Solutions to potential Commanders problems in 2023
The Washington Commanders are going to need its above-average defensive line to be dominant if they are to avoid having the ball run down their throats. Montez Sweat is always capable of making a great play behind the line the way he did on the goal line against the Cleveland Browns, but he cannot do it alone.
The interior of the defensive line is sturdy, but we have seen what happens against quality offensive lines. The tackles can hold up their counterparts, but if the linebackers aren’t stepping into the gaps, it’s trouble.
And don't even get me started on what happens if one of the starters gets hurt.
Given all that, I will make three predictions/solutions to these complications about the 2023 season:
1- The Commanders should continue to morph their base defense to the point that it will line up in a 5-1-5 set at least 30 percent of the time. The one linebacker will be Cody Barton, with Jamin Davis intermittently lining up at defensive end. Backup linemen Efe Obada, Phidarian Mathis, and John Ridgeway each play more than one-third of the team’s defensive snaps.
2 - Kamren Curl and Darrick Forrest end up becoming the Commanders' top two tacklers. This is not a good thing. Though they are capable of stepping into the running lanes, you would prefer to have a linebacker be your leading tackler – or at the very least – your second-leading tackler.
3 - Because they will be asked to provide run support so much, there will be at least two games lost due to long pass plays in the fourth quarter, where the safeties have been lured forward. I have a lot of confidence in Washington’s primary cover cornerbacks this season, but they will occasionally break down.
And that, more than the offensive line or the quarterback or the tight ends – that is what is going to sabotage the Commanders in 2023.