Commanders News: Emmanuel Forbes, Sam Howell, Ron Rivera and power rankings

Examining the latest Commanders news and rumors from around the media.

Emmanuel Forbes
Emmanuel Forbes / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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Which Washington Commanders news stories are hitting the headlines as preparations begin for their Week 16 game at the New York Jets?

The Washington Commanders are crawling towards the finishing line in 2023. Hopes of a wildcard spot are long gone. Replaced by uncertainty and excitement in equal measure as Josh Harris' ownership group gears up to turn the franchise on its head once the season concludes.

Preparations begin for this weekend's clash with the New York Jets with practice today, for anyone still paying attention. While we wait for further developments, the stories causing debate include another slump in ESPN's power rankings, Ron Rivera's explanation on cutting Camaron Cheeseman, why Emmanuel Forbes didn't play much versus the Los Angeles Rams, and a former head coach coming to the defense of Sam Howell.

Let's delve into each topic in more detail.

Commanders drop in ESPN's power rankings

After getting another beating in Week 15 at the Los Angeles Rams, the Washington Commanders inevitably slumped once again in ESPN's weekly power rankings. There isn't much further down Ron Rivera's men can go at No. 30. Only the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers sit below them in the standings.

This week's topic was No. 1. Beat writer John Keim highlighted Washington's defense conceding more touchdowns than almost anybody else. Just one of many reasons behind their demise this season.

"Nothing sums up Washington's season like being tied for first with Arizona for touchdowns allowed (43). That's seven more than the Commanders allowed all last season when the defense ranked third in yards and seventh in scoring. But a main reason Washington went from an 8-8-1 mark in 2022 to 4-10 this season stems from a defense that has plummeted to the bottom of the league."

John Keim, ESPN

Many fans are looking at the offseason rather than Washington's last three games. In their mind, any more wins jeopardize the Commanders' chances of landing a top-three selection in the 2024 NFL Draft for nothing more than personal pride.