Commanders OC Scott Turner talks Sam Cosmi potentially playing guard this week

With Trai Turner missing practice this week, the Commanders could turn to Sam Cosmi at right guard against the Giants. Scott Turner believes it’s essential to get your best five on the field.

The Washington Commanders chose Sam Cosmi in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft to be their future at right tackle. Cosmi immediately stepped into the lineup and became a force as a run blocker. Unfortunately, Cosmi would miss eight games during his rookie season.

Cosmi was back at right tackle in 2022, but a thumb injury forced him to miss the next three games, leading veteran Cornelius Lucas to start at right tackle.

Cosmi returned in Week 8 against the Colts and only played special teams in his first two games back. However, over the last three weeks, Cosmi and Lucas have been splitting reps at right tackle. The Commanders love Cosmi and believe he has a bright future at tackle — or guard.

With right guard Trai Turner missing practice this week, the coaches moved Cosmi inside to right guard.

After Thursday’s practice, Turner was asked about Cosmi potentially playing right guard against the Giants in Week 13.

“I think as the season goes on and you have some guys in and out of the lineup on the offensive line; you want to get your best five guys out there,” Turner said. “So, being able to move Sam around a little bit, having him in there at guard, having that be an option of something that we can do, if that gets our best five out there, that’s something that we will be, be able to do. But we just want to be able to have that option, so we can get him, get him on the field cause a good player. Obviously, him and Big Luke [Cornelius Lucas] have been playing, kind of splitting time. Both [have] been playing pretty well, so we can get him out there together. That’d be something that’d be positive for us.”

Trai Turner hasn’t exactly been his former Pro Bowl self this season. He has improved in recent weeks, which is encouraging, but is he really the best option? In more potentially good news, Wes Schweitzer was designated to return from injured reserve this week. Schweitzer began the season as the starting right guard before his injury.

Cosmi is a dominant run blocker, meaning the Commanders could have a terrific right side of the offensive line with Cosmi and Lucas.

If Cosmi does play right guard Sunday, he could be auditioning to be Washington’s long-term right guard as many believe he has immense potential at guard.

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Commanders WR Jahan Dotson’s targets have gone way down since his return

Part of it is Washington’s commitment to the run.

Through the first four weeks of the 2022 NFL season, Washington Commanders wide receiver Jahan Dotson looked like the leading contender for NFL offensive rookie of the year.

Dotson had 12 receptions for 152 yards and four touchdowns in his first four games. He was named Pepsi rookie of the week for his performance in a Week 1 win over the Jaguars.

Then, in a Week 4 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Dotson injured his hamstring. He would miss the next five games, and a lot would happen during those five weeks.

Dotson returned in the Week 10 upset win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He received one target in the game, making a catch for 14 yards. Unfortunately for Dotson, a lack of targets has been a theme since his return.

In three games since his return, Dotson has four targets. He has two receptions for 27 yards.

Some point to Washington’s change at quarterback for Dotson’s lack of targets. Dotson worked with Carson Wentz a lot in the offseason, and the pair had developed a strong rapport. Taylor Heinicke has been starting since Week 7 and often targets Washington’s No. 1 wideout, Terry McLaurin.

The quarterback change isn’t why Dotson only has two receptions. It’s the game plan. The Commanders are running more with Heinicke under center, meaning fewer targets for everyone in the passing game.

Heinicke discussed his connection with Dotson this week.

“Yeah, obviously we want to give him the ball more, but we’re running the ball like we are doing and what Terry’s doing, some guys aren’t gonna get the ball,” Heinicke said. “I kind of said this several weeks ago, when you have a bunch of weapons like this, someone’s gonna get shorthanded, and from week to week it might be one person or another.”

This isn’t coachspeak from Heinicke. For the first time in a while, the Commanders do have multiple legit offensive weapons. But with a focus on running the ball and dominating the time of possession, there aren’t going to be a lot of targets.

Head coach Ron Rivera echoed a similar sentiment but believes Dotson will receive more opportunities.

“I think a lot of that has to do with what we’re doing,” Rivera said. “It was mentioned that we’re playing a little bit more 12 and 13 personnel, and that’s by design. So it’s going to cut some of those opportunities for Jahan. He’s still important and very integral into what we’re doing, and he’s developing, and he’s growing, and we all know he’s got the potential to be a very, very good player for us. And it’s just a matter of time before you see him start getting some more opportunities.”

There’s nothing wrong with Dotson. He will get his opportunities again, but right now, the Commanders have a winning formula and will continue to follow that blueprint until they are forced to change.

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Commanders could be getting some help on the offensive line

The Commanders designated Wes Schweitzer for return from injured reserve.

Washington Commanders guard Trai Turner has missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of Sunday’s important Week 13 game against the New York Giants.

In his place, Washington has worked right tackle Sam Cosmi at right guard, keeping Cornelius Lucas at right tackle. Lucas replaced Cosmi at right tackle after Cosmi injured his thumb in Week 4. Since Cosmi’s return, the pair have rotated at right tackle.

Good news could be on the way for the Commanders. Washington designated guard/center Wes Schweitzer to return from the reserve/injured list. Schweitzer suffered a concussion in the Week 3 loss to the Eagles.

Before Schweitzer’s injury, he began the season as the starter at right guard. However, when center Chase Roullier was lost for the season in Week 2, Schweitzer started at center in Week 3 before his injury. This is Schweitzer’s third season in Washington, and he has started a total of 20 games.

Washington now has 21 days to either activate Schweitzer to the roster, or he will miss the remainder of the season. Sometimes these moves happen relatively quickly, or, in other cases, the team waits until the final minute to make a move.

If Schweitzer is activated soon, he figures to be back in the mix at right guard. Either way, Schweitzer’s potential return gives the Commanders terrific depth on the interior of the offensive line.

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Del Rio glad for Chase Young to return, but his message remains same

Del Rio is excited about Chase Young’s return, but everything remains about the team first.

Jack Del Rio is glad Chase Young is coming back soon…but he is not going to change his message.

Young tore an ACL in the ninth game in 2021, a home win over Tampa Bay. Young played in 15 games in 2020 contributing 7.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended, 3 fumble recoveries, 10 tackles for a loss and 12 QB hits.

But 2021 was a very disappointing season, as Jack Del Rio and Ron Rivera exhibited frustration and talked of players needing to do their jobs and play as a part of a unit. Del Rio this year went as far as to say that last year some players played like “they were independent contractors.”

Del Rio Thursday expressed to the media his expectations for Young when he returns.

“Play hard. Do the best you can to help the team. The biggest thing is not to make it about him personally. Just come out, give great effort, fit into the rotation and do your job. That is what our guys have been doing to allow us to play well. That’s not going to change.”

There you have it. Del Rio is saying the defensive players have played together, accepting their roles and their calls in given situations, Del Rio stating publicly he expects Young to do the same.

Del Rio wisely stated he expresses and emphasizes these principles to the defensive unit and that too will not change.

“The whole group. We talk about that all the time. It is about us working together. It will be no different when he returns. I know there will be a lot of attention on him and I’m excited to get him myself, to have him return. It is still really about us doing our job, how it works together and how it leads to a lot better results on Sunday when you’re doing it.”

Del Rio’s message is so simple for each defensive player. It’s not about you; It is about the team.

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Commanders kicker Joey Slye named NFC special teams player of the month

It’s the second straight month the Commanders have won this award. Punter Tress Way won it in October.

When the Washington Commanders released longtime kicker Dustin Hopkins early in the 2021 season, they felt it was just time for a change. Washington signed Chris Blewitt to replace him, and things couldn’t have gone any worse.

The Blewitt experience didn’t last long as Washington cut him after two games, signing Joey Slye. Washington was lucky that Slye was available. He’d been with the 49ers while Robbie Gould was injured and immediately solidified the kicking position, although he’d miss a few games with a hamstring injury.

The Commanders signed Slye to a two-year contract extension in the offseason, and on Thursday, he was named NFC special teams player of the month for November.

Slye was terrific for the surging Commanders last month, drilling all 10 of his field-goal attempts, including ones from 55 and 58 yards, in the upset win over the Eagles in Week 10.

Slye made seven of his eight point-after attempts in November and scored 37 points for a team that has won six of their last seven games.

Washington punter Tress Way won the award in October. It’s the first time in franchise history that Washington has won the award in back-to-back months.

Congratulations to Slye.

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Good Morning Football names Commanders RB Brian Robinson as Week 12’s top rookie

Somehow, Robinson was robbed of winning “Angry Runs” for Week 12.

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. had a career game in Sunday’s 19-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

The rookie from Alabama rushed for a career-high 105 yards and also caught a 14-yard touchdown pass. Not only did Robinson churn out tough yards against Atlanta in the rain, but he also produced plenty of highlights.

His touchdown reception was a thing of pure beauty as he ran through the Falcons. He followed that up with a second-half run where he showed off his quickness and vision before flashing his power by running through another Falcon for a first down.

Somehow, Robinson didn’t win Good Morning Football’s “Angry Runs” award for Week 12. Instead, somehow, Kyle Brandt chose former Washington running back Samaje Perine.

Really? Come on, Kyle.

But Robinson did receive love on Tuesday’s edition of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network. Brandt’s co-host, Peter Schrager, named his “Fabulous Five” NFL rookies for Week 12.

Guess who came in at No. 1? Brian Robinson Jr.

Well deserved for Robinson.

He still should’ve won the scepter for “Angry Runs,” as he had more than one “angry run” during the game.

Robinson continues to round into form after missing the first four games of his rookie season. Robinson is one of the NFL’s best stories this season.

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Commanders and Giants to battle for NFC playoff spot

It’s been a while since Washington and New York have played meaningful December football against one another.

It’s been 7 NFL seasons since Washington and New York played meaningful, important games in December against each other.

The Commanders, on Sunday, go to New York to face the Giants (7-4) who are in the 6th position, one-half game ahead of Washington. The oddity of the Washington schedule is going to be magnified greatly because both teams are unexpectedly in playoff contention as we enter December.

Consequently, Washington will play at the Giants on Dec. 4, enjoy its bye week on Dec. 11 and then turn right around and host the Giants in their next game on Dec. 18. Thus, both games will have large playoff implications, and for both teams.

The last time Washington and the Giants faced each other late in the season with both teams in playoff contention was 2016.  The Giants (10-5) had locked up a spot in the NFC playoffs. They traveled to meet Washington (8-6-1) at FedEx Field. The game meant everything for Washington, who with a win, would qualify for the playoffs. Yet, it was the Giants who from the opening kickoff, played with motivation and purpose, ending Washington’s season with a 19-10 victory.

This season the Giants have lost both of their games within the division, having lost twice to Dallas. Washington is 1-2 within the division, having lost to Philadelphia and at Dallas and defeating the Eagles in Philadelphia. Washington is 4-4 in the conference, while the Giants are 3-4 against the NFC.

If you are interested, Washington has the higher strength of schedule (.515 – .456) and also the higher strength of victory over the Giants (.395 -.381).

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Commanders earning the respect of ESPN panel

Ryan Clark even praised the atmosphere at FedEx Field for the win over the Falcons.

ESPN couldn’t help but plan a segment on the Commanders, after all, they have won six of their last seven games.

Not sure how they compute such, but ESPN Analytics figures the Commanders have a 63% chance of making the playoffs.

Here are several excerpts from the segment.

“The Commanders have pressured opposing quarterbacks 33 percent of their drop backs this season, fifth in the NFL.” Marcus Spears

“Last year we sat at this table and I told you how selfish this defensive line was. It is so clear to me now that these guys are playing together and staying on the same page. They understand their rush lanes, having communication with each other.” Marcus Spears

“Jon Allen is a top five defensive tackle in this league. His impact on games kinda goes unnoticed because of the success of the team but I will take him along with any other (DT in the NFL).” Marcus Spears

“I think they are a problem for offenses because both of those interior guys (Allen and Daron Payne) are playing well.” Dan Orlovsky

“The greatest thing about this defense is they can play the run with seven. They are physical enough.” Marcus Spears

“Now that Brian Robinson has emerged, he has added a different level of physicality to the run game. It has changed the entire energy of the team. This team now has an identity. They are going to play tough, physical football on both sides of the line of scrimmage.” Ryan Clark

“They got a quarterback… sign me up any day to play against in the secondary. But when you look at him on this team, he gives them energy. I was in the stadium this week… the energy was like college. It is almost a collegiate feel. I think it is because of the quarterback and the identity they have as a team.” Ryan Clark

“Brian Robinson has changed the brand of their offense. It’s a physical brand. BYOB–Be your own blocker. And that is what Brian Robinson has brought.” Dan Orlovsky

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Carson Wentz has more touchdown passes than Russell Wilson

Carson Wentz hasn’t played since Week 6.

Remember how badly the Washington Commanders wanted quarterback Russell Wilson last offseason? Washington reportedly offered at least three first-round picks for Wilson, who instead wanted to go to the Denver Broncos.

Instead, the Commanders traded for Carson Wentz.

As it turns out, the Commanders may have dodged a bullet here.

Wilson, who signed a five-year, $245-million contract extension with the Broncos, has completed 58.9% of his passes with eight touchdowns and five interceptions through 10 games. The Broncos, who were expected to challenge the Kansas City Chiefs, sit at 3-8 and look like one of the three worst teams in the NFL.

Meanwhile, Wentz, who hasn’t played since Week 6, has 10 touchdown passes on the season. Before Wentz fractured his finger in the Week 6 win at Chicago, he had three solid games and three games in which he didn’t play well at all. Yet, he has thrown more touchdown passes than Wilson.

Can you imagine if Wilson were playing this badly in Washington? And with Taylor Heinicke behind him?

In games against the Jaguars, Lions and Titans, Wentz looked better than Wilson has all season. While Wentz has been replaced as Washington’s starting quarterback, the Commanders can easily move on from him in the offseason.

The Broncos, who are under new ownership, are tied to Wilson for a while.

Wilson may turn things around. His past should give Denver hope. But what if he doesn’t?

Washington fans may not be thrilled with Wentz, but it could be worse. At least the Commanders have their draft picks and cap room to improve a team in the offseason that has currently won six of their last seven games.

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Commanders coach Ron Rivera wants one of those big hats

Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. established a new trend with his “big hat.” Now, Ron Rivera wants one. This needs to happen.

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. was the talk of NFL Twitter after his first career 100-yard game in Sunday’s win over the Atlanta Falcons.

But it wasn’t Robinson’s performance or the two runs where he ran over and through Atlanta defenders that made him the talk of NFL Twitter.

It was his postgame hat.

Check it out.

As it turns out, that company’s name is Noggin Boss, and you can find them here. While they aren’t licensed by the NFL — yet — you can create your own designs.

It didn’t take long for the NHL’s Washington Capitals to get in on the fun Monday.

Count Commanders head coach Ron Rivera as the next one to want a Commanders’ big hat.

Rivera was asked during his Monday meeting with the media if he would get one of the hats.

“Oh yeah, absolutely,” Rivera said. 

In an interview with JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, Rivera again discussed the hat.

“I love the hat; I did,” Rivera said while laughing. “In fact, I’m trying to get one of those hats.”

Finlay responded that it could be arranged for Rivera, stating how Robinson knows the company’s owner.

“I hope so,” Rivera said.

Can we please make this happen?

Rivera always wears a hat during the game; how cool would he be if he wore the big hat during one of Washington’s games?

It’s good to see Rivera smiling and having fun. He’s dealt with a lot since coming to Washington in 2020. Now, we really need to see Rivera land one of those hats.

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