Commanders defense: Breaking down past seasons to project the future in 2023

Jack Del Rio and Ron Rivera
Jack Del Rio and Ron Rivera / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders defense in 2021

  • (7-10 record, missed playoffs) 

Unfortunately, Washington's 2021 campaign was doomed from the very beginning. Prized offseason acquisitions Ryan Fitzpatrick and Curtis Samuel each missed essentially the entire season due to injuries after both were signed to boost the underperforming offense.

Washington was greatly impacted by injuries to multiple starters at key positions, failing to find consistent production at quarterback, defensive end, tight end, and along the offensive line.

To make matters worse, their entire defense struggled to live up to lofty expectations, falling to the bottom of the league in nearly every quantifiable metric with the team finishing the year at 7-10 and missing the playoffs.


  • 25th in points allowed
  • 22nd in yards allowed
  • 18th in first downs allowed
  • 11th in rush TDs against
  • 32nd in pass TDs against
  • 23rd in turnovers forced
  • 12th in penalties against


  • INT - Bobby McCain (4)
  • Sacks - Jonathan Allen (9)
  • Tackles - Cole Holcomb (142)
  • Tackles for Loss - Jonathan Allen (10)

Just one season after winning the division, Washington was now left on the outside looking in. Chase Young's electric rookie season was but a distant memory as the former No. 2 overall pick struggled mightily in his second stint before a gruesome knee injury ended his sophomore campaign prematurely.

Washington would go into the 2022 offseason again searching for an answer at quarterback as well as help on the offensive line. With some luck in the injury department and better play under center, fans were hopeful for a quick turnaround.