The NFL is a sport of attrition. Oftentimes, the last team left standing in the playoffs is not only talented, but the most healthy of the remaining bunch.
For the Washington Commanders, their woeful injury luck ultimately derailed their hopes of qualifying for the tournament. A December COVID outbreak didn’t help matters, but injuries were very much the theme of Washington’s season.
In order to find which team was hurt most by injuries, a recent study weighed how many games a player missed and said player’s average salary per game. Of all 32 teams, the Commanders checked in second with a $20,488,742 sum.
The league average was $13.5 million, so that really puts into context how many important players missed time for Washington. Luckily, though, 2022 is a new year — a fresh start some would say — so let’s highlight some players the Commanders will be thrilled to have back on the field this year.
5 players Commanders will be thrilled to have back
5 & 4. Sam Cosmi/Chase Roullier
We could’ve put “Washington’s entire offensive line” and gotten away with it, but that would’ve been disrespectful to Charles Leno and Erek Flowers, who played 17 and 16 games, respectively, and 100 percent and 99 percent of the snaps.
With Brandon Scherff no longer in the picture, it felt right to give the nod to Chase Roullier and Sam Cosmi. We’ll start with Roullier, Washington’s oft-overlooked center who suffered a fractured fibula in the Week 8 road loss to Denver.
The former sixth-round pick out of Wyoming has improved with each season and posted a career-high 83.7 player grade, including a sublime 86.1 pass-blocking grade, from Pro Football Focus before the injury. Roullier is as consistent as they come at the center position and his return will be huge for the offense.
Cosmi, the team’s second-round pick out of Texas, is just one in a long list of Washington players who struggled to say healthy last year.
The promising right tackle is already an elite run-blocker and can ascend up the RT power rankings if he improves in pass pro, which will presumably happen with more playing time because Cosmi has all the makings of a franchise lineman.
Words cannot describe how badly the Commanders need their offensive line to remain upright next campaign. For better or worse, Roullier and Cosmi will play a huge role in that.