Several Washington Commanders players’ stocks have risen after their preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. It wasn’t a smooth operation for Washington's offense initially for the starters. However, several players still performed well individually throughout the Commanders' first three series. Here are some notable reps from the Commanders offensive side of the football from Friday night.
Cole Turner executes as a run blocker and receiving tight end.
For Cole Turner, most of the conversation surrounding him has been about his ability to impact the passing game from the tight end position. His ability to line up in multiple positions creates this versatility for Eric Bieniemy and this offense to exploit space matchups against linebackers and defensive backs, respectively.
Starting with “play 20,” Turner is simulating a pick on the Browns linebacker before drifting into the open void behind him. What makes this play noteworthy is his processing to work with his quarterback as he sees Howell trying to buy time on a scramble. Throughout the game, we saw a couple of “trust” throws to Turner from Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett, and Turner finished the day with four catches on four targets.
As a blocker, you continue to see a growth in his willingness and physical toughness to attack linebackers to create rush lanes. On the toss to Brian Robinson, you see Turner pulling to open field off of Jahan Dotson’s pin of the defensive end. Additionally, on the next rush to Antonio Gibson, you see something similar: he is attacking the second level, but now he is in the box.
In both instances, he approaches the defenders balanced and under control as a blocker, allowing him leverage to dictate the engagement. In his second block, you see his toughness to finish the block, sending his defender to the ground.
Sam Cosmi shows promise as a full-time guard.
Cosmi had a couple of impressive pass-pro reps against former all-pro edge rusher Za’Darius Smith. Overall, he had a good night as an individual in the opener against Cleveland.
Cosmi showed good patience in his angle set in the first rep against Browns defensive tackle Maurice Hurst. Because he established the half-man relationship with Hurst, it allowed Cosmi to defend any inside rush moves and forced Hurst to try and win by running the arc. Hurst still tries to power his way to the inside of Cosmi, but Cosmi is able to mirror his rush path using his feet and maintain leverage through his independent hand usage to stalemate the power rush.
In the second rep, Smith lines up as a standing B-gap threat. Cosmi shows good hip mobility and change of direction at the snap to quickly kill Smith’s upfield momentum. Furthermore, his independent hand usage is displayed again, showing good hand placement and comfortability to re-establish hand placement, as he started by initially placing his hands on Smith’s shoulders and finishing the rep with hands in his chest to maintain leverage during his anchor.
In the third rep, Smith is aligned in a 3-pt stance as the Browns' 3-tech defender. On this third down rep, Comsi showed good set quickness and patience out of his stance, forcing Smith to try and win inside. Again, Cosmi effectively mirrored Smith’s rush path until Howell scrambled out of the pocket, essentially killing Smith’s rush plan. Cosmi finished the rep with a pancake of Smith as Howell gets the first down with his legs.
Byron Pringle wins at the line of scrimmage and the catch point.
As Pringle tries to establish himself as a solid 4th or 5th receiver option for the Commanders, he made a great first impression on the coaches in the preseason opener. In the first rep, Pringle showed a good ability to manipulate the defenders' hips by selling a vertical stem toward the sideline. At that point, Pringle was able to win inside on his second move. In the second clip, while Pringle got the defender off balance at the line, he did not have the foot speed to create separation after his release. However, excellent ball placement from Brissett put the ball in a space where only Pringle could make a play. Pringle makes an elite contested over-the-shoulder catch and finishes the play through the ground.
Ricky Stromberg showed good competitive toughest, finishing his blocks
In Stromberg’s debut with the Commanders, he showed impressive quickness and explosion after the snap to reach his landmarks. Stromberg showed an ability to finish two different blocks due to his pad level and hand placement, one being a double team with rookie Mason Brooks and a one-on-one playside base block.
Mitchell Tinsley’s shiftiness creates matchup advantages vs. man coverage.
One of Mitchell Tinsley’s best traits coming out of Penn State was his route savviness to break down defenders at the top of his routes with his quickness and tempo. Tinsley faced a squat man corner on this rep; he needed to close the cushion quickly and find a way to displace the cornerback as he intended to break inside. Tinsley effectively utilized his secondary release as he closed the space between him and the cornerback, selling an out-breaking route before continuing up the seam. Lastly, Tinsley showed competitive toughness with a very good adjustment at the catch point, high pointing in traffic, and finishing the play with good ball security.
You can also catch the latest Trap or Dive Podcast, where we go through the good, bad, and ugly of the Commanders preseason opener with Lynnell Willingham of 106.7 The Fan.
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