3 Washington players who should scare SF 49ers in Week 14
No. 3: CBs Kendall Fuller & Ronald Darby
While the defensive line (more on them later) is getting a lot of the credit for how well the Washington defense has been playing in 2020, a lot of credit should also go to the secondary.
The unit has been spectacular so far this season and currently rank as Football Outsiders’ third-best passing defense by DVoA (minus-11.3 percent), while Pro Football Focus ranks them as the second-best coverage team in the league with a grade of 80.1.
This suggests that it isn’t just the pass rush that has contributed to the defensive success for Washington, but that the coverage has also been solid.
Two names stand out in that regard: cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby, both of whom are having strong seasons in 2020.
Fuller is among the league leaders in interceptions with four coming into Sunday’s contest, while also being credited with seven passes defended on the season. And while Darby has yet to register a pick this year, his 10 passes defended are in the top 15 in the NFL so far.
The reason that this should scare SF 49ers’ fans is that one of the strengths of the offense for the Niners as currently constructed is its two wide receivers, second-year man Deebo Samuel and rookie Brandon Aiyuk, two players the Washington Football Team will seek to take out of the game.
Neither Fuller nor Darby are lockdown corners in the vein of someone like the LA Rams’ Jalen Ramsey, but they are certainly capable of making like difficult for Samuel, Aiyuk, and the rest of the SF 49ers receiving corps.
It’ll be up to head coach Kyle Shanahan to find ways to get them open and get the ball in their hands, otherwise it’ll be a long afternoon for the Niners offense.