A disappointing outing in week one left the Denver secondary with a bad taste in its mouth, but a favorable matchup with Washington in week two should be the perfect opportunity for the defense to correct the mistakes of last weekend.
In Denver's 17-16 loss to the Raiders in week one, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed about 76 percent of his passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. While the Broncos' defense managed to snag one interception, Garoppolo and the Raiders' passing attack continuously made plays that kept the Denver defense on the field.
Against a Washington team that- on paper- should have a hard time throwing the ball around, the Denver secondary should look forward to a "get right" performance. Second-year quarterback Sam Howell will start just his third career game on Sunday for the Commanders. The young QB has posted modest numbers and has a 2-0 career record, but with veterans like Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson at the safety, Denver should be expected to dominate Howell.
By far the most dangerous component to Washington's passing attack is Pro Bowl receiver Terry McLaurin. The former third-round pick has posted three 1,000-yard seasons in just four years in the NFL, an impressive feat when considering Washington's porous quarterbacking situations over the last half-decade. McLaurin is a serious threat, but Denver's own All-Pro, cornerback Patrick Surtain II, should provide all of the answers. Surtain held All-Pro receiver Davante Adams in check in week one, and should be able to do the same against McLaurin in week two.
The point of concern in the Denver secondary comes from its other corner spot. Second-year corner Damarri Mathis had some well-documented struggles against the Raiders in week one. Jakobi Meyers, Vegas' number two receiver, posted nine receptions, 81 yards and two touchdowns with most of that production coming against Mathis in week one.
Mathis will once again have his hands full against the Commanders. Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel can both be dangerous weapons and with Surtain checking McLaurin, Mathis should expect to see plenty of Dotson and Samuel.
I expect Mathis to bounce back in week two. The young corner has come back from rough outings before, and week two against a flimsy Commanders offense is the perfect opportunity for a better performance. With an inexperienced Sam Howell quarterbacking the opposition on Sunday, and week one jitters are no longer being a factor, the Denver secondary should have a field day. If the secondary posts another brutal performance, the Broncos will be in a whirlwind of trouble.