3 Saints players entering the last chance saloon in 2021
By Kristen Wong
3. Dwayne Washington
We have absolutely nothing against Dwayne Washington’s skills and abilities….as a special teams player. In 11 games last season, Washington was part of the league’s leading punt-coverage team (2.3 yards per runback) and the second-ranked kickoff-coverage squad (17.2).
In the last three years, Washington has provided low-cost value and depth and could stay on the roster purely as a special teams asset.
It’s not that Washington is grossly underperforming. Rather, it’s his competition.
If he’s still gunning for running back in 2021, Washington would be lucky to nab even the third RB spot behind Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. He has just 43 carries for 229 total yards with New Orleans, and his numbers (and chances) continue to decline. In 2018, he had 27 carries for 154 yards; in 2020, he had eight carries for 15 yards.
Apart from one 108-yard outing against Carolina in 2018 (when Kamara was injured), Washington has been a break-in-case-of-emergency running back who only gets touches in blowout games. Five of Washington’s carries last season came in the second half of a 38-3 rout of the Buccaneers. If the Saints are looking for someone to just run down the clock, any player will do.
Some more of his competition: new fullback signing Alex Armah, who could be heavily used in the lineup, rival Ty Montgomery, who seems to be Payton’s preferred third RB choice, and doe-eyed but extra eager rookies in Tony Jones Jr. and Stevie Scott.
So far, Washington has done little to stand out in New Orleans, and 2021 could be his last chance to prove he can run the ball, or sit back and settle for a special teams spot.