The Washington Commanders are entering the dead period, meaning players won't be hitting the field together again until training camp in late July.
The countdown to the regular season has officially begun, and there could be a lot to be excited about heading into 2022. The team has a new quarterback leading an offense that is brimming with potential, while the defense is looking to bounce back from its performance in 2021.
And after a glance at the list of opponents, there are some favorable opportunities for the Commanders to secure a winning record for the first time since 2016. So, Commanders.com will be looking at each team on the schedule. We'll start off with the home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1.
- Washington leads the regular season series, 6-1.
- Jacksonville is one of Washington's least-common opponents ahead of only the Houston Texans.
- Washington has won four straight games against Jacksonville dating back to 2006.
- Washington has a .857 winning percentage against Jacksonville.
- Washington's most recent matchup against Jacksonville came in 2018, when Josh Johnson threw for 151 yards while carrying the ball nine times for 49 yards in a 16-13 win.
- Memorable moment: Sept. 14, 2014: Alfred Morris carried the ball 22 times for 85 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-10 rout against Jacksonville.
- Head coach Doug Pederson (1st in Jacksonville)
- Offensive coordinator Press Taylor (1st)
- Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell (1st)
- Special teams coordinator Heath Farwell (1st)
There was plenty of intrigue surrounding the Jaguars when Urban Meyer, one of the winningest college football coaches in recent memory, took the reins of the franchise, but the new era ended about as quickly as it began.
The hype was there on paper. The Jaguars took Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick, and the team had surrounded the former Clemson standout with solid depth players that it hoped would be the foundation for a rebuilding year.
The results, however, were the opposite of those expectations. Jacksonville slumped out to an 0-5 start before squeaking out a victory against the Miami Dolphins. Any hope they built with an upset over the Buffalo Bills in Week 9 was quickly dashed away, as they lost eight straight before pulling out a regular season finale win against the Indianapolis Colts.
The offense was one of the worst in the NFL, scoring a league-low 14.9 points per game. The defense was slightly better, but opposing teams had an easy time finding the end zone, as they allowed 26.9 points per contest.
Meyer was fired 14 weeks into the season, ushering in Doug Pederson and a more experienced coaching staff. The Jaguars remain in rebuilding mode, but the hope is that a draft class that has been praised by some analysts can provide groundwork for the team to get its first winning record since 2017.
- FREE AGENCY
- G Brandon Scherff
- LB Foyesade Oluokun
- DT Folorunso Fatukasi
- WR Christian Kirk
- TE Evan Engram
- WR Zay Jones
- CB Darious Williams
- WR Laquon Treadwell
- K Ryan Santoso
- CB Xavier Crawford
- DE Arden Key
- DE Travon Walker, Georgia (No. 1 overall)
- LB Devin Lloyd, Utah (No. 20 overall)
- C Luke Fortner, Kentucky (No. 65 overall)
- RB Snoop Conner, Ole Miss (No. 154 overall)
- CB Gregory Junior, Ouachita Baptist (No. 197 overall)
- CB Montaric Brown, Arkansas (No. 222 overall)
- Wentz's rematch: The Colts and Carson Wentz put themselves in position to earn a playoff berth in 2021 heading into Week 18 against the Jaguars, and they infamously fell short and missed the postseason, partly because of a performance from Wentz that he admitted was poor. Washington will open the 2022 season against the Jaguars, and while Wentz knows that people are going to make a big deal about it, he's trying to avoid that hype and focus on securing a win for the team.
- Commanders O-line vs. No. 1 overall pick: The Jaguars picked Georgia's Travon Walker with the No. 1 overall pick believing that he could help rejuvenate the team's pass rush. He'll have his first test on the road against the Commanders' offensive line, which was ranked in the Top 10 in terms of ESPN's pass-block and run-block win-rate. The Commanders proved that they could rely on their depth last season, as multiple starters missed at least one game. The Commanders lost both their starting guards to free agents but replaced them with Pro Bowl players Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner. The amount of starting experience up front should make life difficult for Walker in his NFL debut.
- Defense has a chance to start strong: The Commanders have the easiest strength of schedule in 2022. In a way, that makes life easier for a team that Ron Rivera believes is primed for a jump in Year 3 of his tenure. However, it also means that they will need to take advantage of every opportunity to keep its momentum going forward. Every team looks different in Week 18 compared to Week 1, but securing a win in Week 1 goes a long way towards setting the tone for the rest of the year. The Commanders have a chance to do so against the team that has had the worst record for the past two season.s