Washington Commanders Season Preview 2023: Roster, Schedule, Expectations & More

Washington Commanders Season Preview 2023: Roster, Schedule, Expectations & More
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Here is your Washington Commanders Season Preview with everything you need to know ahead of the 2023 season

The Washington Commanders have become a regular low to mid-standard NFL team. One playoff appearance I’m the last 8 years and no playoff wins since 2005. But they are rarely drafting in the top 5 either. That being said, the roster they have built for 2023 looks threatening. It is only lacking in one crucial area: quarterback. With Head Coach Ron Rivera entering year 4 and a new owner taking charge, he is under significant pressure to earn a first playoff berth for Washington as the Commanders.

2023 Washington Commanders Schedule

  • Week 1: Arizona
  • Week 2: @ Denver
  • Week 3: Buffalo
  • Week 4: @ Philadelphia
  • Week 5: Chicago
  • Week 6: @ Atlanta
  • Week 7: @ New York Giants
  • Week 8: Eagles
  • Week 9: @ New England
  • Week 10: @ Seattle
  • Week 11: New York Giants
  • Week 12: @ Dallas
  • Week 13: Miami
  • Week 14: Bye
  • Week 15: @ LA Rams
  • Week 16: @ New York Jets
  • Week 17: San Francisco
  • Week 18: Dallas

Coaching Staff

GM: Martin Mayhew; HC: Ron Rivera; OC: Eric Bienemy; DC: Jack Del Rio; ST: Nate Kaczor

Players In

Via Trade – None

Free Agents – Michael Badgley (K), Brandon Dillon (TE), Jaryd Jones-Smith (T), Trenton Scott (G), Abdullah Anderson (DE), Jacoby Brissett (QB), Andrew Wylie (T), Cody Barton (LB) & Nick Gates (G)

Draft Picks

  • Round 1, Pick 16 – Emmanuel Forbes (CB, Mississippi State)
  • Round 2, Pick 47 – Jartavius Martin (S, Illinois)
  • Round 3, Pick 97 – Ricky Stromberg (C, Arkansas)
  • Round 4, Pick 118 – Braeden Daniels (OL, Utah)
  • Round 5, Pick 137 – K.J. Henry (Edge, Clemson)
  • Round 6, Pick 193 – Chris Rodriguez (RB, Kentucky)
  • Round 7, Pick 233 – Andre Jones (Edge, Louisiana)            

Players Out

Taylor Heinicke (QB), Cole Holcomb (LB), Wes Schweitzer (OG) & Bobby McCain (S)

Projected Washington Commanders Starters

QB – Sam Howell

RB – Brian Robinson

WR – Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson & Curtis Samuel

TE – Logan Thomas

OL – Charles Leno Jr, Chris Paul, Nick Gates, Sam Cosmi & Andrew Wylie

DL – Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen & Chase Young

LBs – Jamin Davis, Cody Barton

Secondary – Kendall Fuller, Kamren Curl, Darrick Forrest, Emmanuel Forbes & Jartavius Martin

Washington have three key weaknesses: quarterback, cornerback and offensive line. While cornerback and offensive line have been addressed, there is still room for improvement. What’s more, a poor offensive line and a young, raw quarterback is a poor combination, especially when Taylor Heinicke was a serviceable option last year.

2023 Star Player

Washington’s main strength is their defensive line, built of four phenoms: Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Darron Payne & Jonathan Allen. It’s only fair to focus on the star of the group Jonathan Allen. Allen has 33.5 career sacks from the interior, with 7.5 last year. He is a huge presence that stuffs the run and provides penetration, with 16 tackles for loss and 17 QB hits a year ago. He also disrupts the ball in the air, with an interception and three pass deflections in 2022.

It’s also worth noting WR Terry McLaurin. While the receiving unit has been built up around him, losing McLaurin would likely knock them out of playoff consideration.

2023 Breakout Player

For the Washington Commanders season to be a success, it has to be Sam Howell. The Commanders have a solid roster but lack a superstar at quarterback. With Taylor Heinicke gone, the choice has come down to Jacoby Brissett and Sam Howell. While Brissett is an experienced, serviceable option, it appears that Howell will get the reigns. It’s a shocking move given that the sophomore Howell has one game under his belt, going 11-19 for 169 yards with a TD and an interception. This appears to be a glorified job interview for Howell and if he proves good enough to start all 17 games, the Commanders will be set up well to compete for a wildcard spot and build for the future.

Season Expectations

The Commanders were the one NFC East team to miss out on the playoffs, despite avoiding allowing record. In the end they were half a game out but ruled out before Week 18. This year they have the roster to challenge in a wide open NFC. In truth though, it will be down to whether Sam Howell can sink or swim.

The Commanders are more than capable of earning a wildcard spot. Backing them to achieve that may be a step too far though, especially in such a crowded, even division. The question is, what will be seen as acceptable success for the new ownership or will this year be Ron Rivera’s last in the capital?

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