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 tight ends.
On the roster
- Logan Thomas: 14 games (13 starts), 39 receptions, 323 yards, TD
- John Bates: 16 games (7 starts), 14 receptions, 108 yards, TD
- Cole Turner: 10 games (2 starts), 2 receptions, 23 yards
- Armani Rogers: 11 games (3 starts), 5 receptions, 64 yards
- Curtis Hodges: IR
-- Injuries hampered the position's production: It was expected back in training camp that the tight end position would be a strength for the Commanders' offense. Thomas was healthy enough for a Week 1 debut, Bates was slated to be the No. 2 option after a strong rookie year and Turner showed promise as a pass-catcher in the red zone.
Injuries, however, prevented the trio from being consistently available at the same time. That started as early as training camp, when a hamstring injury kept Turner out for a chunk of training camp, while Thomas, who worked all offseason to recover from a torn ACL, was bothered by a calf issue. Bates was the most reliable option at the position, but even he missed a game with a hamstring injury. Hodges was placed on Injured Reserve and missed the entire season.
As a result, production from the position was limited, as the players combined for 518 yards and two touchdowns.
The 2022 season was full of memorable moments for the Washington Commanders. Relive the best game action from the team.
-- Armani Rogers was a pleasant surprise: Not much was known about Rogers when he was signed as an undrafted free agent. That was because Rogers, who played quarterback for the UNLV Rebels and Ohio Bobcats, made the switch to tight end and was still learning the position. He still ended up being one of the stars of camp.
"What he did is quite frankly remarkable," said Commanders senior director of pro personnel Eric Stokes. "I can't say that I've really ever really seen anything move at this type of pace, and that's why I'm so excited about where he's going, his trajectory really moving forward."
Rogers did not get many looks as a pass-catcher, but he did make the most of his opportunities by catching 83.3% of his targets. The coaching staff liked him as a blocker, which was more useful when the team transitioned to a run-first philosophy.
Rogers was placed on Injured Reserve during his season, but he showed enough for coaches to maintain their excitement for his development.
-- Cole Turner can still have a bright future: Like Rogers, Turner created plenty of hype for himself with his ability to get open in the red zone. That was what he excelled at in college, and it looked like he was going to be a reliable target to the Commanders' quarterbacks.
Turner's hamstring injury eliminated that possibility. Turner was available for most of the season, but the injury pushed back part of his development. Turner was inactive until Week 5, and the most that Turner was able to contribute as a pass-catcher was in Week 6, when he had two catches for 23 yards.
There was much to be desired from Turner's production, but his young pro can still have a strong future with Washington. For example, blocking was an area that Turner needed to work on, so he spent extra time with tight ends coach Juan Castillo improving his skill set. That extra work, plus a full offseason, should put Turner in good position to have a bigger impact in Year 2.
With all the young talent at the position, it is unlikely that Washington will make any major changes to the position. But you can check out who will be available in March, HERE.
Like with free agency, the amount of young potential on the roster makes it unlikely that Washington will draft a tight end. However, this year's class is believed to have a wealth of talent at the position. Check out who could be available in April, HERE.