The Washington Commanders are about a month removed from wrapping up the 2022 season with a win over the Dallas Cowboys, and now it is time to start looking at 2023 and how the team can build off its 8-8-1 finish.
Over the next few weeks, Commanders.com will break down every position group and lay out how the Commanders could improve the group in the coming months. Here are the positions we have covered so far:
Next up are the linebackers:
On the roster
- Cole Holcomb: 7 games (7 starts), 69 tackles, 1 PD -
- De’Jon Harris: 5 games
- Jamin Davis: 16 games (15 starts), 104 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 PD
- Jon Bostic: 15 games (5 starts), 25 tackles -
- David Mayo: 13 games (3 starts), 35 tackles, 1 sack, 1 PD -
- Khaleke Hudson: 13 games (1 starts), 11 tackles -
- Nate Gerry: 4 games
- Milo Eifler: 10 games, 4 tackles
-- Jamin Davis took a jump in Year 2: Davis had an uneven rookie season after the Commanders took him with the 19th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. There were certainly a handful of plays that showed what he could be, but there were also moments that revealed he had much more work to do.
There were far more positives than negatives in Year 2 for the former Kentucky Wildcat. He increased his stats across the board and led the Commanders with 104 tackles to go with three sacks, two fumble recoveries and a pass breakup, and he did so while being the primary play caller on defense when Holcomb began missing time.
"[It's] Huge. It really is. Not only just handling the huddle, but getting the calls out and setting everything up," said coach Ron Rivera. "He's really grown in probably the last six, seven weeks. You've really seen the growth."
There is some uncertainty for the Commanders at the linebacker position this offseason, but Davis has proven he can become the starter Washington envisioned when they drafted him.
The 2022 season was full of memorable moments for the Washington Commanders. Relive the best game action from the team.
-- Cole Holcomb's absence was felt: Linebacker has not always been the deepest position for the Commanders, but Holcomb has been one of their most reliable options throughout his career. Prior to this season, he was coming off a strong performance in which he had 142 tackles, seven pass breakups and two interceptions.
Holcomb's foot sprain, which ultimately led to him being placed on Injured Reserve, derailed what looked to be another solid year for the linebacker. Once he was gone, the defense was limited in terms of what it could expect from the position.
The Commanders were able to manage at first, but there were times when his absence was noticeable, particularly when the defense went against teams that used their running backs more often. From Weeks 12-17, the Commanders gave up at least 120 rushing yards in five consecutive games.
Holcomb was not the sole reason for those numbers, but as someone who has been one of the team's best run-stoppers, he would have been useful.
-- Moves on the horizon: As it stands right now, five of the eight linebackers on the Commanders' roster are set to hit free agency in some form once the new league year begins in March. Bostic, Holcomb and Mayo will be unrestricted free agents; Hudson is a restricted free agent; and Eifler is an exclusive rights free agent.
Washington has the ability to retain some of those players. For example, there are things the Commanders can do to ensure they are able to re-sign Eifler or Hudson if they choose to do so. Still, it is an opportunity to change the look of the position going forward.
The biggest question at the position Washington will need to answer is whether to retain Holcomb. He has shown growth over the last four seasons, but even if they do decide to keep him, there are several interesting options that could bolster the group even further.
Either way, it is reasonable to expect the linebacker room to look at least a little different in the 2023 season.
As mentioned above, Holcomb is one of more notable Commanders players set to hit the open market in March. Check out who else will be available in free agency, HERE.
Even if Washington does decide to add more talent through free agency, it could also benefit the team to add more depth through the draft. Check out who could be available this offseason, HERE.