Washington Commanders 2023 Season Key Highlights
- Owner Change:
- New owner Josh Harris has taken over, fulfilling the wishes of many Commanders fans seeking a change in ownership.
- Coaching Update:
- Eric Bieniemy has joined as offensive coordinator, raising hopes for a rejuvenated offense, leveraging his successful stint with the Chiefs.
- Quarterback Situation:
- Sophomore quarterback Sam Howell is the focal point, with high expectations pinned on him to elevate the team’s offensive game.
- Jacoby Brissett has been signed as a reliable backup and a seasoned game manager.
- Roster Changes:
- Free Agency: Additions include Andrew Wylie (right tackle) and Nick Gates (center) to strengthen the offensive line.
- NFL Draft: The Commanders bolstered their secondary with Emmanuel Forbes and Jartavius Martin and added depth to the offensive line with Ricky Stromberg and Braeden Daniels.
- Key Matchups:
- New York Giants (22nd Oct): Seen as a potential win and a showcase game for Howell.
- Philadelphia Eagles (29th Oct): A tough game with a focus on the Commanders’ defense to provide an upset.
- Dallas Cowboys (23rd Nov): A crucial game on Thanksgiving, with historical significance and intense rivalry involved.
- Season Forecast:
- Predicted to achieve an 8-9 record, focusing on holistic development.
- The progress of Sam Howell and the potential return of a dominant Chase Young are pivotal.
- The team aspires for a playoff spot but prioritizes the development of young talents and a stable future for the franchise.
- Previous Performances:
- The Commanders had an 8-8-1 record in 2022 and a 7-10 record in 2021, finishing 3rd in the NFC East.
- Fan Expectations:
- Fans are optimistic about the changes and are keenly looking forward to witnessing progress and an evolved gameplay, especially from the young prospects.
Washington Commanders 2023 Season Preview
The Washington Commanders celebrated for the first time in a while over the offseason, as their controversial owner finally sold up and left. The arrival of new owner, Josh Harris, already answered the wishes of Commanders fans, but can the team now deliver some on-field success?
After years of uninspiring quarterback play, the team are hoping that their sophomore quarterback, Sam Howell, can give them hope. To help turn him into the face of the franchise, the Commanders secured the services of Eric Bienemy as their offensive coordinator, whom many had pegged for a head coaching role. Fresh off a Super Bowl and years of success with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, Bieniemy is a fantastic addition to a franchise that needs a spark.
The Commanders’ defense is filled with talent, and there are playmakers around Howell on the offense. A second-year leap from the young quarterback would make the Commanders an intriguing team and give Josh Harris a dream start to his tenure.
Significant Roster Changes: Free Agency
The Commanders made some smart veteran moves during the offseason, highlighted by the signing of right tackle Andrew Wylie, who comes over with Bieniemy from the Chiefs. The move allows the team to shuffle their 2021 second-round pick, Sam Cosmi, into the right guard position on a hopefully improved offensive line.
The offensive line received further help with the signing of center Nick Gates on a three-year, $16.5m deal. Gates has only played 12 games over the last two seasons thanks to injury, but in 2020, he recorded the second most snaps at center without giving up a sack.
A quarterback room led by Sam Howell brings hope and excitement, but also a lot of risk. Therefore, the Commanders added veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who proved he was a capable game manager with the Cleveland Browns last season. With Howell only having one start under his belt, the addition of Brissett makes a lot of sense.
Washington Commanders 2023 NFL Draft
The Commanders’ first selection came in the middle of the first round, opting to strengthen the secondary by adding Emmanuel Forbes out of Mississippi State. Forbes ranked 27th in Daniel Jeremiah’s (NFL Media Analyst) top 150 prospects list, referencing his “outstanding instincts and ball skills”.
Identifying corner as a need, Washington selected another defensive back in the second round. Jartavius Martin (Illinois) is a versatile player who played all across the field in his long college career. With Kendall Fuller already taking up one of the starting cornerback positions, his versatility will likely come in handy as Martin could find playing time in the slot.
The Commanders switched their attention to the offensive line in rounds 3 and 4, taking center Ricky Stromberg and Braeden Daniels. Both offer depth at important positions.
Washington wrapped up the draft by selecting edge defender, K.J. Henry, running back, Chris Rodriguez and linebacker, Andre Jones, on day 3.
2023-2024 Washington Commanders Key Matchups and Dates
New York Giants – 22nd Oct, 1.00pm ET
There are a lot of unknowns with the Commanders coming into the 2023 season, and wins may come at a premium. Therefore, they will have to turn up for games like this – a divisional matchup with home-field advantage, against a New York Giants team that has their own questions to answer.
This year will be all about progress and seeing the team work well together. The Giants aren’t going to be putting out a league-leading defense, unlike the other NFC East teams, so fans will be hoping to see a strong Sam Howell performance here.
Philadelphia Eagles – 29th Oct, 1.00pm ET
It is pretty tough to be playing in a division that has two of the favorites for the NFC. Nevertheless, divisional games often provide the league’s biggest upsets and the Commanders will be hoping their defense can give them a chance against one of the league’s best offenses.
Despite having a roster that would take them to the Super Bowl, the Eagles were unable to sweep the Commanders in 2022, suffering their first loss of the season in a shock 32 – 21 upset in week 10. Can Washington repeat the feat in 2023?
Dallas Cowboys – 23rd Nov, 4.30pm ET
The Commanders also proved to be a thorn in the side of the other NFC East juggernaut in 2022, beating the Cowboys 26 – 6 in the regular season finale. This game just happened to be Sam Howell’s only start of the season and the first of his NFL career.
This year’s visit to the Cowboys will fall on Thanksgiving. It is not a fixture that the Commanders have a good record in, losing seven of their eight Thanksgiving clashes with Dallas. Can they spoil the party this year?
2023-2024 Season Forecast
There is a whole lot of unknown about the Commanders this season. They have spent the last few years operating as a middling team, recording 7 or 8 wins in four of the last five seasons. They will likely need to show improvements this year for head coach Ron Rivera to remain in his role.
2023 is all about Sam Howell. Ron Rivera admitted that he didn’t realize how good Sam Howell was until he saw him defeat the Cowboys in week 18 of the 2022 season. Well, Howell is now the official starter, and it will be fascinating to see if he can utilize his talented playmakers and help the team to their first winning season since 2016.
This season is also a big one for Chase Young. After taking the league by storm in 2020, Young only played 12 games across his next two seasons due to injury. Consequently, the Commanders decided not to pick up his 5th year option. Can the talented defensive lineman get back onto the field and help take the Commanders’ defense to the next level?
Washington Commanders Official Predictions
Record Prediction: 8-9
I don’t see huge improvements for Washington Commanders in 2023, and the most likely scenario looks like another 7 or 8-win season. I am going to be optimistic and give them the 8, but it still won’t be good enough for a winning record.
The NFC East is so hard with the Eagles and Cowboys looking so strong, and I don’t see either side slipping up against the Commanders this year. Sam Howell is entering his first season as a starter and we can expect a lot of rookie mistakes. Thankfully, his supporting cast of Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Brian Robinson put him in a good spot to grow throughout the year.
If Chase Young returns to his dominant form, the team could end up securing the one or two extra wins required to sneak into the playoffs. Unfortunately, this doesn’t feel like a safe bet.
Overall, Washington fans will simply be hoping to see some progress from their young team in 2023. A weak NFC means playoff hopes are there, but seeing progression from their young quarterback will be higher on the priority list.
The Commanders came so close to a winning record last year, only managing an 8-8-1 record thanks to a tie with NFC East rivals, the New York Giants. In 2021, they finished 3rd in the NFC East with a record of 7-10.
The main additions for the Washington Commanders came on the offensive line, adding Andrew Wylie at right tackle and Nick Gates at center. They also added Jacoby Brissett as a backup to sophomore quarterback, Sam Howell.
Maybe the biggest addition was offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Can he reproduce the magic he had at the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes?
It is all about sophomore quarterback Sam Howell in 2023. Can he add a spark to a team that hasn’t had a winning record since 2016? If he is to do so, he will need the help of his offensive playmakers, such as fellow sophomore Jahan Dotson. Many have Dotson as a breakout candidate in 2023.
Washington Commanders most important games come from inside their division. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles are two of the favorites to be the NFCs representative in the Super Bowl, but the Commanders managed to beat them both last year. Finally, the Commanders will see the Giants as an opportunity to record two important victories.