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Daily Slop - 1 Sep 23: Lots of people are focused on Chase Young’s injury status

A collection of articles, podcasts & tweets from around the web to keep you in touch with the Commanders, the NFC East and the NFL in general

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Washington Commanders v Cleveland Browns Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

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The Athletic (paywall)

Commanders’ Chase Young still not cleared for contact after preseason stinger

The 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year is progressing nicely, according to a source, but it remains unclear if he will be available for Washington’s Week 1 home game against the Cardinals. Young has not participated in a full practice since the Aug. 11 game at Cleveland.

Washington made multiple transactions with its defensive line this week, placing two players on injured reserve while Young remains on the active roster.

Coach Ron Rivera informed reporters that Young was to meet with a medical professional last Friday, but Rivera has passed on answering subsequent follow-ups about the situation. Teams are not obligated to share injury information in terms of an injury report until Week 1.

Washington used James Smith-Williams, Casey Toohill and Efe Obada to replace Young last season. The trio provided solid work, combing for eight sacks.

Washington Post (paywall)

Chase Young’s status for Week 1 is uncertain as he recovers from stinger

Stingers occur when the nerves in the neck and shoulder are stretched or compressed after contact.

The team did not place Young on short-term injured reserve after forming the initial 53-man roster Tuesday, which indicated Young might have been close to being cleared. He attended practice Wednesday and Thursday and is expected to see a doctor next week.

“The guy is practicing and doing everything we need him to do right now as he’s getting ready for the opener,” Coach Ron Rivera said after Thursday’s workout. “I have no idea what the doctor’s going to do, but I do know right now that he’s told him he can continue to progress and get himself ready to go. So until then, there’s nothing we can tell you, nothing we can say.”

The team will release an injury report Wednesday ahead of the game against the Cardinals.


Commanders DE Chase Young uncertain for opener with stinger

One source familiar with the situation said it’s “not as bad” as some have made it out to be. However, it remains uncertain if Young will play vs. the Cardinals.

Washington must feel good enough about his status because it did not place him on injured reserve, with the intent of bringing him back after four weeks.

Young looked sharp this summer as he further recovers from a torn ACL and ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee suffered in November 2021. He returned for the final three games last season. Young stopped wearing a brace on the knee in training camp and said he felt like his old self and had regained his explosiveness.

Washington Post (paywall)

The Commanders believe in Sam Howell. But did they give him enough help?

The Washington Commanders’ vision for their offense is clear. Coordinator Eric Bieniemy plans to maximize the potential of young quarterback Sam Howell by leaning on concepts with which he’s comfortable, such as shotgun and quick-game passing, and by harping on him to avoid the big negative plays he struggled with in college.

There are several relevant questions — primarily, will Bieniemy be good at calling plays? — but one of the biggest is only tangentially related to the quarterback and the coordinator. It’s about everyone else around them.

Did the Commanders build strong enough infrastructure around Howell to allow him to succeed?

If the line is better, and Bieniemy and Howell are who Washington hopes they are, there are enough excellent skill players to be the engines of the offense. Receivers McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel could take short passes and churn out yards after the catch. Running backs Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson could run downhill and catch the ball in space. Tight end Logan Thomas, if healthy, could again be the red-zone threat he was in 2020. Several other young players — including Cole Turner, Dyami Brown and Chris Rodriguez — could be key in certain situations or against certain opponents.

Bullock’s Film Room (subscription site)

How UDFA WR Mitchell Tinsley made the Commanders 53-man roster

Breaking down Tinsley’s skillset and why the Commanders opted to keep him on their 53-man roster

One of the great stories of the Washington Commanders training camp has been the emergence of undrafted free agent wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley. The Commanders targeted Tinsley after the draft and offered him a significant bonus to sign with them. Since then, Tinsley has impressed in each stage of the offseason and played well enough in preseason for the Commanders to keep him as the seventh receiver on the initial 53-man roster, despite already having a deep group of receivers.

So what does Tinsley bring to the Commanders that forced them to keep him on their roster and not risk trying to get him to the practice squad? Let’s take a closer look.

Tinsley’s best trait is his route running ability. He’s not a particularly explosive athlete relative to the elite athletes of the NFL, so he needs to be detailed in his route running and understanding of leverage in order to create separation. In preseason, he showed his routes were consistently pretty strong, especially for an undrafted free agent.

For him to win consistently, he’ll need to show a strong feel for coverage and leverage and understand how to find gaps in zone coverages. Fortunately he has shown that in preseason.

Having that natural feel for coverage and where the space will be is a great trait for a receiver like Tinsley to have. If he wants to become a regular starting receiver in the NFL, he’ll need to do those subtle details consistently to create as much separation as possible and make himself a friendly target for the quarterback. Finding gaps in zone coverages is where Tinsley should thrive, which makes him an interesting option as a receiver that could play in the slot.

While Tinsley might not necessarily have the long speed of Terry McLaurin or Jahan Dotson, he does have some quickness to him. This enables him to win quickly on underneath routes and again, follow on the theme of making himself a friendly target for the quarterback.

Tinsley may well profile better as a slot receiver in the long term, but his route running means he could potentially still play outside as the Z receiver too. He’s unlikely to burn a defender with speed, but with a good scheme he could still be a threat.

Riggo’s Rag

What should the Commanders expect from Brian Robinson Jr. in 2023?

Brian Robinson Jr. and Eric Bieniemy could be a match made in heaven.

Not only does Bieniemy want to run the ball more, but he also wants Robinson and others to be involved plenty in the passing game as well.

Robinson also feels like he has made significant strides to power the Commanders’ running attack behind a revamped offensive line and alongside second-year quarterback Sam Howell. He also recently stated that he feels like himself again after finally getting a prolonged spell to fully heal.

I expect great things from Robinson this season. With the Commanders drafting another running back in Chris Rodriguez Jr., it sure helps balance the workload in the backfield where the top-two tandem doesn’t get too worn down with excessive work throughout the campaign.

The Crimson Tide product might be primed for a big season. NFL defenses thought they had their hands full last year with a less than 100 percent Robinson - just wait and see what Bieniemy has in store for the explosive sophomore.

Washington Post (paywall)

Jamin Davis’s reckless driving case moved to jury trial in March 2024

The Commanders linebacker appeared before Chief Judge Douglas L. Fleming Jr. in Loudoun County Circuit Court in Leesburg on Thursday for a scheduling hearing. His attorney, Mark Dycio, told the court that commonwealth’s attorney Jonathan Dickey had presented a revised plea bargain but only an hour before the 1 p.m. hearing. Dycio requested the case move to a one-day jury trial anytime after Feb. 11, the date of Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

The move buys Davis’s attorney and the commonwealth’s attorney’s office seven months to reach a new plea bargain or resolve the matter alternatively. The Commanders declined to comment because it’s an ongoing legal matter.

Sports Illustrated

Cowboys Ex Jabril Cox ‘A Physical Specimen’, Says Commanders’ Ron Rivera

The Washington Commanders claimed linebacker Jabril Cox on waivers. Cox previously played for the Dallas Cowboys.

Long before Jabril Cox was in the NFL and playing for a division rival, he was on Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera’s radar.

Now, Rivera will have a chance to tap into the potential he saw in the third-year linebacker when he was at LSU.

“We remembered the young man coming out of LSU,” Rivera said. “He’s a physical specimen, a young man that can run and can make an impact. It’s one of those things where he’ll have to learn, and he’ll have to grow, but he’s got the skillset that you’re looking for as far as that position is concerned. He’s a guy that we really did like coming out of that draft that year.”

Washington Post (paywall)

Logan Thomas, a big tight end with a big role, nears Commanders return

He missed 14 games over the past two seasons and was out for this preseason because of a calf strain.

Now healthy and working his way back into practice full speed, Thomas could find himself a central part of Eric Bieniemy’s West Coast offense. The system often uses multiple tight end sets and uses the players in a variety of ways.

The Chiefs, Bieniemy’s previous team, had Travis Kelce, one of the NFL’s premier tight ends. Thomas is the closest comparison in Washington because of his size, route running and more well-rounded game.

Bieniemy’s system seems to accentuate that part of Thomas’s game; he can react to the coverage or the way a defender is playing him.

“We’re able to sit in zones; we’re able to kind of run the routes the way we see them, the way we feel it,” Thomas said. “There’s a chalk line, but we’re able to break the line and kind of play to our skill set, which is really fun.”

Among Thomas’s biggest assets is his strength at the catch point, allowing him to reliably pull in the ball, bring down 50-50 balls and extend plays. Last season, his 60 percent contested catch rate was tied for eighth among tight ends and 41 percent of his receiving yards were after the catch.

“When people are around him, you can see that he uses his body very well,” Rivera said. “It reminds me a lot of Greg Olsen, who was a guy that could use his body to keep that distance between the ball and the defender.”

Commanders Wire

Commanders place DE Efe Obada on reserve/injured list

Head coach Ron Rivera said Obada was dealing with a patella issue and that this would also be a short-term IR stint for Obada.

To replace those players on the roster, Washington made the re-signing of center Tyler Larsen official and also brought back veteran defensive tackle Abdullah Anderson. Anderson signed with the Commanders in March and was released during final cuts.

“Those two guys gone [Obada and Mathis], we’re going to count on a veteran guy in Abdullah Anderson to step up and help out and then [DT] Benning Potoa’e,” Rivera said. “I hope I said that right. I apologize, Benning. He is a guy that we may have to pop up depending on what happens. We’re going to rely a little bit on the young guys to help round out the rest of that group.”

DC Sports King

Phidarian Mathis is latest Commanders second-round pick with rough start to career

Mathis suffered the calf injury in the Commanders’ first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. The injury lingered throughout the rest of training camp and preseason into the regular season.

The 25-year-old has played just three NFL snaps.

At the time of his selection, some perceived him as an insurance policy to fellow former Bama defensive tackle Daron Payne.

Meanwhile, expectations have tapered on Mathis to being the third DT on the team behind Payne and Jonathan Allen. Yet, any expectations on Mathis are put on hold with another significant injury.

Last year, it was a torn meniscus. Now it’s a calf injury that will rob him of at least a quarter of his sophomore season.

Since 2016, the Commanders franchise has had a brutal stretch of second-round draft picks. Sua’Cravens (2016), Ryan Anderson (2017), Derrius Guice (2018), Sam Cosmi (2021), and now Phidarian Mathis (2022), all had unexpected sluggish starts. The Commanders traded their second-round picks in 2019 and 2020 for Montez Sweat.

Riggo’s Rag

NFC East quarterback rankings: Where do the Commanders sit after roster cuts?

Heading into the 2023 regular season, where does Washington rank among other NFC East teams in regard to quarterback rooms?

Given the fact that Howell has only played one regular season game and now leads the charge, it is nearly impossible to put them higher on the list. However, there is a chance that could change given the positive momentum he’s accumulated throughout a sensational summer.

Howell did have a strong preseason showing this year, so it keeps the fans hopeful. Commanders’ head coach Ron Rivera recently even got retrospective when talking about Howell’s debut at the end of 2022.

Brissett spent last season as a placeholder for the Cleveland Browns while Deshaun Watson served his 12-game suspension. His record as a starter has been less than impressive as he holds the record of 18-30.

What Brissett does bring to the table is veteran leadership and a good attitude. He serves better as a backup than he does as a starter.

Jake Fromm was initially waived on the final day of cuts. After a solid preseason showing this year, he was signed to the Commanders’ practice squad.

Sports Illustrated

NFL Coach & QB Rankings: Commanders’ Rivera & Howell Too Low?

Ron Rivera and Sam Howell begin the hunt for their first postseason victory with the Washington Commanders.

A new Sports Illustrated list ranks the Washington tandem low at No. 27 collectively; a combination of Rivera’s No. 22 ranking and Howell at No. 30.

“Rivera went to a Super Bowl with the Panthers in 2015, but his tenure in Washington has yet to produce a playoff victory,” SI writes. “Now he’s turning to his third quarterback in as many years with Howell taking over. Howell, a ’22 fifth-round pick from North Carolina, has exactly one start to his name.”

Unsurprisingly, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid topped the poll as the league’s best duo, as the only combo to have won two Super Bowls together.

Sports Illustrated

Sam Howell’s ‘Football Acumen’ Compliments Commanders Offense

Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell and coordinator Eric Bieniemy have been making good strides this preseason, and coach Ron Rivera has detailed Howell’s football acumen as a big reason why.

With head coach Ron Rivera watching Howell’s development in Bieniemy’s system, he detailed that it has been the quarterback’s ability to make good and quick decisions that have seen him and Bieniemy work so well together.

“Well, I think the biggest thing, more so than anything else, is really just his whole football acumen,” Rivera said. “Everything from how good a student he is to a guy that can take what’s being called and translate it in his mind as to how to execute. His skillset, I think, is very conducive to a lot of the stuff that we want to do because of his arm talent and then his athletic ability, I think helps and adds on to some of the things that Eric wants done.”

Of course, Howell didn’t just stumble into being an efficient quarterback in Bieniemy’s system; he showed constant progression, and that is something that Bieniemy loved about his new quarterback.

“You know what I thought Sam’s progression has been right where you would like it to be,” Bieniemy said. “I thought he’s just stayed the course, you know, he’s learned a lot just being out there each and every day.”

Washington Commanders 2023 Season Kickoff Party

Franklin Park | Friday, September 8th | 5:00 pm - 8:00pm

We’re getting the 2023 season started with a party in the heart of D.C.! Join fellow Commanders fans at Franklin Park on Friday, September 8th from 5 to 8pm as we gear up to start a very special season.

Be sure to keep the energy rolling into FedExField for our home opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday the 10th!

Please register on to attend this free event.

Washington Commanders announce upgrades to FedExField, fan experience for the 2023 NFL season

[U]pgrades include three new themed suites, new ticket scanning pedestals, point of sale upgrades, and updated Commanders branded imagery around the stadium, as well as maintenance repairs to the bowl and paint around the stadium.

Fans will immediately see updated, team-branded signage across the stadium exterior and around the concourse. Fans are encouraged to arrive three hours before kickoff and head into SeatGeek Legends Plaza, where they can enjoy live music, tailgate games, interact with team partner activations and Washington Legends and watch the Command Center: Gameday Live show. They also can get an early look at team warm-ups in the Bud Light End Zone. SeatGeek Legends Plaza gates open at 10 a.m., one hour before regular gates, with a variety of beverages, including domestic beers starting at $6.75 available until kickoff, and rotating local food trucks operating throughout the game. At the home opener, fans can look forward to a live pregame concert by DJ Kool, known for his hit single “Let Me Clear My Throat.”

Announced last March, FedExField also will boast a brand new sound system and video boards with upgraded graphics this season. Fans had the opportunity to experience these new systems themselves during the preseason.

DC Sports King

Vernon Davis embracing life after football with Smart Picks, acting, new rap album

Davis has transitioned into acting, appearing in several movies, including this year’s release The Ritual Killer.

He’s also an entrepreneur, launching an AI-powered sports pick platform, and he just released a rap album, Showtime.

Vernon Davis recently chatted with me at D.C. Sports King about embracing his new paths after football.

Davis will be on the big screen in September in the Freshman Year sequel, Senior Year: Love Never Fails, starring Diallo Thompson and Natalia Dominguez.

Davis will play the college coach of Thompson’s character, C.J., in the romance drama.

Love Never Fails is a great, great movie,” Davis said. “It’s all about love. It’s about desire, and intent. It’s about compassion. I love the movie. I think it’s gonna be an awesome film when it comes out, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Podcasts & videos

RFK Stadium Demolition & Commanders New Stadium 2023 Update

Locked on Commanders: Washington Commanders 53-Man Roster Classifications | Chase Young Update | Logan Thomas Locker Room


PHOTOS | Commanders practice, 8/31

The Washington Commanders wrapped up their final practice this week. Check out the best photos from Thursday. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)


NFC East links

Blogging the Boys

The Cowboys losing a potential high-upside prospect is just the lay of the Land

One of our favorite UDFA’s won’t be returning on the practice squad.

Every year it happens. The Dallas Cowboys make some tough roster cuts and we all wait nervously to see if our favorite prospects make it cleanly through waivers. Most do, but every once in a while, a team will scoop up that one guy we were hoping made it to the practice squad. This year, that player is edge rusher Isaiah Land

Land was fantastic during the preseason. In three games, he finished with 10 total pressures, which was the second-most of any player on any NFL team this preseason. He also finished with seven hurries on 45 pass-rushing snaps. He only recorded one official sack but finished with a pass rush win rate of 20%. Not only that, he had opposing tackles so worried about his get-off that they were regularly jumping early. There were several instances when tackles would get called for a false start.

But alas, it wasn’t meant to be as the Indianapolis Colts have signed him to their active roster.

NFL league links


The Athletic (paywall)

NFL win total projections for all 32 teams: Experts react to our model

Washington Commanders

Win total: 7.5

Washington’s win totals under Ron Rivera: 7, 7, 8. So, yeah, 7.5 is spot on. Returning a top-10 defense that added first-round cornerback Emmanuel Forbes and has Chase Young available could make the over feel like a lock. However, quarterback Sam Howell’s promise doesn’t automatically offset his inexperience, the fact that he’s playing behind an unsteady offensive line or that he’s taking direction from first-time full-time play caller Eric Bieniemy. There’s also a challenging schedule. It’s a coin flip, but I’ll be positive and say they eke out eight wins and thus, the over.

Washington Post (paywall)

Gil Brandt, who helped turn the Cowboys into ‘America’s Team,’ dies at 91

Brandt was the Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel for 28 years, from its entrance into the NFL in 1960 as an expansion franchise until May 1989, when Jones took over as owner and general manager.

With coach Tom Landry and general manager Tex Schramm, the Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons starting in 1966 and played in five Super Bowls, winning two, following the 1971 (VI) and 1977 (XII) seasons. Brandt was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2019, years after Landry (class of 1990) and Schramm (1991).

Brandt was a pioneer of modern scouting through the use of computers and analytics in evaluating players physically and psychologically, something other teams copied. Schramm urged him to work with IBM to create a system that assigned numerical values on computer punch cards for quickness and strength along with intangibles such as character, competitiveness and “mental alertness.” And, along with Schramm, he is credited with the creation of the NFL scouting combine, with three previous camps merging into one in 1985.