3 reasons to be concerned about the Commanders in 2022
The Washington Commanders enter 2022 in a large conglomerate of middle-tier teams. This middling tier features teams with talented rosters or young, ascending quarterbacks that are attempting to surge into perennial playoff contenders.
Washington certainly has some reasons to feel optimistic about its chances to compete for an NFC East title in 2022. There is a reason they aren’t considered a Super Bowl Contender, though. The roster has its shortcomings.
Few, if any, rosters within the NFL at all are a picturesque masterpiece. While we already have established the reasons for Commanders’ fans to be excited into 2022, here are some areas to keep close tabs on for Washington.
In other words, here is a dose of reality about Washington’s imperfect, yet still talented roster.
3 causes for concern for the Commanders in 2022
1. Lack of defensive depth
To get a more in-depth look at this, I will point you to my in-depth breakdown of this a few weeks ago here.
At linebacker, after Cole Holcomb the depth is lackluster at best. Jamin Davis will be asked to take on a larger role after a poor rookie year,
In 210 run defense snaps, Davis was responsible for only 11 defensives “stops” according to PFF. That is at a rate of 5%, one of the lowest in the NFL for snap-eligible linebackers, while Davis also had a 14% missed tackle rate. His athleticism should allow him to be fine in pass coverage but he cannot be washed out in the run game as often as he was in 2022. Because the depth behind him is lackluster, at best.
Along the interior of the defensive line, the only reliable depth is second-round rookie Phidarian Mathis. And even he hasn’t played a snap in the NFL, so he is a bit of a wild card.
Cornerback has a noticeable lack of depth, especially on the outside behind William Jackson III and Kendall Fuller. Corn Elder and Danny Johnson are the two main veteran depth pieces. Elder is strictly a slot-only player, playing 80% of his total career snaps there. Johnson has some experience on the outside but a move inside last year produced his best season in the NFL, especially against the run.
The only players with notable experience lining up at outside corner is Benjamin St-Juste, who is the favorite to win Washington’s starting slot corner job. Christian Holmes, a seventh-round rookie, and Josh Drayden, a UDFA, are the other two.
Holmes has impressed in both the spring and the early portions of training camp. But with him being the only reliable outside piece behind the starting three, should be a concern for the Commanders.
The starting eleven for Washington’s defense is exciting, especially once Chase Young is back to full health. But depth at some key spots is very concerning.