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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A lot had changed since Kendall Fuller last played at FedExField on Dec. 24, 2017.
First, he was sent to Kansas City as part of the Alex Smith trade, where he served as the team's top cornerback in 2018. He won a Super Bowl with the team a year later, making the interception that sealed the championship triumph.
This offseason, Fuller signed a lucrative, multi-year contract to rejoin the franchise he not only grew up watching but that selected him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. And while a knee injury sidelined him for the first two games, Fuller flourished in his return to his hometown stadium Sunday.
"It felt good walking into the stadium this time knowing I am going to suit up and go out there on the field and play," said Fuller, who made a pair of interceptions in the Washington Football Team's 31-17 loss to the Ravens. "We just got to work on protecting our home turf and getting these wins, especially at home."
Playing in his 31st game with the burgundy and gold, Fuller corralled his first interception as the opening half drew to a close. He recognized the route combination almost immediately, which allowed him to break towards the right sideline before wide receiver Miles Boykin could even turn towards quarterback Lamar Jackson. He secured the turnover at the 37-yard line, and three plays later, Dustin Hopkins converted a field goal, trimming the deficit to 21-10 at the break.
Fuller's second interception showcased his concentration and field awareness.
On a 2nd-and-16 late in the fourth quarter, Ravens backup Robert Griffin III tried to test Fuller deep down the sideline. A big hit prevented Griffin from stepping into the throw, which in turn forced speedster Marquise Brown to slow down as the ball traveled through the air. The pass then grazed Brown's fingertips and fell into the hands of Fuller, who made the catch while falling backward and keeping his feet in bounds.
Fuller's first multi-interception game also included two pass breakups, a tackle and one reception allowed in five targets -- all of which contributed to an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 86.5, the highest among all cornerbacks in Week 4. Fuller now has eight-career interceptions, six of which have come in Washington.
-- Young has been an All-Rookie performer through four weeks: Chase Young was expected to dominate as the No. 2 overall pick, and he has been "as advertised" in his first three NFL starts with a team-high 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He also has an overall PFF grade of 78.0, which leads all defensive rookies and ranks second behind Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
These statistics, combined with the sight of Young handling opposing linemen, made him an easy choice to make The Athletic's All-Rookie team a quarter of the way through the season.
"As long as he stays healthy, Young shouldn't have any trouble reaching double-digit sacks in Year 1," Dane Brugler wrote. "And if he can average one sack per game the rest of the way, he will match the NFL rookie record for sacks in a season (14.5, Jevon Kearse)."
-- The offense continues to grow: Just as Washington's young players are learning and growing, so, too, is Scott Turner, who is in his first full year as an offensive coordinator. Each week, head coach Ron Rivera said Turner is gaining a better understanding of how to use the team's playmakers, and that has resulted in gradual improvement. Washington gained a season-high 343 total yards Sunday against the Ravens.
"I went back and watched those games in January and February and really dove in and got a good feel for what Scotty's all about. I know who he is. He's worked for me in the past before, so I have a good feel for what we're doing. I'm pleased with it. I think this really is about us continuing to grow and develop and go forward."
-- Improved protection of Haskins: Rivera admitted that the left side of the offensive line -- namely guard Wes Martin and tackle Geron Christian Sr. -- "got hit pretty good" against the Eagles, and the statistics reflected that. As a whole, the unit earned a PFF pass-blocking grade of 32.6.
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