3 causes for concern from Commanders first preseason game
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders suffered a 23-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers in their first preseason game this past weekend. The team struggled to muster offense early and struggled to stop the Panthers’ passing attack and found itself in a 20-6 hole before Sam Howell authored a gutty fourth quarter comeback.
All in all, it was a positive afternoon for the Commanders.
Carson Wentz looked in command of the offense even though he was reluctant to throw downfield, Brian Robinson was better than anyone could’ve hoped for, the offensive line was quietly dominant as per and undrafted free agents Armani Rogers, Curtis Hodges, Steven Parker and Kyric McGown all stood out.
Like any game, however, there were multiple causes for concern. Yes, it’s only preseason, but the regular season will be here before we know it so these issues will have to be nipped in the bud relatively quickly. Let’s run through them.
3 causes for concern from Commanders’ preseason opener
3. Linebacker Room
Washington’s linebacker room didn’t cover itself in glory Saturday. Only four players got into the game — Cole Holcomb, Jamin Davis, David Mayo and Khaleke Hudson. It seemed as though the Panthers made it a point of emphasis to target the middle of the field in the passing game, and they largely found success.
David Mayo was the only linebacker to allow a first down in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus, but the group didn’t do much to hinder Carolina’s running game, either. A run specialist, Mayo performed well in stretches last season but offenses will look to isolate him in coverage whenever he’s on the field.
Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio better make sure Nathan Gerry or one of the Commanders’ other linebackers are playing in obvious passing situations.