Listed here are 5 issues the Commanders in all probability gained’t (however perhaps will!) accomplish this season:
1. Carson Wentz will begin each sport.
Why it’s preposterous: Within the 4 seasons since Kirk Cousins signed with the Minnesota Vikings after he began all 16 video games for Washington in 2017, 10 quarterbacks have began for the burgundy and gold. Solely two of them — Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke — began as many as 10 video games in a season. (Final 12 months, offseason acquisition Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a season-ending hip harm within the second quarter of the opener, ruining his hopes of eclipsing the preposterous 35 landing passes predicted on this area.) Wentz beginning each sport would require him to remain wholesome and be efficient. Heinicke is aware of Washington’s offense effectively after beginning 15 video games final 12 months, and rookie Sam Howell flashed his potential within the preseason.
Why it might occur: Wentz has confronted sturdiness questions since tearing his ACL in his second season, however he began all 17 video games for Indianapolis final 12 months. Although the 29-year-old will not be the long-term reply at quarterback, the Commanders believed he was sufficient of an improve over Heinicke to tackle his full contract. For all the priority throughout coaching camp about his accuracy, Wentz has thrown precisely 27 touchdowns in opposition to seven interceptions in two of the previous three seasons. (This prediction will rely as a win if Wentz begins the primary 16 video games and sits out the common season finale as a result of Washington has clinched a playoff spot.)
2. Jahan Dotson will lead all rookies in receiving yards.
Why it’s preposterous: Dotson, the sixteenth choose on this 12 months’s draft, was the fifth broad receiver off the board. Eight extra glided by the top of the second spherical, so the competitors will probably be stiff. Moreover, the 5-foot-11, 182-pound speedster is way from Washington’s major choice within the passing sport and will probably be sharing targets with Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel and Logan Thomas, amongst others.
Jahan Dotson has lit up Commanders camp. What might the season maintain?
Why it might occur: Most of the broad receivers taken within the first two rounds of the draft went to groups with equally shaky quarterback conditions. No. 8 choose Drake London will probably be catching passes from Marcus Mariota in Atlanta, and New York Jets first-round choose Garrett Wilson will rely on second-year QB Zach Wilson. Former Alabama star Jameson Williams, who remains to be recovering from an ACL harm, will crew up with Jared Goff in Detroit. In Washington, Samuel and Thomas are coming off accidents, so there’s an opportunity Dotson, who confirmed big-play means throughout coaching camp, can have his quantity referred to as fairly a bit.
3. Washington will end with a top-five scoring protection.
Why it’s preposterous: The Commanders return a lot of the identical personnel — together with coordinator Jack Del Rio — from the disappointing unit that ranked twenty fifth in scoring protection final 12 months, permitting 25.5 factors per sport. Washington, which final led the league in scoring protection within the strike-shortened 1982 season, has completed within the high 5 within the class solely two instances since its final Tremendous Bowl title within the 1991 season. Defensive finish Chase Younger will miss at the very least the primary 4 video games as he continues to recuperate from a knee harm. Moreover, the third-down woes and miscommunication among the many secondary that plagued the protection final 12 months have been an issue once more in the course of the preseason.
Why it might occur: Washington ranked fourth in scoring protection in 2020, Del Rio’s first season on the helm, and has tweaked its scheme to characteristic extra two-linebacker units in 2022. Even with Younger on the sideline, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat give the Commanders a stout defensive position. Washington has a weaker schedule than it did final season, when it confronted Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson — all earlier than the calendar turned to December. Plus, Del Rio deactivated his Twitter account, releasing up time to concentrate on soccer.
4. At the least two Commanders will probably be named first-team all-pro.
Why it’s preposterous: In 2020, guard Brandon Scherff was Washington’s first participant since punter Matt Turk in 1996 to earn first-team all-pro honors, as voted by the Related Press. A brand new streak started final 12 months, when no Washington participant made the primary crew — or the second crew, for that matter. Scherff, Washington’s finest offensive lineman since fellow first-team all-pro Trent Williams left city, signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars within the offseason.
Why it might occur: The Commanders have loads of all-pro-worthy expertise, particularly on protection. Younger gained’t have a full season to impress voters, however along with Sweat, Payne and Allen, linebacker Cole Holcomb has developed into one of many NFL’s finest younger defenders. The 26-year-old, who’s within the remaining 12 months of his rookie contract, is anticipated to tackle an elevated function after main the crew with 142 tackles a season in the past. Working again Antonio Gibson is a sneaky contender to make the all-pro crew as a returner, and punter Tress Approach is a particular groups ace.
5. Washington will win at the very least 10 video games.
Why it’s preposterous: After final 12 months’s 7-10 marketing campaign marked the ninth straight season that Washington did not crack double-digit wins, the Commanders’ over/below win whole is 7½ at most sportsbooks. The franchise has gained 10 video games solely thrice in the course of the Daniel Snyder period.
Why it might occur: Third-year coach Ron Rivera skilled a breakthrough in his third season with Carolina, guiding the Panthers to 12 wins in 2013 after back-to-back shedding years. On the outset of coaching camp this summer season, Rivera rejected the notion that the approaching season must be thought of playoffs or bust. “It’s honest to say we anticipate to win,” he stated, “and we’ll go away it at that. … I believe the most important factor, extra so than anything, is why put strain on us? Why don’t we simply go away it at profitable?” Washington has an opportunity to get off to a quick begin with video games in opposition to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions within the first two weeks, so there’s a path to 10 wins.