Commanders showcase five-man DL
There was a real sense of relief when the Washington Commanders revealed that stud defensive tackle Daron Payne would be a full-go for their third training camp practice. The former Alabama standout has some increased responsibilities in 2023 after getting a mammoth contract extension worth $90 million with $59 million guaranteed, so missing the opening two practices with a minor toe problem wasn't ideal.
Still, we are early in the process and there didn't seem to be any ill effects where Payne was concerned. His presence on the field also allowed Jack Del Rio to further experiment with a five-man defensive front that is enough to strike fear into the heart of any opposition.
According to those in attendance, Montez Sweat and Chase Young were the edge rushers, 2022 second-round selection Phidarian Mathis operated as a nose tackle presence, with the defensive tackle tandem of Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen alongside him.
While this would arguably leave the Commanders exposed at the second level and secondary, having all five linemen on the field together is going to cause untold complications. If they all stay healthy for the majority of 2023, then expect Del Rio to implement this a lot during the campaign.
Preventing these five from wreaking havoc - especially if Mathis becomes that space-eater on the interior - is impossible. So this undoubted strength is something the Commanders should put to good use when the regular season arrives.