3 Commanders backups who could become starters in 2023

James Smith-Williams
James Smith-Williams / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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Which Washington Commanders backups could potentially emerge into starting options at some stage during the 2023 campaign?

Geron Christian Jr. was supposed to be the Washington Commanders' starting left tackle heading into the 2020 season. Landon Collins and William Jackson III were to be mainstays of the secondary prior to the first game of 2021. Last season, Antonio Gibson began the season as the No. 1 running back.

The fact that Cornelius Lucas, Benjamin St-Juste, Darrick Forrest, and Brian Robinson Jr. all took over as starters during those campaigns grew out of different situations, but lead to the same conclusion. It is almost certain that by the end of 2023, a couple of projected backups will have become starters for the Commanders.

Let’s predict a few likely candidates for such a boost. But first, an added bonus.

A kicker to be announced by the Commanders later

I hope I’m wrong about this. I hope this is the year that Joey Slye becomes one of the best kickers in the league. He has the talent to reach that level. He just needs consistency.

Plenty of quality NFL kickers have needed a few years to figure the game out. Perhaps this is the year Slye really locks in.

He hasn’t been all that bad for the Commanders. Slye has had some excellent games. And his field goal-kicking has been just fine. The troubling stat is that in 23 games for Washington, he has missed five extra points. His field goal accuracy is actually better than his extra point accuracy, which is kind of mystifying.

I’ve been advocating for the Commanders to employ a kicking coach, something that few NFL teams have traditionally done, but which is gaining some momentum around the league. The Baltimore Ravens were the first team to have a full-time kicking coach on staff and they have had the best kicker/punter combinations in the league.