Friday, April 12, 2024.
Home Sports Commanders get down to 53, but their roster remains ‘very fluid’

Commanders get down to 53, but their roster remains ‘very fluid’


The Washington Commanders released 20 players and placed four others on injured reserve Tuesday to get to the NFL’s 53-man limit, but Coach Ron Rivera stressed the roster is “very fluid” and expected to change in the coming days.

Washington’s initial roster included a few deviations from previous incarnations — it is down from five linebackers to four and up from nine defensive linemen to 11 — and a couple of slightly surprising names.

Undrafted rookie Mitchell Tinsley made the roster as the seventh wide receiver, and the front office may have saved his spot by sacrificing on the offensive line, where the Commanders kept just nine but could sign back a veteran soon. The team kept promising, inconsistent tight end Curtis Hodges but didn’t keep promising, inconsistent wide receiver Kazmeir Allen, which probably leaves Dax Milne as the punt returner.

Rivera said he was “very comfortable” with the roster.

“We’re deep where we need to be,” he said. “We’re younger. This is a pretty young roster if you look at the total numbers in terms of age. It’s a physical group of guys. I like what we got on the offensive [and] defensive lines because of that. Everything starts up front, and I think that’s something we kept in mind as we’re finishing this roster up.”

“[The line] drives our whole defense,” General Manager Martin Mayhew added, explaining why the team kept 11 linemen. “That’s a priority for us. We felt like it’s important to have depth there and important to keep those young players that are playing well for us.”

A key for Commanders’ revamped offensive line: Changing of the guards

Though the roster’s biggest question mark remains quarterback, as it has been all four years of Rivera’s tenure, the Commanders will scour the pool of 1,184 players cut leaguewide to try to find upgrades on the margins and build out the 16-man practice squad. Players with less than four years of NFL experience are subject to waivers; those with four or more are now free agents.

“Our pro department will be scouring [the waiver wire],” Mayhew said. “We’re always trying to get better.”

Waiver claims will be awarded at noon Wednesday. After that, teams can begin building their practice squads.

Rivera said the Commanders aren’t interested in re-signing any of the 12 players they cut Monday, including running back Jaret Patterson, and considered those let go Tuesday as stronger candidates for the practice squad.

On Tuesday, Washington cut two veterans who were key reserves in training camp (center Tyler Larsen and fullback/tight end Alex Armah), two rookies who flashed at times (Allen and offensive lineman Mason Brooks) and two young cornerbacks it claimed off the waiver wire a year ago (Tariq Castro-Fields and Rachad Wildgoose).

When asked about Larsen and Armah, Rivera emphasized the roster was not finalized, suggesting the team could re-sign them after future moves. In his answer about Armah, he pointed out the team is carrying four tight ends.

“We’ll see how that all plays out,” he added.

‘Like memorizing a periodic table’: Learning the West Coast offense is no joke

The other cuts: offensive tackle Alex Akingbulu, defensive tackle Abdullah Anderson, defensive end William Bradley-King, safety Terrell Burgess, quarterback Jake Fromm, running back Derrick Gore, linebacker De’Jon “Scoota” Harris, offensive lineman Jaryd Jones-Smith, offensive lineman Nolan Laufenberg, defensive tackle Benning Potoa’e, safety Kendall Smith, wide receiver Brycen Tremayne, cornerback Nick Whiteside II and cornerback Jace Whittaker.

It’s possible some players who made the initial roster, such as defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis (calf), will soon be placed on injured reserve. Players placed on IR before the cut deadline Tuesday — tackle Braeden Daniels, running back Jonathan Williams, wide receiver Kyric McGowan, tight end Brandon Dillon and tight end Kaden Smith — are not eligible to play this season. Those placed on it after Tuesday must sit out at least four weeks but can return.

Rivera gave similar answers when asked whether Mathis would go on IR or if defensive end Chase Young (stinger) had been cleared to return to contact in practice.

“We’re not going to talk about that,” he said.

Perhaps the most surprising player to make the roster is Hodges, a 2022 undrafted free agent out of Arizona State. Hodges, who spent his rookie year on IR, has an athletic frame at 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds. He runs impressive routes but struggled with drops in training camp and underwhelmed in the preseason. In three games, he ran 37 routes, was targeted five times and caught as many passes as he dropped (two) for 14 yards.

“He really didn’t practice last year. That’s part of the problem,” Rivera said. “For us, that’s a rookie right there. I mean, this is a young man that’s got a tremendous skill set. His physical traits are very difficult to find, and just getting an opportunity to practice this year completely was a good thing for him. … We feel that this is a young man that has an ability, and we’ll see how it grows and develops.”

The initial 53-man roster, as of Tuesday:

Sam Howell, Jacoby Brissett

Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, Byron Pringle, Dax Milne, Mitchell Tinsley

Charles Leno Jr., Andrew Wylie, Sam Cosmi, Saahdiq Charles, Nick Gates, Chris Paul, Ricky Stromberg, Cornelius Lucas, Trent Scott

Logan Thomas, John Bates, Cole Turner, Curtis Hodges

Brian Robinson Jr., Antonio Gibson, Chris Rodriguez Jr.

Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, Chase Young, Phidarian Mathis, John Ridgeway, Efe Obada, Andre Jones Jr., K.J. Henry, Casey Toohill, James Smith-Williams

Cody Barton, Jamin Davis, David Mayo, Khaleke Hudson

Kendall Fuller, Emmanuel Forbes, Benjamin St-Juste, Christian Holmes, Danny Johnson

Kam Curl, Darrick Forrest, Percy Butler, Quan Martin, Jeremy Reaves

Punter/holder Tress Way, kicker Joey Slye, long snapper Camaron Cheeseman

POST AUTHOR: Sam Fortier

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here