4 players who must step up after Commanders lengthy injury report
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders‘ first training camp practice is at 9 a.m. EST on Wednesday. The excitement surrounding Ron Rivera’s group is tangible, but the team will be down multiple starters to open the all-important camp.
After players reported on Tuesday, the Commanders announced Chase Young (knee), Chase Roullier (leg), Logan Thomas (knee) and Tyler Larsen (Achilles) will all open training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Additionally, Cornelius Lucas landed on the active/non-football injury list.
It’s unclear when this quintet — the latter three of whom are starters — will return, but their respective absences give players who play the same positions to get more reps, which makes for an interesting next couple of days/weeks.
At the same time, this injury report gives certain players the opportunity to really step up as leaders of their position groups. With practice underway in just over an hour, let’s highlight players who must step up in the interim.
4 Commanders who must step up after injury report
4 & 3. Saahdiq Charles/Wes Schweitzer
We thought about including Wes Schweitzer over Charles, but the versatile offensive lineman has long been expected to play a big role at camp with the Commanders down their top two centers. A guard by trade, Schweitzer has done a masterful job filling in at right guard and center over the last two seasons.
At this point, Schweitzer is an established member of the OL and Washington will need him to keep it up during camp as the team’s de facto first-string center, especially with (another) new quarterback presiding over the offense.
Charles, meanwhile, will also have to step up. With Schweitzer, the club’s top emergency guard, expected to get the lion’s share of snaps at center, the 2020 fourth-round pick out of LSU has suddenly grown in importance.
While Roullier, Lucas and Larsen get healthy, Charles will operate as the Commanders’ top backup swing tackle and guard (he played every position but center last season, according to Pro Football Focus). This is a huge Year 3 for the young lineman and we’ll know pretty enough if he’s up to the challenge.