3 Commanders players facing an uphill battle at 2024 training camp

These Commanders players have soome hard work ahead.
John Ridgeway III
John Ridgeway III / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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John Ridgeway III - Commanders DT

Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr. come into the Washington Commanders with a blossoming defensive reputation. Adam Peters worked tirelessly to strengthen this unit to match their schematic concepts. This was necessary and welcome in equal measure after another lackluster campaign in 2023.

Perhaps the most surprising addition came when the Commanders selected Johnny Newton at No. 36 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. Peters examined the possibility of trading up for the defensive lineman despite having an abundance of options in this area of the field. They managed to take him without sacrificing any additional capital, which was a huge win for those in power.

Newton was one of 20 prospects to get the gold label from the Commanders' decision-makers. This wasn't the biggest need when one considers the presence of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. However, Peters didn't want to refuse this sort of gift during the initial stages of his substantial rebuild.

Newton, Payne, and Allen will form a destructive trio that can be used creatively by the coaching staff in multiple alignments. It might be too soon to give up on Phidarian Mathis after a luckless start to his NFL career. That places John Ridgeway III firmly under the microscope.

Ridgeway is a popular figure and a capable performer. He didn't show enough consistency when called upon last season, but the interior presence is dependable on the health front and has scope for further improvement under more accomplished coaches.

At the same time, the challenge awaiting Ridgeway throughout Washington's training camp is steep. He needs to outperform Mathis during drills and when reps come his way in the preseason. Anything less could see the former Arkansas standout seeking alternative employment when final cuts arrive.

Overcoming adversity is nothing new for Ridgeway. But much will also depend on how many interior defensive linemen the Commanders decide to take through onto their 53-man roster.