Tim Settle’s dominant Bills debut is brutal for Commanders fans
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders‘ management of their defensive line this offseason was widely questioned by fans. Long story short, they seemed keen on extending Daron Payne before ultimately backtracking for whatever reason.
While the front office made up its mind, however, it released Matt Ioannidis, who totaled 20.5 sacks spanning 2017-19, and allowed Tim Settle, the team’s promising fifth-round pick from 2018, to sign with Buffalo as a free agent.
From there, the Commanders used their second-round pick on Alabama interior defender Phidarian Mathis. At the time, the pick was scrutinized because Washington essentially backed itself into a corner by not coming to a conclusion on Payne’s future and cutting bait with Ioannidis and Settle.
Basically, fans argued that the pick could’ve been used on another position had Washington been more organized and assertive in its decision-making.
But whatever. No sense crying over spilled milk, right? That depends who you ask, because Settle dominated in his Bills preseason debut.
Will the Commanders regret not re-signing Tim Settle?
That was the very first snap of the game. Lined up against center Ryan Kelly, a three-time Pro Bowler, Settle breezed past the lineman, blew up the running lane and managed to trip up Colts running back Nyheim Hines. An impressive display of technique athleticism from the Virginia Tech product.
Settle driving back Kelly is one thing, but the 25-year-old did one better by manhandling Quenton Nelson, arguably the best pound-for-pound guard in the NFL (a first-team All-Pro in three of his first four seasons), later in the game.
It’s not very often Nelson gets moved like that and Settle likely would’ve had him on the ground had Matt Ryan held onto the rock any longer. However, it was Settle’s utter dominance of Nelson that forced Ryan into the quick release.
Another highlight shows Settle holding his ground against Kelly before tossing the talented center aside like a rag-doll and gobbling up Hines.
Sure, it’s only the preseason, but Settle routinely holding his own against Pro Bowl-caliber linemen suggests he could’ve done the same for Washington. While Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne were ahead of him on the depth chart, it still never made sense that Settle played as little as he did in four years.
Here’s some other angles of Settle’s eye-opening debut.
Again, one preseason game doesn’t prove anything, but this performance aligns with how glowingly Bills media and fans have spoken about Settle since he signed. Barring an injury, it looks as though the former Washington reserve will become an essential role player on this season’s Super Bowl favorite.
That’d be a pretty bad look for the Commanders’ front office.