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Player Spotlight: Why Charles Leno Jr performance vs. Jacksonville shouldn’t go unnoticed

Charles Leno Jr had himself a day in pass protection against Jaguars edge rushers Josh Allen and Travon Walker. Here is a film session of how it looked on tape.

For the most part, quarterback Carson Wentz had a good day, throwing for over 300 yards, 65 percent completion percentage, four touchdowns, two interceptions, and was sacked just once. From a statistical standpoint, Wentz was kept clean; Jacksonville pressured him on eight percent of his dropbacks. While it is only week one, for comparative purposes, Wentz was pressured on an average of 25 percent of his dropbacks over the last four seasons.

Washington’s pass protection was overall good, but the player who stood out in a big way amongst the unit was Wentz’s left tackle, Charles Leno Jr. Here are a few of his reps that stood out Sunday.

Starting with the touchdown to Terry McLaurin that helped trim the Commanders deficit to two points, the fourth quarter displayed Leno’s true intensity and competitiveness. This matchup is against the Jaguars’ rookie Travon Walker, a powerful, explosive pass rusher. Leno uses an aggressive pass set against Walker, instantly affecting his rush path. Leno displays good foot quickness and explosion to get out of his stance at the snap. After he reaches his set point, Leno attacks Walker with a physical two-hand strike and latches onto Walker with good placement and hand strength to control Walker. Leno’s movement and quickness to win the half-man relationship and get his hands on Walker were very impressive.

In another instance, Leno is more passive in his approach against Walker. However, Leno again displays a good get-off at the snap, winning the half-man battle against Walker and beating him to his rush path. This time, Walker gets inside Leno’s chest, but Leno displays very good use of hands, replacing his hands and getting under Walker’s arms to regain leverage. Active feet and hands keep you alive in a forever back-and-forth battle in the trenches. Leno lost control at one point but very quickly gained it back.

Another look into Leno’s competitiveness Sunday, Washington is facing an important 3rd down situation where the offense has been stalling over the past couple of drives. Leno is facing edge rusher Josh Allen and wins from the snap again. Leno beats Allen with strong hands and active feet, controlling Allen to the point where he cannot penetrate the pocket.

Leno has earned the spotlight after his performance against Walker and Allen. Leno consistently displayed Leno’s quickness and explosion at the snap throughout the game. He showed good technique and a solid toolbox, giving his opponent multiple looks in his pass set that helped Leno win on the day. Leno’s set points were good, and he could eliminate their inside rush paths when the play began.

While the interior offensive line had minor issues in pass protection, and Sam Cosmi gave up one sack, Leno was Washington’s most consistent and impressive offensive lineman in week one and did his part to keep Wentz clean.

What are your thoughts on Leno Jr. as a left tackle?

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