What pleasant surprises emerged from an otherwise underwhelming 2023 season for the Washington Commanders?
It was a season to forget for the Washington Commanders. They are in the midst of great change as a result. Something Josh Harris and his brain trust have been planning for a considerable period based on their rapid-fire intent since the 2023 campaign concluded.
Ron Rivera is out as expected. The Commanders are putting a new front office infrastructure in place headed by either Adam Peters or Ian Cunningham - the two finalists for Washington's new head of football operations post. The times are changing and every fan should be thrilled at the prospect after so much misery over the last two decades.
Nobody will remember what transpired over the last few months with any great fondness. There were more failures than positives, but there were a few bright spots to emerge amid the chaos.
With this in mind, here are three pleasant surprises from the Commanders' 2023 season.
Commanders WR Terry McLaurin's milestone
Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin gained more than 1,000 receiving yards for a fourth-consecutive season. This is something fans have come to expect from the team alpha. But considering how stagnant things became offensively - especially over the second half of the campaign - it didn't look feasible once upon a time.
Eric Bieniemy was accused of not targeting McLaurin enough during Sam Howell's early development. It was tough going where the former Ohio State star was concerned more often than not. He went over 100 receiving yards just once but remained a professional leader within the locker room despite results and performances spiraling out of control.
McLaurin dug deep down the stretch when most downed tools. He was rewarded by attaining four figures in the second half of their Week 18 loss against the Dallas Cowboys. While this was almost the minimum requirement before the season began, the fact he reached 1,000 yards in these circumstances was a pleasant surprise.
After all, there wasn't much else to go off.