When Washington lost defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis for the season with a bicep injury in Week 3 last season, its defense lost a valuable member of its vaunted defensive line.
Washington’s defense initially struggled after Ioannidis’ injury, allowing 30 points 30 or more points in its next three games in 2020. The injury to Ioannidis meant less rotating for Washington’s interior defensive linemen.
While the WFT defense would put together a strong run later in the season, it certainly missed Ioannidis and his pass-rushing ability.
His longtime running mate, Jonathan Allen, recently told Zach Selby of washingtonfootball.com, he was excited to have Ioannidis back.
“Matt’s a core…to this defensive line group,” Allen said. “It’s exciting and good to have him back.”
While defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young receive most of the attention for Washington’s pass rush, the team’s interior rushers are also very good. Tim Settle, Daron Payne, and Allen combined for 10 sacks in 2020.
Ioannidis had 1.5 sacks in just over two games of action in 2020. In 2019, Ioannidis recorded 8.5 sacks. The year before, he finished with 7.5 sacks.
Defensive line coach Sam Mills III certainly knows what the team is getting back in Ioannidis.
“It helps us tremendously,” said Mills. “It’s a stability factor that Matt gives us and a big body that’s played a lot of snaps inside.”
Head coach Ron Rivera believes the return of Ioannidis will make an already strong defense even better in 2021.
“We were good last year; I think we can be better with Matt out there on the football field helping us,” Rivera said. “What you’ve seen is him working doing the extra things, the little things that help develop your skill set.”
Ioannidis is a popular player — and a good player. Washington’s defense was excellent in stretches last season, and now with the return of Ioannidis and Landon Collins, paired with the additions of William Jackson III, Jamin Davis and Bobby McCain, the Football Team could be the NFL’s best in 2021.
Leave a Reply