This has been a roller coaster season in a lot of ways for the Washington Commanders. From the performance of the QBs to the defense and most importantly the team’s record. Washington got a Week 1 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but then dropped their next four games. Carson Wentz was able to get the win vs the Chicago Bears in Week 6, but broke the ring finger on his throwing hand and went on IR.
Taylor Heinicke stepped in like he has been tasked with doing for 3 years in a row. The defense dropped some dead weight(Williams Jackson III) and they also got a healthy Brian Robinson Jr. into the lineup. Washington went from one of the worst teams in the league, to one that took down the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles in their house on Monday Night Football. Washington had two 3-game winning streaks with a loss to the Minnesota Vikings between them.
With Taylor Heinicke under center, Washington went 5-1 before they got to the Giants-bye week-Giants set of games, and then it all fell apart. They tied the Giants in Week 13, but they had a bye week to continue focusing on the same team. That did nothing to help them win, and they looked even worse at home and in primetime. They still controlled their own destiny when they went west to face the red-hot San Francisco 49ers. Washington lost, but so did most of the other teams competing for the same #7 seed in the NFC.
Amazingly, the Washington Commanders still had control of their fate as they prepared to host the 6-9 Cleveland Browns. Win the last two games and you’re in. Pretty simple. They even had the opportunity to clinch that final spot in the NFC playoffs today if they would have won, and the Lions, Seahawks, and Packers would have all lost.
Washington came out flatter than usual, and the team had also made the choice to go back to Carson Wentz after they benched Taylor Heinicke during the 4th quarter last week. This decision seemed to immediately blow up in Ron Rivera’s face after Wentz threw two interceptions in the 1st quarter. A 21-play touchdown drive to close out the second quarter made the game more manageable and actually gave them the lead going into the half. The second half fit the mold for the Commanders last month of football and saw Washington get outscored 21-3. Carson Wentz threw another pick, and the offense looked anemic.
The Lions won their game against the Bears 41-10, and the Green Bay Packers just knocked off a reeling Minnesota Vikings team 41-17. Even though Ron Rivera apparently didn’t know Washington could be eliminated today, that’s exactly what happened, and they are once again looking towards the draft and the offseason as they prepare to host a meaningless final home game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles lost to the Saints today, so Dallas will be playing for the NFC division title and any hopes that they were resting their starters don’t matter now anyways.
Ron Rivera finishes his third season as head coach, and is guaranteed to not have a winning record, and a loss next week seems to put his ceiling in Washington at 7 wins. The third year was supposed to be a big one for Rivera’s transformation of the team, but it has once again started off and ended with a dud.
So now we look to the NFL draft in April, while also anxiously awaiting any news on a sale of the team by owner Dan Snyder. Until there is actual confirmation a sale is happening, we’ll have to go with the assumption that Ron Rivera will still be the Head Coach with GM powers going into the 2023 draft. If the season would end today, Washington would have the 14th overall pick, and likely the 46th overall pick(2nd round). Washington will end up sending their 3rd round pick to the Indianapolis Colts to finish their trade for him. Wentz’s injury saved them their 2nd round pick which would have been gone if Wentz played 70% or more of Washington’s snaps this year.
Washington’s 2023 NFL Draft Picks
1st Round - #14
2nd Round - #46
3rd Round - (Traded to the Colts for Carson Wentz)
3rd Round - (Compensatory pick for Brandon Scherff)
4th Round -
5th Round -
6th Round -
6th Round - (Compensatory pick for Tim Settle)
7th Round -