Cole Holcomb injury update is gut punch amid Commanders playoff push

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Cole Holcomb
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Cole Holcomb /

It’s incredible to think the Washington Commanders have been playing as well as they have on defense without Cole Holcomb. Entering Week 13, Holcomb led the team in tackles despite missing the previous five games.

Fans haven’t known what to make of Holcomb’s foot injury. Initially viewed as a multi-week injury, Holcomb landed on injured reserve last week and was scheduled to see a foot specialist to determine the next steps in his recovery.

That update sparked panic amongst fans. Would Holcomb play again this season? Would a four-week spell on injured reserve be enough time for him to get healthy for the stretch run? Typically, surgery is needed when rest and rehab don’t allow injuries to heal.

The Commanders witnessed that first-hand with Ryan Fitzpatrick last season. After opting for rehab to fix his hip subluxation with the hope he’d return late in the campaign, it was ultimately determined Fitz needed season-ending injury; an operation that sadly influenced his decision to retire.

Unfortunately, that’s the exact situation Holcomb is in.

Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the middle linebacker underwent foot surgery and is out for the season.

Commanders LB Cole Holcomb out for the season after foot surgery.

This is a brutal blow to Washington’s playoff hopes. While the Commanders have gotten bye without Holcomb the last six games, he represents a commanding presence in the second level of the defense. Entering Sunday’s game vs the Giants, Holcomb had 11 more tackles than any other Commander this season.

Holcomb has an unteachable nose for the football, and was coming off a career season in 2021 when he finished 10th in the NFL with 142 combined tackles, to go with seven passes defended,  two interceptions — a testament to how much he’s improved in coverage, two forced fumbles, and 43 defensive stops.

Jamin Davis has made dramatic improvements as a sophomore, but he’s still working on developing consistency in his game. The splash plays are coming more frequently, but he still fills the wrong gap against the run and gets lost in coverage. That’s why having Holcomb next to him has been so important.

Following this news, Davis will get all the snaps he can handle at linebacker, with veterans Jon Bostic and David Mayo, the former of whom played 59% of the snaps against the Giants, filling in as his primary sidekicks.

A free agent at season’s end, you have to wonder how Holcomb’s lost contract year impacts his future with the Commanders. Formerly a lock to get re-signed, this injury could upend the front office’s intentions to keep him around.

An interesting offseason awaits, but in the meantime, Washington’s playoff push will continue without its defensive signal-caller.

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