clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The 5 O’Clock Club: Pro Football Focus analyzes the 2023 Commanders

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

NFL: Commanders hold their first Rookie Mini Camp
Washington Commanders number one draft pick Emmanuel Forbes jr. (13) drills as the team holds their first Rookie Mini Camp of the new year at Commanders Park on May12, 2023 in Ashburn, VA.
Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The 5 o’clock club is published from time to time during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

CLICK HERE to see the full 5 o’clock club archive

Pro Football Focus (PFF) does analysis on the NFL 365 days per year. In recent days they have pushed out a ton of material that includes power rankings, best players on each team, best players at every position in the league, and projected breakout players to watch at every position.

Here is some of what they’ve had to say about the Washington Commanders, drawn from three different articles available to subscribers.


17. Washington Commanders

Biggest strength in 2023: Coverage

Washington’s secondary kept the team in most games despite the offense’s struggles in 2022. Kamren Curl finished last year with the second-best overall grade among qualified safeties, leading a unit that allowed 30 points only twice all season. The coverage unit held up its end of the bargain, and the addition of first-round rookie Emmanuel Forbes adds another ball hawk to an already solid unit.

Biggest weakness in 2023: Quarterback play

The combination of Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke simply didn’t cut it in 2022. Sam Howell played a decent Week 18 game against the Cowboys, but the uncertainty at quarterback in Washington feels perpetual at this point. They finished with the third-worst passing grade in the NFL last year and come into 2023 on similarly shaky ground. The incumbent Howell will be joined by journeyman Jacoby Brissett. Despite a solid set of weaponry, the quarterback spot may be the Commanders’ undoing again.

X-Factor for 2023: Edge Chase Young

Coming into the NFL with huge expectations, Young mostly fulfilled them during his 2020 rookie season with a terrific 87.1 overall grade. He tore his ACL in Week 10 of 2021, though, returning to play the final three games of this past season. Washington curiously declined his fifth-year option, so Young is entering a contract year. He has elite talent, and the Commanders’ success will be carried by their defense. A double-digit sack performance could make them an elite unit — and could line up Young for a big payday.

Rookie to watch: CB Emmanuel Forbes

The Commanders have the talent to be a top-flight defense in 2023. If there is a gripe with their highly graded secondary, it’s that they reeled in just 10 interceptions last year (Jonathan Allen also had one). Forbes, the FBS record holder with six career pick-sixes, figures to add a playmaking element to an already solid group. The Commanders would like to give their offense short fields to work with, and Forbes could immediately contribute to that cause.

Over/Under 6.5 win total: Under

There’s a lot to like about Washington’s roster. They have everything you need to be a playoff team … except the quarterback. They won’t carry the advantage in that department most weeks with Sam Howell or Jacoby Brissett. They play 10 games against 2022 playoff teams, plus tough road games against the Jets, Patriots and Broncos. It’ll be tough to scratch out low-scoring wins week to week.



(This team comprises only 22 NFL players; one of those players is Brian Robinson)

Running Back: Brian Robinson Jr, Washington Commanders

After missing four games while recovering from a gunshot wound, Robinson became a surprising bright spot for the Commanders as the team’s power back. Robinson had a big stretch late in the season where he posted 84.7, 83.1, 74.1 and 76.1 rushing grades in four consecutive outings that helped him put up the eighth-best offensive grade amongst running backs at 82.5. With a clean bill of health, look for Robinson to take over as the Commanders’ bell cow this upcoming season.


Which PFF analysis do you most agree with?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Washington Power Ranking at #17
    (187 votes)
  • 28%
    Washington’s 3 best players (McLaurin, Allen, Sweat)
    (273 votes)
  • 22%
    Projecting Brian Robinson as the RB on the 2023 All-Breakout Team
    (214 votes)
  • 11%
    I don’t agree with any of them
    (114 votes)
  • 17%
    I agree with all three of them equally
    (167 votes)
955 votes total Vote Now