There will be several critical matchups and player spotlights heading into Sunday when the Jacksonville Jaguars step into FedEx Field this Sunday. For me, the trenches on both sides of the football will be the most significant factor in the game’s outcome. In turn, the offensive line will be counting on Carson Wentz to be timely in his decision-making while also staying composed in critical football situations. Furthermore, Washington’s secondary will need to cover well enough for Montez Sweat and Jonathan Allen to find the quarterback.
Regarding Wentz’s timeliness, Jahan Dotson should be a bigger factor in the offense’s success and helping Carson. While Dotson, Terry McLaurin, and Curtis Samuel are all interchangeable in terms of alignment, Dotson might be the move-man in week one to create mismatches throughout the game.
Offensive Coordinator Scott Turner has been impressed by Dotson for some time since Washington selected him in the April draft. “I think he’s done a nice job, just the intricacies of the routes, you know what I mean?” Turner said about Dotson’s progression. “The understanding of not just what his role is, but you know, how he fits in the concept. Just the difference of being an NFL player day in and day out. Obviously haven’t gotten into the season yet, but you know, where it’s, that’s your job, and that’s what you’re doing. But Jahan has been great, and the relationship between him and [QB] Carson [Wentz] been great.”
Dotson has been in the spotlight since Washington’s drafted him, rightfully so, but I’d lean that this is a spotlight that he is prepared for. Against the Jaguars, who has a young defensive front, the first and second level of the defense will be full of opportunity. Wentz and Turner will need to allow Dotson’s athleticism and competitiveness as a route runner to be on the forefront as early in the game as possible.
Regarding Washington’s secondary, second-year cornerback Benjamin St-Juste will also be a significant factor for the Commanders. While Christian Kirk’s contract overshadows him, the new Jaguars receiver is one of the league’s best slot receivers and a quality receiver. St-Juste is Washington’s new slot cornerback, and his first game presents a quality matchup. Kirk’s explosiveness and change of direction make him as good as he is, and he will immediately challenge st-Juste quickness and reaction time.
If Dotson or St-Juste, if not both, can win the day Sunday, the Commanders will have good days on both sides of the ball, respectively.
What are your thoughts on Dotson and St-Juste against the Jaguars?
Catch up with the latest Hogs Haven Podcast, breaking down the Jaguars game and previewing the best bets across the NFL for week one.