Commanders Called ‘Disastrous’ Landing Spot for Young QB

Kliff Kingsbury

Getty Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.

The Washington Commanders have an uphill battle when it comes to perception. Without results, that’s going to be tough to change.

The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen ranked the Commanders as the least-ideal landing spot out of quarterback-needy teams for the group of young quarterbacks available in the NFL draft.

Washington seems like a lock to pick a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick on April 25 in Detroit — either LSU’s Jayden Daniels or North Carolina’s Drake Maye.

“On top of their offensive issues, the Commanders had one of the worst defenses in the league last season,” Nguyen wrote. “They might be able to improve under the leadership of new head coach Dan Quinn but the defense figures to continue to be a bottom-10 unit. Washington could be a disastrous landing spot for a young quarterback.”

Commanders: Average to Bad at Almost Everything

Nguyen determined his rankings based on grades given to the most basic aspects of a team that would impact a quarterback, young or old: pass blocking, run game, weapons, play-caller and defense.

The Commanders received an F for defense and Cs for run blocking and play-caller. They were given a B- for weapons and got their highest grade in the run game, getting a B.

The Commanders finished last in the NFL in team defense and passing defense in 2023 and were 27th in rushing defense.

On offense, the Commanders were 25th in team offense, 18th in passing offense and 27th in rushing offense and have a new offensive coordinator in 2023 with former Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Whether that’s a good or bad thing is yet to be determined.

“The running game could be much better under new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who had strong running attacks calling plays for the Cardinals,” Nguyen wrote. “Kingsbury is a creative play designer but ultimately, the lack of sequencing in his play-calling and lack of attention to detail make his offense hard to watch at times. His offenses in Arizona relied too much on the playmaking abilities of Kyler Murray, and leaning too much on a rookie quarterback to create usually isn’t a recipe for success.”

What Weapons Do Commanders Have Coming Back?

The Commanders will be able to surround whichever young quarterback they select with some proven weapons — albeit criminally underused ones in offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy’s offense in 2023.

Running back Brian Robinson had over 1,000 yards of total offense and 9 touchdowns in 2023 — 733 rushing yards and 368 receiving yards. He also averaged a robust 4.1 yards per carry and 10.2 yards per catch.

“Brian Robinson is an excellent young running back who was underutilized last season in Eric Bieniemy’s pass-happy offense,” Nguyen wrote.

Washington wide receiver Terry McLaurin has been one of the NFL’s best at his position since the Commanders drafted him out of Ohio State in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft. McLaurin had over 900 receiving yards as a rookie and has had over 1,000 receiving yards each of the last four seasons.

The Commanders spent a first-round pick on Penn State’s Jahan Dotson in 2022 and hope he can develop into a solid No. 2 wide receiver at this point. The No. 16 overall pick had 523 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns as a rookie in 2022 in just 12 games. In 2023, he had 518 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns while playing in all 17 games.

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