Last week was tough, but the Washington Commanders have another opportunity to get back on track against the Philadelphia Eagles. Here are the things Commanders fans want to know this week.
Matt Z.: How will you contain Hurts and force him to throw the ball?
A big part of the Commanders' upcoming game revolves around this question, Matt.
Jalen Hurts has seen two different approaches against the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. The Lions blitzed him, and he ended up rushing for nearly 100 yards. The Vikings tried forcing him to beat them as a passer, and he picked apart their defense for 333 yards.
In theory, the Commanders have the front to put pressure on Hurts without having to blitz too many defenders. As Daron Payne said in the locker room today, it comes down to sticking to their rushing lanes and removing any opportunities for him to escape. There was some improvement in that area against the Lions, although Jared Goff did a nice job of getting the ball out quickly.
Hurts' time to throw is 2.86 seconds, which is the 11-longest in the NFL and about three tenths of a second slower than that of Goff. That extra time does matter, and I expect that if the linemen stick to their assignments, the rush should get there.
Dyshaun Y.: When is Kam Curl coming back?
Kamren Curl has been at practice for the past two weeks, but today presented more progress for the safety. He participated in ball drills, which he had not done in the preparations for Weeks 1 or 2. In his scrum with the media in the locker room, Curl seems confident that he was going to play this week.
Ron Rivera also shared that confidence when asked about Curl, saying that he brings a presence in the box that the other safeties cannot bring. With the Eagles up next, the defense will need all the help it can get.
King D.: When is Brian Robinson coming back?
Brian Robinson is currently on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list, meaning he needs to miss the first four games of the season. That means he could return against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5, as long as his recovery is up to the team's standard.
And Robinson has made strides each week. He was even on the field today with the running backs, although he was not in pads and not participating in individual drills. He has been on his own routine, and it does not seem as if there have been any setbacks in his rehab.
John W.: Do you feel Chase Young will be the missing piece for our underperforming defense?
Let's state the obvious here: the defense wants Chase Young back as soon as possible. He will help the pass rush with his skill set, and it will provide a boost to have one of the team's leaders back on the active roster.
While he is a piece that will certainly help the defense, I do not believe he is the piece that turns around the unit. I think that comes down to the entire unit improving its performance, rather than just adding one player.
It is fair to say that the defense has not performed in a manner that anyone wants. And I think it is fair for people to be upset.
However, I will say this: we have only played two games. I am going to be a little more patient with the unit and wait until we see a more recent sample size.
Glen C.: When are we going to invest in offensive line/secondary and change our offensive scheme?
I'll push back on the last part of your question first, Glen. For what it's worth, the offense has looked good for the most part through two games. The Commanders are sixth in total yards and second in passing yards. Carson Wentz has the second most passing yards in the league and is tied for the most touchdowns.
Like with the defense, I'm not jumping to conclusions from two games, but I will say that I do not believe any major changes need to occur.
Here's the thing about free agency at this time of year: you are not going to find many options other than depth pieces. Losing Chase Roullier is tough, but I think signing a veteran like Nick Martin is the best the Commanders could do given the situation.
As for the secondary, I truly do not see any wholesale changes for that group. The staff feels confident in them, and for now, I do not foresee them tilting from that belief.