Commanders player grades through Week 2: Defense and Special Teams

It's been a roaring start from the Commanders defense in 2023.

Montez Sweat
Montez Sweat / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages
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Daron Payne - Commanders DT

  • Player Grade: A

Daron Payne has been a beast this year. When a big play from the defensive line has been needed by the Washington Commanders, it has usually been the formidable interior presence running over an opposing guard and making it.

Abdullah Anderson - Commanders DL

  • Player Grade: B

Abdullah Anderson saw his snaps double from Week 1 to Week 2. He has earned the playing time.

John Ridgeway - Commanders DL

  • Player Grade: C+

Some of Anderson's increased snap count came at the expense of John Ridgeway. But he is still a valuable depth piece.

It remains to be seen whether he can become more than that.

Montez Sweat - Commanders DE

  • Player Grade: A

Sure, it’s only two weeks. But Montez Sweat is on pace for 25 sacks, 25 tackles for loss, 17 forced fumbles, and 75 tackles.

The Commanders need to think about paying this man. Because the price is only going up.

Chase Young - Commanders DE

  • Player Grade: B

When Chase Young missed Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, it was a huge potential red flag. He looked pretty good in his debut at the Denver Broncos, but we will have to see if he remains healthy and rounds back into elite shape.

James Smith-Williams - Commanders DE

  • Player Grade: B+

James Smith-Williams is one of the team’s unsung heroes. He is not as explosive as Sweat or Young, but he does everything well.

He is the first option should Young suffer a setback.

Casey Toohill - Commanders DL

  • Player Grade: B

Similar to James Smith-Williams, with a bit more capacity for the big play, though not as steady.