Ranking the Commanders' defense and special teams against NFC rivals in 2023

Looking at how things stand for the Commanders on defense and special teams.

Montez Sweat
Montez Sweat / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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How do the Washington Commanders' defense and special teams stack up against their NFC East rivals heading into the 2023 season?

Today, we look at the defenses and special teams of the Washington Commanders and their NFC East rivals in 2023. And we’ll try to rank them. But I warn you in advance, this is hard to do.

Much harder than ranking the offenses. On offense, there was a clear pecking order in the 2022 team statistics, with the Philadelphia Eagles way out in front, the Dallas Cowboys clearly in second, and the New York Giants and Commanders bringing up the rear.

I think that New York’s improved offense line and questions about Tony Pollard’s durability as a lead-back narrow the gap between Dallas and the Giants considerably. But it’s still easy because Philadelphia is clearly first and Washington is clearly last.

The Commanders invested heavily in the defensive backfield, taking corners with their top two picks in the 2023 draft. If Emmanuel Forbes and Quan Martin play up to expectations, this could be a special group.

They have good players in Kendall Fuller and Benjamin St-Juste already on hand to allow the rookies to grow into their roles.

That doesn’t mean I won’t rank them anyway. I’ll just complain about it as I do.

And I’ll get to special teams at the end. Spoiler alert: I’m not even going to try to rank them. That, as I will explain, is impossible.