Commanders interior run blocking
The Washington Commanders offensive line certainly showed some signs of improvement against the Baltimore Ravens. The pass protection was rather good throughout the game.
Sam Howell took one bad sack early on, and there were a couple of other times when the protection did not adjust to overloads, which resulted in free runners and blown-up plays. But all-in-all, the line traded off on stunts quite well, and Andrew Wylie didn’t have the same problems he had against the Cleveland Browns a week ago.
Yes, the line did play better. But only in terms of pass protection. This unit – especially the interior – does not run block very well. Right guard Sam Cosmi provides a perfect example of this.
Cosmi is a converted college offensive tackle. He is athletic and moves well. He held up well in pass protection. When he was asked to pull on counters, he did quite well. But when he was asked to fire out and move defensive tackles, he wasn’t nearly as effective.
On the Commanders' first offensive snap, veteran tackle Brent Urban ate his lunch and tackled ballcarrier Brian Robinson on the line of scrimmage. This would happen a few more times during the course of the first half.
Cosmi, for all his athleticism, is simply not a very good drive blocker. The other interior linemen – Saahdiq Charles and center Nick Gates - are not particularly effective at firing forward either.
This may be one of the downsides of moving college tackles inside. They are good in space, but not nearly as strong in the trenches.
Since the Commanders cannot go back in time and draft Cody Mauch or O’Cyrus Torrence, they will have to work with what they have. Ricky Stromberg and/or Chris Paul might help out a bit over time, but this may also require some scheme adjustment.
Counters and traps that allow the guards to move laterally will be better suited for this personnel. Robinson is an excellent cutback runner and Antonio Gibson and Chris Rodriguez Jr. should be able to perform well in that scheme as well.
Cosmi is not going anywhere, so the running game either has to accentuate his strengths or else try shifting him back outside to tackle.