It’s no secret that in the modern NFL, you need three-to-four sure-handed pass catchers out along the perimeter to be atop the league's best offenses.
The best offenses in the league have a blend of wideouts and tight ends that can balance the load for their respective teams, and with a quarterback in Carson Wentz that thrives on the usage and production of his part-time blockers, the importance of this question begins to rise.
Here’s the catch, the Washington Commanders could be without their starting tight end, Logan Thomas, for potentially the first few weeks of the regular season as he’s recovering from a torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus repairs. In addition, Washington may have adequate depth at the position on paper, but their room is still largely unproven at this stage.
Continuing, despite signing a $71-million dollar extension, the Commanders still need to provide alternate possibilities for their offense opposite of Terry McLaurin.
With a plethora of questions and a need for production at the position, both Carson Wentz and the Commanders offense as a whole will need their tight end room to set the tone for this offense. Versatility and the need for dynamic threats in that room room is a necessary “evil”, if Washington is looking to place in the top half of the league through the air.
Addressing Washington’s Tight End room:
- For starters, Commanders signal-caller Carson Wentz has continuously played his best football when paired with tangible skillsets at TE. Whether it’s the combination of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, or red-zone threats in Mo Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle, it’s obvious that if Washington is looking to put Wentz in the best position to succeed, they’ll need their tight ends to hold up their end of the bargain. Luckily for them, Washington does have a few options, without Logan Thomas, that can fulfill roles for this offense in ways that weren’t available to them last season. For example, second-year TE John Bates looks like he can produce at the first and second levels of the passing game, especially in the screen game. Bates has intriguing vision out in the open field, and with his stellar blocking ability allowing him to provide a bit of a mystery look when he’s on the field, defenses cannot commit to there being one specific playtype when they see him in formation. Also, with the selection of rookie TE Cole Turner, he has the skillset to provide a second and third level pass catching ability that the Commanders offense hasn’t seen in recent years. With 12 catches of 20+ yards over his final two seasons at Nevada, in addition to 6 contested catches in the deep passing game, Turner can be your “go-up-and-get-it” guy, down the field.
- Once Logan Thomas comes back, Washington can potentially have a triple threat option in their tight end room by sometime mid-season. Each option for them, at full health, provides a unique look that isn’t easy to commit to as an opposing defense. In the case of Bates and Thomas, you may not expect them to go 20+ yards down the field and produce on a consistent basis, but they can shred opposing secondaries and the first and second level of the passing game while also being above competent blockers. In the case of Cole Turner, Washington may trot him out there in special situations as a wide receiver, but his wirey 6-foot-7 frame and quick feet provide a slashing receiving ability throughout every level of the field. In all sports, versatility has become key in order to be at the top of your league. In the modern NFL, having three TEs like Washington has, all with unique skillsets, offers a new flavor that a once stale Scott Turner offense could desperately take advantage of in 2022.
- Lastly, when you look at the top passing offenses in the league, from Baltimore to Kansas City, Las Vegas and the Rams, nearly all of them make good use of their tight ends in the passing game. Washington may not have a George Kittle or a Darren Waller, but they may not need it. What they need is steady, consistent production out along the perimeter. They have the entree, the Filet Mignon of their passing offense in Terry McLaurin, but they need a steady dose of side dishes. If John Bates, Cole Turner, a splash of Antonio Gandy-Golden potentially, and Logan Thomas once he’s healthy, can provide a rotation of production that complements the main course of this meal well, the Commanders, and Carson Wentz’s play in the Nation’s Capitol will clearly trend in the right direction.
Will the success of Washington’s passing offense correlate to how effective their Tight Ends will be?
This poll is closed
It’ll be a balance