Big things could be coming for Jahan Dotson in 2023.
Jahan Dotson can be Commanders WR1 from the inside
Stretching the field from between the numbers won’t be a problem for Dotson. He’s been doing it for fun during two preseason games when he’s tallied seven catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Dotson’s score came against the Cleveland Browns when he pushed coverage vertically from the slot.
This was no mere shallow crosser or drag route. Instead, it was a progressive pattern from a receiver with deceptive quicks and a nifty range of movement.
Dotson won’t ever match Hill for speed, although Washington’s first-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft is no slouch. What the 5-foot-11, 184-pound Penn State can offer is a similar physical profile to the current Miami Dolphin.
Bullock’s Film Room
Breaking down a few different players from the Commanders’ defense against the Ravens
The Commanders seventh-round pick has been getting plenty of attention over the last few weeks. The coaching staff have been publicly praising him and he’s seen some time in practice with the starting defense in Chase Young’s absence. I even covered a nice rep he had against the Browns last week. Against the Ravens, he had a few more nice reps, but I would also lean towards tempering expectations a little bit with him. I’ve seen some fans online get a bit carried away with him. He’s definitely flashing some potential and the raw traits are there, but he is still quite raw and one-dimensional at this point.
While Jones certainly has shown some promise with these reps, he still has a ways to go before he’s ready to be playing consistent snaps against quality NFL left tackles. The raw ability to challenge the edge, bend and dip around the corner, along with his length, is all stuff that will be a handful in the future. But he currently lacks the ability to put it all together consistently and build a diverse rush plan with multiple moves that can threaten a blocker in different ways. Throughout the rest of the game, he struggled to generate much pressure as the tackles adapted to him. If he can begin to develop a few different moves that he can execute consistently and mix into his game, that will go a long way to helping him get on the field and challenge for reps.
The Washington Commanders’ preseason victory over the Baltimore Ravens featured an impressive tackle by first-round cornerback Emmanuel Forbes, who continues to prove he can play above his weight class.
Forbes watched, dissected and reacted to Baltimore’s outside toss to Melvin Gordon, sliced through the pulling blockers and dropped the veteran running back behind the line of scrimmage for a big third down stop.
It was, in a sense, a message of Forbes’ arrival ... and one that illustrates all that he’s about, even with his wiry 6-0, 180-pound build giving up 35 pounds to Gordon, who’s rushed for over 6,400 yards across eight professional seasons.
Despite the positive result, there are still some areas of concern.
Commanders interior run blocking
The Washington Commanders offensive line certainly showed some signs of improvement against the Baltimore Ravens. The pass protection was rather good throughout the game.
Sam Howell took one bad sack early on, and there were a couple of other times when the protection did not adjust to overloads, which resulted in free runners and blown-up plays. But all-in-all, the line traded off on stunts quite well, and Andrew Wylie didn’t have the same problems he had against the Cleveland Browns a week ago.
Yes, the line did play better. But only in terms of pass protection. This unit – especially the interior – does not run block very well. Right guard Sam Cosmi provides a perfect example of this.
Cosmi is a converted college offensive tackle. He is athletic and moves well. He held up well in pass protection. When he was asked to pull on counters, he did quite well. But when he was asked to fire out and move defensive tackles, he wasn’t nearly as effective.
On the Commanders’ first offensive snap, veteran tackle Brent Urban ate his lunch and tackled ballcarrier Brian Robinson on the line of scrimmage. This would happen a few more times during the course of the first half.
Cosmi, for all his athleticism, is simply not a very good drive blocker. The other interior linemen – Saahdiq Charles and center Nick Gates - are not particularly effective at firing forward either. This may be one of the downsides of moving college tackles inside. They are good in space, but not nearly as strong in the trenches.
Like the rest of the receivers on the Commanders’ roster, Dotson didn’t have much experience catching passes from Howell when OTAs began in June. There were certainly promising signs of what their connection could look like during Washington’s 2022 season finale against the Dallas Cowboys — Dotson caught three of his four targets from Howell, amassing 72 yards in the 26-6 victory — but a handful of snaps together is hardly enough to say the two have an electric combination.
Over the past month, though, Dotson has become one of Howell’s most reliable targets. His route running, coupled with his ability to get open and find soft spots in coverages, has made things easier for Howell as he adjusts to being the Commanders’ starting quarterback.
Plays like the downfield strike Howell had to Dotson down the middle of the Commanders’ defense during 11-on-11 drills on Aug. 15, which prompted Terry McLaurin to yell out “That’s all day!” from the sideline, are impressive, but how the two perform against other opponents in game scenarios is a better indicator of their connection.
The best example of that came during Washington’s first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, when the Commanders’ starting offense ended their final drive of the night with a Dotson score. On first-and-10 from the Browns’ 26-yard line, Howell floated a pass to the wideout, who then tipped the ball to himself, ducked between two defenders and jogged into the end zone.
McLaurin walked to the locker room before the end of the half and was later ruled out for the rest of the game.
Although the Commanders sat most of their defensive starters Monday — save for rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes and linebackers Cody Barton and Jamin Davis — most of the team’s veteran offensive starters played the entire first half.
“This is a new group of people that have to get a good feel for one another,” Rivera said. “Going into the game, we thought we could get them out there and play a good half with them.”
NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen presented his top five Tuesday. Although in typical Eisen fashion, he was having fun.
Buy Commanders TicketsEisen felt the best performances for this past weekends preseason games were Giants receiver Jalin Hyatt, Packers quarterback Jordan Love, Falcons running back Bijan Robinson, Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell, and Commanders quarterback Sam Howell.
“Holy Cow, Sam Howell, we see you!” began Eisen. “I will say, this is how crazy he has Washington Commander football fans (pause). I’m gonna out him.”
Eisen proceeded to declare he had been texted during Monday’s game by Ryan Hayden, a die-hard Washington football fan. Eisen then read the text, “Everyone will laugh, but this is a franchise-turning game for us. As sad as that is.”
Eisen then commented to his television audience, “I don’t know what is sadder, that you believe it, or that you know it’s sad and you still text it. But this is how it is for Washington football fans.”
“We see you, Sam Howell, and we will see you Week 1 against Arizona, a winnable game; everyone thinks the Commanders are going to win. And you came out like that wingin’ it.”
On Tuesday’s edition of “The Pat McAfee Show,” the former NFL punter turned media tycoon had high praise for the Commanders and their quarterback.
“Sam Howell and the Commanders with Eric Bieniemy’s offense looked damn good,” McAfee said. “‘It’s against third stringers,’ who cares? They were slinging the ball over the place. Sam Howell appears to be a guy.”
McAfee then went on to explain Heinicke’s praise of Howell. “I think he is beloved,” McAfee said of Howell as a leader and teammate.
McAfee sees that times are changing in Washington; some of it is due to the ownership change, while the excitement surrounding Howell is another reason.
“The vibes out of the Commanders’ team just feel better,” McAfee said. “And obviously, you can say Dan Snyder is out; maybe that is the case. But also, with how good this guy played and with everything that is happening, the future is bright over there. Good luck, Commanders’ fans, who’ve been through it.”
Harris saw Buck’s hand and quickly shook it. Then, pulls his hand back and puts both hands on his hips. Buck just kept the conversation going.
Aikman, meanwhile, notices the handshake and does his best not to laugh.
An all-time handshake on MNF featuring new Commanders owner Josh Harris pic.twitter.com/rOI9y8j4dh— Wesley Splain (@SPLAIN_IT) August 22, 2023
Thanks to Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated, Buck and Aikman have now weighed in on the handshake.
“For the record, ANY time a billionaire wants to shake my hand, I’m in,” said Buck per SI. “He’s a great guy. We were at a wedding together last year for a mutual friend, so I knew him a little. There’s a lot of stuff flying around that booth when a game is happening. So he was probably a little nervous. It was a fun interview with a man who has totally changed the feel around an entire organization in a month. Good for him.”
Aikman’s response was as we expected.
“I knew Joe was hand-gesturing, and then I caught Josh shaking his hand,” Aikman said. “I thought it was really funny but tried not to react knowing we were on camera.”
Harris was in the booth during a Washington scoring drive, so he was a little bit excited. Since taking over as owner last month, Harris has done all the right things, mingling with fans, signing autographs, buying them beer, taking pictures and more.
Fans are just happy to see Harris speaking publicly and engaging the fan base after 24 years of Daniel Snyder.
Podcasts & videos
Podcast. Talking Commanders key decisions at OL, WR and Kaz Allen in particular. What he’s shown as a returner. Is it enough? Injury updates. Terry McLaurin and more. @ESPNRichmond https://t.co/nCRDYcJH39— John Keim (@john_keim) August 23, 2023
Episode 640 - Guest: @ZachSelbyWC. Lotsa Sam Howell conversation. We also discuss the offensive line, who's leading the LG & WR competitions, what it's like being a #Commanders employee w/ Josh Harris now as owner & much more.— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) August 23, 2023
I also talk #Nats & #Orioles.https://t.co/iyLfeAJ2TQ
Locked on Commanders: Washington Commanders Preseason Week 2: Sam Howell Offensive Output | Eric Bieniemy | Quan Martin
Ref the District: Which Washington Commanders Still Have Something to Prove? - Episode 135
The Washington Commanders were back on the field for the first time this week to begin preparations for their final preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Our guys are finding ways -- creative ways -- to drag themselves across the finish line"— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) August 23, 2023
Notes from Wednesday's practice ⤵️
NFC East links
Blogging the Boys
Cowboys DE Sam Williams was reportedly arrested on Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys defensive end Sam Williams was arrested by Frisco police Sunday night on charges of possession of a controlled substance and unlawful carrying of a weapon, per a police department spokesperson.
The controlled substance charge, for alleged possession of marijuana, is a low-level state felony and the unlawful carrying of a weapon is a misdemeanor, according to Frisco police.
The Cowboys held practice on Tuesday after having Monday off and Williams was present, prior to the news being broken.
Pro Football Talk
Cowboys rookie receiver David Durden injured his knee during Wednesday night’s practice. He was carted off the practice field with teammates wishing him well.
Durden will undergo an MRI on Thursday, but Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News reports the Cowboys fear Durden tore an anterior cruciate ligament.
Video from practice shows Durden going against cornerback Trevon Diggs. It appears Durden might have stepped on Diggs’ foot with his right foot and his left leg landed awkwardly before he rolled onto the turf. Durden immediately grabbed his knee.
The Cowboys lost two rookies to ACL injuries in Saturday night’s game at Seattle as linebacker DeMarvion Overshown, a third-round pick, and tight end John Stephens saw their season end before it began.
Durden, an undrafted rookie, missed time earlier in camp with a concussion.
New York Giants tight end Tommy Sweeney is “stable and alert” after suffering a “medical event” Wednesday during practice and being carted off the field.
Sweeney, 28, was working out on a side field, used by rehabbing players, when the event, described as a “scary scene” by reporters, took place. Giants head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen stayed with Sweeney until he was taken away, shirtless, by a cart.
“Tight end Tommy Sweeney had a medical event and is under the care of medical professionals in the Giants athletic training room. He is stable, alert and conversant,” the Giants said in a statement.
NFL league links
Playcaller: Eric Bieniemy, offensive coordinator
Experience: Bieniemy served as offensive coordinator for five seasons with the Chiefs, though head coach Andy Reid remained the primary playcaller. However, Bieniemy coordinated the offense during the week and did call some plays for the Chiefs during their two Super Bowl winning seasons.
What to know: Washington fired offensive coordinator Scott Turner after three seasons in which the offense never finished better than 20th in either yards or points a game. Coach Ron Rivera opted for Bieniemy and also gave him the title of assistant head coach. The situation in Washington will be a challenge for Bieniemy — the offensive line has new starters at four positions and second-year quarterback Sam Howell will likely be under center. Bieniemy must help Howell mature behind this front. So far, Bieniemy has provided structure, detail and discipline to the offense. However, what players and other coaches say he’s also done is to create better opportunities in space for the skill players and find more ways to get the backs and tight ends involved in the passing game. — John Keim
Key stat: Bieniemy coached a Chiefs offense that used pre-snap motion at the second-highest rate in the NFL during his five seasons as OC (2018-22), and it gained 51% of its receiving yards after the catch, third-most in the league.
In today’s hot-take world inhabited by an audience with an increasingly short attention span, it’s no wonder that clips of one-on-one drills from training camp have exploded on social media. Football fans starved from a long offseason clamor to see their favorite players participate in a controlled environment in which every other factor is reduced to simply beating the man in front of you. And why not? Watching the best in the world compete should be celebrated, but in reality, it’s not as simple as a winner and loser. The trained eye may judge a one-on-one much differently than a fan.
While these drills are fun to watch and there are winners and losers, like everything in football, the final takeaway can be complex. Also, we might see a highlight get posted of a player losing one rep but throughout the practice, he might have won several other ones. Enjoy watching the best athletes in the world compete with each other but hopefully, this article gave you a little bit more context and insight on how the pros look at these drills.
With Howell having completed just 11 NFL passes, some fantasy owners are wondering if McLaurin can extend his streak of 1,000-yard receiving seasons to four. It’s a fair worry, but don’t fret based on the connection these two built this summer. McLaurin has experience making plays despite a rotating crew of passers. What Howell lacks in experience he makes up for with a strong arm, mobility and poise. The shaky O-line might let them all down, but Howell has enough to keep McLaurin at the fantasy WR1 level we’ve seen before. As for the sprained toe McLaurin suffered Monday night, the team is optimistic he’ll be ready for Week 1. Besides, McLaurin isn’t the type to be easily slowed down.
Trey Lance Officially Achieved The Honor Of All-Time Bust After Being Named QB3 And The 49ers Should Be Catching Way More Shit
I’m well aware Trey Lance was hurt during his short career here. But come on, let’s call it for what it is. He’s an all-time bust and the 49ers deserve to catch shit for it. Not just because they took him at 3. But because they traded multiple first round picks to move up to take Trey Lance. Now he can’t beat out Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold in a quarterback competition? That’s all-time bust material right there.
Now I’m not dumb. I know why the 49ers aren’t catching more shit. Because they are still good. It helps when you have that defense, that running game and that offensive line. But if they can’t win a Super Bowl or even get back to their Super Bowl you gotta go right to this decision. Who knows, maybe Brock Purdy is the guy. Maybe Sam Darnold figures it out and becomes the starter who gets them that trophy. But until that happens, you gotta look right here.