Washington Commanders 2022 Season Preview – Part 3
Most teams will field a good offense if there is a solid offensive line providing the quarterback with superb protection and opening wide lanes for the running backs. This unit had some major changes during the offseason.
Look for Andrew Norwell (left guard) and Trai Turner (right guard) to be the starters this season. Former Commanders right guard Brandon Scherff decided to sign a massive contract with Jacksonville and Turner will take his place. Former left guard Ereck Flowers remains unsigned at this time and Norwell will assume the starting left guard duties this season.
Seventh round selection Chris Paul and veteran Wes Schweitzer will be the primary backups (Schweitzer can be an emergency backup at center if needed). Veterans Deion Calhoun, Nolan Laufenberg, Willie Beavers, Alex Armah, Beau Benzschawel, and rookie Tyrese Robinson all face long odds to make the final cut. Look for Beavers, Robinson, and Benzschawel to be practice squad candidates.
When Charles Leno turned in a very respectable 2021 campaign at left tackle, the front office wanted to sign him to an extension. Mission accomplished. Widely known as the team comedian, Leno has been a pleasant surprise at one of the most important positions on offense.
Sam Cosmi is penciled in as the starter at right tackle and it would not be surprising to see the massive lineman from Texas take another major leap forward with his progress in 2022.
Cornelius Lucas and Saahdiq Charles will be the likely backups this season, but Charles needs to prove that he belongs. The former fourth round selection from 2019 has struggled with injuries as well. Look for Lucas to be the swing tackle this year.
Aaron Monteiro has the prototypical size for an NFL tackle, but he is likely heading to the practice squad or waivers later this summer.
When Chase Roullier inked a new contract shortly before the end of the 2020 season, the Commanders were able to secure the services of one of the best centers in the league for four additional years. Unfortunately, the former Wyoming Cowboy suffered a season-ending injury and Washington was forced to use a multiplicity of centers down the stretch. Look for Roullier to bounce back and have a positive impact in 2022.
For the second year in a row, Tyler Larsen figures to be the primary backup center, but third year player Keith Ismael could push for serious consideration if he has a solid training camp and preseason. Otherwise, look for Ismael to spend another year on the practice squad. Jon Toth will face an uphill battle and his career hangs in the balance.
The wide receivers and tight ends have experienced major changes in recent weeks, but it’s not as much as we may think. Jahan Dotson is a welcome addition to the wide receiver corps and Cole Turner has a chance to make a difference with the tight ends. Two additions do not constitute a massive change, but the roster has certainly seen a significant transformation with Dotson and Turner.
The revamped offensive line could be one of the better units in the NFL this season. This group was solid in 2021 and 2022 could be even better, especially if the starters can stay healthy.
Don’t look for any additions to the offense at this juncture. The team will roll with the personnel they have for now, but injuries can certainly change that dynamic. The passing attack and the rushing offense look much different in 2022, but look for substantial improvements as well.
We’ll take a look at the defense and special teams within a few days. We’ll focus on individual units, but the structured detail that we were looking to provide for you a couple of months ago has changed. Time is no longer on our side. The quality will still be there, but the quantity has changed. There are many stories that need to be told over the coming weeks and we need to cover every angle possible. Thanks for being patient in recent weeks. Yours truly is back and it is time to get ready for the 2022 season. See you as we go along.