The Washington Commanders and Jacksonville Jaguars locking horns in Week 1 is fitting for several reasons.
Not only will Carson Wentz play the team that essentially ended his Colts tenure in Week 18 of last season, but he’ll reunite with former head coach Doug Pederson and former longtime offensive lineman Brandon Scherff returns to his old stomping grounds after he left as a free agent this offseason.
The Scherff narrative won’t be nearly as discussed as Wentz-Jaguars, but it’s arguably more meaningful for Commanders fans given Scherff is one of the team’s most decorated players of the last decade.
Aside from Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams, who admittedly left on sour terms, Scherff was the face of Washington Football during his seven-year tenure. This matchup definitely means something extra for Scherff, but the newly-minted Jaguars captain downplayed his return to FedEx Field this week.
While previewing the Commanders-Jaguars showdown, Scherff dished out praise to some of his former teammates on the defensive line, too.
Brandon Scherff praised his former Commanders teammates ahead of his return to Washington this Sunday.
"“It’s going to be really weird,” Scherff said, via NBC Sports Washington. “I spent seven years there and had a lot of fun, a lot of memories. It’s going to be different. I’m excited because it’s the start of the new season and we’re playing football. This is our job, this is what we dream about doing.”"
It’s going to be weird for us too, Scherff, don’t you worry. Much like Wentz facing Jacksonville and Pederson, the five-time Pro Bowler has to see a silver lining in getting his return to Washington over with early. Better to rip the band-aid off.
While Scherff is as consistent as they come at the guard position, the Jaguars’ make-do offensive line, which PFF ranked 26th of 32 teams heading into the season, will have their work cut out to hinder Washington’s defensive line.
Practicing against these players every day, Scherff knows what Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat bring to the table. He even got to witness Chase Young’s stellar rookie season, though Young won’t be on the field this Sunday.
"“Jon Allen is as good as they come — he’s strong, he’s physical,” Scherff said. “Daron Payne, I’d say he’s really, really strong and he’s fast. He’s sneaky fast. He’s an underrated pass rusher; he’s a really good football player.”“It’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us because I know how they practice every day and they practice really hard. They’re a heck of a defensive front.”"
Scherff even made the time to praise backup DL Daniel Wise, who made the Commanders’ final roster after a strong camp and preseason, saying he “practiced against him every day last year and he’s a heck of a player, too.”
Of course, Scherff didn’t forget about Washington’s edge rushers. Of Montez Sweat, Scherff said he’s “never see anyone that big run that fast.”
Is anyone really shocked Scherff exuded class in this presser? While he rebuffed a chance to sign with Washington long-term, per GM Martin Mayhew, it’s clear that was nothing personal (would you turn down the chance to become the highest paid player at your position?) and he has the utmost respect for his former teammates.
That said, we hope the Commanders stomp Scherff’s Jaguars on Sunday.