Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Commanders 2023 season review | Tight ends

12312023 WK17 WAS vs SF KC48980

The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team unless directly referenced in a quote.

The Washington Commanders are just a few weeks removed from the 2023 season, which resulted in a disappointing 4-13 record. The franchise is headed in a new direction this offseason with the No. 2 overall pick and plenty of available cap space for new general manager Adam Peters to work with.

Over the next few weeks, Peters, and eventually the new head coach, will go through the roster to determine what moves, if any, should be taken to bolster each position. Though we don't have any say in how the new front office will mold the team going forward, will look back at how each group performed last season, breaking down top performers and looking ahead at where they could go next.

Next, we'll focus on the tight ends.

On the roster

  • Logan Thomas: 16 games (15 starts), 55 receptions, 496 yards, 4 TDs
  • John Bates: 17 games (4starts), 19 receptions, 151 yards
  • Cole Turner: 12 games (1 start) 11 receptions, 120 yards
  • Armani Rogers: IR

Top performers (per Pro Football Focus)

  • OVR: Cole Turner (64.7)
  • RBLK: Cole Turner (68.3)
  • PBLK: John Bates (79.0)
  • RECV: Cole Turner (62.1)

Stats to know

  • Thomas was by far the team's most productive tight end, recording 55 receptions for 496 yards and four touchdowns. Eric Bieniemy referred to his offense as a tight end friendly system, and that was true for Thomas at least. His 78 targets -- the second-most of his career -- were fourth on the team. Bates and Turner, however, were targeted on a combined 43 passes.
  • Turner might not have been targeted nearly as often, but he did have the best hands in the position group. His catch rate of 73.3% was fourth among Washington players with at least 15 receptions, and his success rate of 60 -- a stat from Pro Football Reference that measures receptions gaining 40% of yards required on first down, 60% on second down and 100% on third and fourth down -- was tied for second on the team.

Questions to answer

-- Can Cole Turner finally turn into a viable threat: Turner was drafted out of Nevada for his ability to be a red zone target. That was primarily what he did when he switched from receiver to tight end near the end of his college career, and there have been flashes of that in the past two preseasons. However, a mixture of injuries and lack of opportunities has led to him getting just 13 receptions and 143 yards in 22 games. He has yet to score a touchdown in his career. Turner did look better as a blocker in 2023, but he was drafted to help the passing game. Whether he actually turns into that will be up to the new regime to get it out of him.

-- How much depth should the Commanders add in 2024: Turner, Bates and Thomas were the only three tight ends who received targets in 2023. Bates is known more for being a blocker than a pass-catcher, and we've already covered Turner's contributions in the last two seasons. The Commanders could stand to get more from the position, and there are some options in free agency (like Dalton Schultz, Noah Fant and Mike Gesicki) and the draft (Brock Bowers and Code Stover) who could be interesting additions. The big question is what Washington will decide to do with Rogers. The previous regime was high on the UNLV quarterback-turned-tight end and what he could become, but general manager Adam Peters and the new head coach might have different opinions. Regardless of whether Washington keeps Sam Howell as the starter or drafts a quarterback at No. 2 overall, they will likely need more options at tight end to make the signal-caller's life a little easier as they learn a new system.

Related Content