ASHBURN, Virginia – The Washington soccer team will put All-Pro goalie Brandon Scherff on the reserve / COVID-19 list, dealing another blow to an already ravaged team. But Washington will see the return of another defensive lineman, putting this group almost at full throttle.
Washington will activate defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis, a source said, making him the fifth defensive lineman to come off the roster in the past three days. That means Washington will have its three best defensive tackles as well as its three best available ends for Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Reserve tackle Tim Settle remains on the roster; late Chase Young is out for the season with a ripped ACL.
Strengthening the defensive line was important as Philadelphia leads the NFL in rushing yards per game. Washington also likes to use a lot of five-a-side fronts, so the return of their top players will help.
Washington and Philadelphia are both 6-7 and are currently one half a game away from New Orleans for the last playoff spot. The Saints beat Washington earlier this year, but lost to the Eagles.
Losing Scherff, however, will be a blow to Washington’s offensive line. He was part of the first All-Pro team in 2020 and made four Pro Bowls.
Not only is he Washington’s best offensive lineman, but he can play center in emergencies as well. Washington has lost its three best crosses and will likely start sophomore Keith Ismael in that position on Tuesday.
Washington could launch Saahdiq Charles in place of Scherff. Charles has made a start this season, even though it is a straight tackle. He started a guard game as a rookie last season, lasting two games before being injured. Washington recently signed goaltender / center Jamil Douglas, a fourth-round pick in 2015. He made 11 career starts as a right-guard, including five with Tennessee in 2019.
Washington still has quarterback uncertainty with starter Taylor Heinicke and replacement Kyle Allen still on the COVID list. Their status will likely come down to testing on Tuesday, a source said. Washington could end up pitching Garrett Gilbert, who was signed with the New England practice squad on Friday. Kyle Shurmur has been on the Washington practice squad since September 13.
Gilbert, who played two seasons with the current Washington staff when he coached in Carolina, started an NFL game – last season with Dallas. But this experience could be the difference in his departure.
Washington coach Ron Rivera said on Sunday the postponement had helped Gilbert.
“I think it is [also] helping coaches get a handle on and feel what he does really well and what he can adapt and adapt to, âsaid Rivera. “It also gave him the opportunity to watch a few more movies and see a bit more like, what to expect from them on the defensive end.”
Without his two best quarterbacks, Washington would have to rely on his offensive running game. Less Scherff, it becomes more difficult. Since week 10, Washington has thrown the ball 170 times. Washington went 4-1 during that time. Only three teams ran the ball more in that streak and all played on Sunday.