the ball as much as it did in 2021. We need to see how the offense develops, not just with its current personnel, but also when Brian Robinson comes back, before we determine its identity.

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