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NFL 2024 Team Breakdown: Washington Commanders

Welcome back to the Team Breakdown Series (I'll have a better name for next year), where I give an overview for every NFL team heading into the 2024 season. Up next are the Commanders, who finished at 31st overall in my rankings, despite some favorable matchups throughout the season.


 

Strengths


  1. Versatile Offensive Skill

  2. Defensive Interior

  3. Veteran Leadership


There is no question that the Commanders have some versatile weapons on offense. Scary Terry looks to reclaim his rightful spot inside the top 10 WRs. Austin Ekeler is running out of juice, but will still provide some much needed spark as he splits reps with Brian Robinson Jr, and the tight end duo of Zach Ertz and Ben Sinnott is gives off the vibe of Ertz and Trey McBride from two seasons ago.


Jonathan Allen is a top 5 DT in the league, and Da'Ron Payne and Johnny Newton will be great pieces to rotate around him. Add a solid LB rotation of Frankie Luvu, Bobby Wagner, and Jamin Davis, and opponents will have a tough time running inside.


This franchise has new executive leadership, so have NFL vets who have won Super Bowls and made deep playoff pushes will help this franchise in unexpected ways early on. Being able to lean on Bobby Wagner, Zach Ertz, Andrew Wylie, and Nick Allegretti will pay dividends in the long run.


Weaknesses


  1. Kliff Kingsbury

  2. Lackluster Offensive Line

  3. Pass Defense


It's no secret I have a deep hatred for Kliff Kingsbury for nearly derailing Kyler's career. Not only that, but he has some of the most bland offensive design in the NFL. Pair that with Jayden Daniels, who I'm not overly fond of, and Washington will be in for a rude awakening offensively over the next few seasons.


To make matters worse, the Commanders OL might be the worst in the league. Although I like Wylie and Allegretti as swing tackles and guards, they aren't serviceable as full time starters. The only big man who I could see playing above average is Tyler Biadasz, but he was surrounded by amazing talent in Dallas where he did decent.


On the other side of the ball, they'll have a pretty subpar pass rush unit, and pretty lackluster defenders in the secondary to give them more time. Unless the rotational trio of Allen, Payne, and Newton can get into the QBs lap at least every other play, I don't think this defense will hold up for very long game in and game out.


Key Additions


  1. Ben Sinnott - Tight End

  2. Mike Sainristil - Defensive Back

  3. Dan Quinn - Head Coach


Ben Sinnott was my 2nd highest rated tight end in this class, and for what it's worth, Kliff will take advantage of his starting tight ends. I don't think he'll start right away, but I also don't think a 33 year old Zach Ertz coming off of an injury will fight him off for long either.


Despite a bad secondary, I actually love Mike Sainristil, and think he'll be a focal point in rebuilding that defense. His aggressive play style fits perfectly into Dan Quinn's defense, and he should have a similar impact as Brian Branch did for the Lions defense a year ago.


Speaking of Dan Quinn, adding him as a HC is a solid move. I think his downfall in Atlanta came more from a lack of adding star power in the offseasons, and not having enough guys to run the system how he wants. He showed he can still manage a top 5 defense in the league year over year, and this defense could find it's way into the top 10 in a few years time.

Dark Horse


Frankie Luvu - Linebacker / Edge Defender


If Frankie is used correctly, which I believe Dan Quinn will be able to do, he'll be used as an edge defender in pass rush situations, where he's shown great potential at before. Considering their lack of edge rushers who can apply constant pressure, I can see him being used here to add another layer to this defense that it's currently lacking.


Record


6-11


Despite a low overall ranking, I think the Commanders actually matchup well against other teams throughout their schedule. They open the season against the Buccaneers, Giants, and Bengals, and will take 2 out of those 3 for multiple reasons.


The Bucs will be without Dave Canales, who singlehandedly resotred Baker's career, and will have to adjust to their first game without him, the Giants game could go either way, and the Bengals and Joe Burrow usually struggle early in the season.


Add in another divisional win, and some favorable home games against the Panthers and Titans, and a post-bye matchup against the Saints, there's a chance the Commies can win 7 games. They most likely won't win all 7 matchups, so 6 is where they land.


Photo: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports

 

Final Notes:


The success of this franchise for the next several years hangs on the development of Jayden Daniels. Historically, his red flags between taking too many sacks, holding onto the ball for too long, running when he has a clean pocket, and overall collegiate production, all spell out for a short NFL career. I never want to see a player fail, I just don't think he has what it takes to be a difference maker in the big leagues.


We'll be taking a brief break from this series as I drop my 100th blog for the House Enterprise, where I revisit one of the first breakdowns I made for the page!

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