[W]hile it’s unlikely the Commanders will keep three quarterbacks on the active roster, he’s made a strong case that he should make the practice squad.
Fromm ended the night completing 13 of his 18 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. He was uneven to start the day, going just 2-of-5 in the first half. In the second half, however, Fromm was much more accurate, hitting 11 of his 13 targets. On the Commanders’ final scoring drive of the night, Fromm was a perfect 4-for-4, including his seven-yard strike to Brandon Dillon that resulted in a touchdown.
Fromm finished the preseason with 261 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in three games. Hopefully the Commanders aren’t in a situation where they need his services during the season, but he has proven that he can effectively manage the offense if he is needed.
“We had an idea of about six or seven guys we said we want to see,” Coach Ron Rivera said. “We want to see what they can do. We knew they were going to get an opportunity to play a lot of plays, and it’s going to help answer some questions for us.”
Saturday’s game may have been the difference-maker for several of those players. The NFL now has just one preseason cut, allowing for all players on the training camp roster ample opportunity to prove their value. Rivera will meet with his assistants and personnel staff Sunday to begin determining whom to keep and whom to cut ahead of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
But the work won’t stop there. Washington’s roster figures to undergo additional changes before the regular season opener Sept. 10 against the visiting Arizona Cardinals. Players on waivers clear Wednesday, so those who don’t make the first 53 could still end up on the Week 1 roster or the practice squad.
Finding a returner is a must. After Saturday, the Commanders may not have a clear choice for the job.
Milne, a seventh-round draft pick in 2021, and undrafted rookie Kazmeir Allen are the top candidates. But both had drops Saturday — Milne bobbled a short pass on third and six, and Allen dropped back-to-back passes to stall a drive in the second quarter. Allen, who seemed to be the slight front-runner at returner, also muffed a punt in the third.
Allen may have played himself off the initial roster, but if Washington decides to keep him or Milne in the mix, it will have to answer a key question: How valuable is the kickoff return?
Young played just four snaps in the preseason because of a stinger he suffered in the opener at Cleveland. Young has started to work his way back into practice, and Rivera said he would have his final exam Friday. When asked Saturday whether Young had been fully cleared, Rivera declined to give an update, saying he wanted to keep the focus on the game.
Washington will keep two quarterbacks on its roster, but Fromm had an impressive finale in his fight for a practice squad spot. His final line: 13 for 18 (72.2 percent) for 144 yards, two touchdowns and a 132.6 passer rating. ...
Ron Rivera said he feels good about the quarterback situation, with a young player to develop in Howell and a solid veteran behind him. Howell has made one NFL start and becomes the sixth different quarterback to start the season for Washington since Kirk Cousins left after the 2017 season. They can keep Jake Fromm on the practice squad.
RUNNING BACK (4): Brian Robinson Jr., Antonio Gibson, Chris Rodriguez Jr., Alex Armah
The roles are clear. Robinson will be the primary back. He has had a good summer, both as a runner and pass-catcher. Gibson will be the third-down back. Rodriguez, a rookie, has run with power and shown better hands than expected, after not being asked to catch many passes at Kentucky. There’s a good chance Armah could be cut initially, but he’d be brought back soon regardless because they plan on using him this season. He plays fullback and tight end; he received a lot of work in training camp.
WIDE RECEIVER (6): Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, Byron Pringle, Dax Milne
There’s a good chance seven make the initial roster, with perhaps both Milne and Kazmeir Allen making it. Milne could make it ahead of Allen if they only keep six, but Allen’s return ability helps. The first four were easy picks. McLaurin’s chemistry with Howell has developed nicely as the summer unfolded. Dotson could have an excellent season; no one on the roster shakes defenders better than he does. Pringle, who played for coordinator Eric Bieniemy, adds experienced depth.
The most challenging position debates include wide receiver and the offensive and defensive lines. Then there are cross-position conundrums. Keep four running backs, four tight ends or both? Seven receivers at the expense of a 10th O-lineman or sixth cornerback? Head coach Ron Rivera said there were six or seven players they wanted to take a close look at, which equates to roughly the same amount of roster spots in play. Rivera and his staff have time to consider. Not us. Let’s go.
Quarterback (2): Sam Howell, Jacoby Brissett
Who’s out: Jake Fromm
Whatever happens this season, Washington enters the campaign feeling confident about Howell’s progress throughout the year. The second-year passer must improve his field and pocket awareness, but there’s plenty to like with the strong-armed and poised Howell.
Fromm, who went 13-of-18 for 144 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals, spent last season on Washington’s practice squad. Therefore, it’s logical for the staff to try to get him back there rather than use an initial slot on the roster.
Defensive tackles (4): Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Phidarian Mathis, John Ridgeway
Who’s out: Benning Potoa’e, Abdullah Anderson, Isaiah Mack, Anthony Montalvo
Talent and potential win out, even if keeping 11 on the line is arguably one too many. That depth could become necessary with Young (stinger), Allen (plantar fasciitis) and Mathis (calf) battling injuries. Young, limited since suffering the injury in the preseason opener, met with a doctor Friday to determine when to resume contact in practice.
Keeping Potoa’e or Anderson on the practice squad would offer a potential call-up defensive tackle for Week 1 if needed.
Notes and observations from the Washington Commanders’ victory over the Cincinnati Bengals to wrap up an undefeated preseason.
Defensive end Casey Toohill had a tremendous first half, recording three quarterback hits and adding two tackles. Linebacker Khaleke Hudson also lived in the backfield early, collecting a pair of tackles for loss.
Commanders tight end Cole Turner has put together a good overall preseason, catching 10 passes for 75 yards. He capped it off with a team-high four receptions against Cincinnati for a total of 20 yards.
Through the air, undrafted receiver Mitchell Tinsley proved explosive, catching three passes for 89 yards and a touchdown and coming a yard away from having another score to his name.
LB Khaleke Hudson
The fourth-year linebacker didn’t play a lot on Saturday. He didn’t need to as Hudson’s spot on the roster is secure. He was the talk of the offseason and continually earned the praise of head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. On two plays in Saturday’s game, Hudson met a Cincinnati offensive player behind the line of scrimmage. A good warmup for Hudson.
G Mason Brooks
The undrafted free agent continues to stand out. Mason Brooks was a priority signing for the Commanders after the 2023 NFL draft. He’s stood out all summer. In the preseason win over the Bengals, Brooks had more than highlight block like the one above. He always displayed the type of nastiness you want from an offensive lineman when Fromm was hit out of bounds, Brooks was quick to defend his QB.
TE Bandon Dillon
The Commanders need depth at tight end. Starter Logan Thomas is still nursing a calf injury. John Bates and Cole Turner will play major roles on offense this fall, but Washington needs another tight end for depth. Could that be Brandon Dillon? Dillon caught two passes, including a touchdown in the win over the Bengals. It will be interesting to see what coaches do about a fourth tight end considering Thomas’ injury history. Dillon only helped himself Saturday.
Late in Saturday’s preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, fans at FedEx Field were doing the wave.
The wave going on at FedEx. Don’t tell these folks the preseason don’t matter pic.twitter.com/vmbwArfNz0— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 27, 2023
Washington head coach Ron Rivera noticed and he enjoyed it.
“S–t, they did the wave,” Rivera said. “I haven’t seen the wave here….in….you know, this is the first time, so it was really cool. It really was, again, there is some energy, some excitement and hopefully we can feed off that, build off that and it can help us.”
Rivera was then asked if he “pro-wave.”
“Oh yeah, shoot, that was awesome.”
DC Sports King
Commanders team president Jason Wright has not been shy about the new energy over the team with the ownership change. During Wsahington’s preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, Wright boasted, “We’re back” on the team’s broadcast, per Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post.
“We’re back. We’re back… It’s night and day — in the business and what you see on the field and, more importantly, the fans. They are back together and unified once again.”
Sponsors are coming back. Recently, the Commanders landed deals with Verizon and Anheuser-Busch. Even the city’s MLB franchise, the Nationals, is now working with the Commanders.
There’s a change brewing in the air for the Washington Commanders who have hyped fans. The new ownership has a lot of areas to tackle. But it’s evident Harris and company are fully committed to turning around the organization and the perception that’s followed.
FedEx Field could be fun in 2023
The new energy surrounding the team was apparent in the two preseason games from FedEx Field. While there wasn’t a capacity crowd in either game — it’s the preseason, after all — the fans in attendance were loud. And as seen in the video above, Washington fans were having fun again. FedEx Field has been the butt of jokes since opening in 1997. Whether it’s the grass, the guardrails, the prices, parking, or literally anything else, FedEx Field has never been a home-field advantage for the Commanders.
Could things be different beginning next month? The more successful the team becomes, the more Washington fans will buy tickets, keeping some of the other teams’ fans out of FedEx Field. Commanders’ players and coaches feel the energy. They are excited about Washington fans filling up the stands and rooting for the home team again.
Podcasts & videos
Locked on Commanders: Washington Commanders Preseason: Jacoby Brissett Starts in 21-19 Win | Position Battle Updates
Check out the best photos from the Washington Commanders’ preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
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Saturday night’s Dolphins-Jaguars game was called off early after Dolphins rookie receiver Daewood Davis suffered a head and neck injury that had him taken off the field on a stretcher and brought to a hospital by ambulance. Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said there was no question that ending the game was the right call.
McDaniel said he, Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson, and the two teams’ NFL Players Association representatives had a brief meeting and all agreed to stop playing.
“The collection of the two NFLPA representatives, Doug and myself made the right call,” McDaniel said. “The two teams agreed that football shouldn’t be played any more tonight. Without a shadow of a doubt, I know that was the right call, so I’m proud of the collective group for doing the right thing.”
Davis has movement in all his extremities and McDaniel said the initial news from the medical staff was good, which is a relief to players who were visibly shaken by the seriousness of his injury.
“Our guys are hurting but relieved,” McDaniel said. “You could see in the collective faces of both teams, their mind wasn’t on football at all. So I thought it was inappropriate to play football.”