After over two weeks spent ramping up for real game action, the Washington Commanders will get their first taste of football against an opponent on Saturday against the Carolina Panthers.
And while few would claim that any outcome or specific moment from a preseason game could predict how the regular season unfolds, these games are important benchmarks for coaches to evaluate. When it comes to the Commanders offense, a big focus of Saturday will be getting into a rhythm.
"You want to see some consistency out there," said coach Ron Rivera. "You want to see some consistency in the huddle, breaking the huddle, getting to the line of scrimmage and then being successful with the plays that are called."
The first time the offense takes the field will be important. How that first group seizes the moment can settle nerves, establish a tone and offer indicators as where they are at as a unit.
"When the starters play, you want that first drive to be seamless, you want to convert on third down, you want them to get a big play, you want them to score points," Logan Paulsen said.
The same applies for the other side of the ball.
"Defensively, you want to get off the field on third down," Paulsen said. "It sounds really simple, but just that level of confidence in those situations, with that first group specifically, shows a lot about where this team is at."
Playing against the Panthers offense comes with an opportunity that the Commanders will enjoy. Both Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold have a good chunk of NFL experience under their belt, so the first two Commanders group that goes out there will be tested at a high level.
"It's a good measuring stick for the depth of the roster," Paulsen said.
On both sides of the ball, Saturday will be vital for players clawing to stay on the roster.
"Those guys who are fighting for a spot, this is a real football game for those guys," Santana Moss said. "They're going to eat right this week, they're going to sleep right the day before the game, and they're gonna go out there and play with their hair on fire."
Here's a morning roundup of what the local and national media have to say about the Washington Commanders on Friday, August 12, 2022. All reports, rumors and conjecture are a reflection of the media conversation and are not endorsed or confirmed by the Washington Commanders.
The reports and deals expressed in this article have not been confirmed by Washington, nor do they reflect any insider information from anyone in the front office.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about Kam Curl's versatility.
- NBC Sports Washington's Pete Hailey writes about Mike Adams, the man in charge of the Commanders' practice playlist.
- The Washington Times' Matthew Paras writes about how rookie Brian Robinson's fighter mentality has helped prepare him for the Commanders.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about the developing chemistry between Jahan Dotson and Carson Wentz.
- The Washington Post's Nicki Jhabvala writes about the Commanders' offensive line looking to pick up where they left off from last season.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux offers five things to know about the Commanders new DL coach Jeff Zgonina.
- The Athletic's Ben Standig writes about what William Jackson III has shared to help out Christian Holmes.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about Sam Cosmi's increased comfortability heading into Year 2.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about how players are looking forward to the Aug.6 practice at FedExField.
- The Washington Post's Sam Fortier writes about a leaner Antonio Gibson who is confident heading into year 3.
- The Washington Post's Nicki Jhabvala writes about the similar paths of Percy Butler and Washington Legend Brian Mitchell
- NBC Sports Washington's Peter Hailey writes about how Kendall Fuller's standout knowledge of the playbook, football IQ has set him up for success at camp so far
- The Athletic's Ben Standig writes about rookie Percy Butler's adjustment to NFL life and dad life.
- NBC Sports Washington's Peter Hailey writes about Taylor Heinicke's love of LEGOS.
- The Washington Post's PJ Morales writes about the hunt for the team's next starting dual-returner.
Check Out What's On Commanders.com:
- Media roundup | Tress Way loves Percy Butler, looks forward to 'watching him hunt' on special team
- 'New best day ever': Cancer survivor Josiah Desper and family cherish a special night out at FedExField
- Training Camp Notebook | Rivera breaks down expectations for Commanders' preseason opener
- From the booth | Bram Weinstein gives his training camp takeaways
- Training Camp Notebook | McLaurin scores goal line TD as timing with Wentz improves
- Hail Mail | Assessing depth at DE and an update on the O-Line
- Commanders announce 2022 home jersey schedule
- Jeff Zgonina named Commanders' new defensive line coach
- McLaurin has confidence in his and Carson Wentz's budding chemistry
- Media roundup | Sam Cosmi's progress feels like 'night and day' from rookie season
- Training camp notebook | Commanders begin preparations for season opener
- Media roundup | Carson Wentz's TD to Terry McLaurin felt like a 'game rep'
- 4 standouts from Week 2 of training camp
- Brian Robinson is becoming more than a downhill threat
- Training camp notebook | Inside Sam Howell's 'awesome' relationship with Taylor Heinicke
- Media roundup | Taylor Heinicke praises Sam Howell's arm strength, says the rookie QB 'can sling it'
- Training camp notebook | All about rest and recovery
- Media roundup | Charles Leno calls Brian Robinson a 'natural running back"
- Washington Commanders to induct Mike Bass into Ring of Fame during 2022 season opener