3 position battles to watch during Commanders 2023 preseason finale vs. Bengals

Keep an eye on these postion battles during the last official chance to impress.

Kazmeir Allen
Kazmeir Allen / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders WR depth

This is one of the most exciting groups on the roster, and with Eric Bieniemy’s pedigree, we can expect the Washington Commanders will make more use of their weapons than they have in recent years.

In 2022, only three wideouts had double-digit receptions. Only three totaled more than 150 yards or were targeted more than 20 times within Scott Turner's uninspiring offensive system.

Those three – Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel – are all back in 2023 and should post solid numbers. They will most likely be joined by two other veterans – Dyami Brown and Byron Pringle – who should top the meager numbers recorded by the fourth and fifth receivers last year.

Those five players are probably secure. That leaves either one or two more spots still up for grabs. It will likely come down to a competition between these four receivers – Kazmeir Allen, Marcus Kemp, Dax Milne, and Mitchell Tinsley.

I see no scenario in which both Allen and Milne make the roster. Barring something quite unforeseen, one of them will be the team’s primary kick returner this season.

I think Allen has a slight edge here, but it is not a lock. For one thing, though he is clearly a better kickoff returner, the return is being almost legislated out of the pro game.

Allen will have to prove he is a better punt returner than Milne. The veteran is not spectacular, but he is steady and the coaches have experience with him. They may feel more comfortable relying on the BYU product over the rookie. I would pay a lot of attention to who is returning punts on Saturday.

Before the signing of Pringle, I thought Kemp would make the team as a special team ace. But the Commanders may decide that he is too much of a specialist. If they feel like some of their other backups can perform on coverage teams, he may find himself waiting around on the practice squad.

As for Tinsley, his fate may be directly tied to how serious McLaurin’s toe injury proves to be. The Commanders have four other quality receivers to pick up the slack, but if they have concerns about how quickly their talisman can safely return, they might decide to hold onto the undrafted free agent as insurance.

We have heard nothing but raves about his performances in camp. Look for Tinsley to be targeted a lot come Saturday - if he can make a couple of big plays in the game, he may force his way onto the roster as a seventh receiver.