Ron Rivera said Wednesday that he wants to get some of the Washington Commanders' younger players some more opportunities during the team's season finale against the Dallas Cowboys, and it looks like that will be a reality.
The Commanders have ruled out several key players ahead of the Week 18 game, including Jonathan Allen, Benjamin St-Juste and Brian Robinson Jr., paving the way for Washington to get a look at its future.
The full list of players who will be inactive also includes Saahdiq Charles (concussion), Cornelius Lucas (ankle) and James Smith-Williams. Kam Curl (ankle), Jamin Davis (knee), Nate Gerry (illness) and Andrew Norwell (Hip) are listed as questionable.
Most of the players on Washington's injury report, which listed a total of 13 players, did not participate much all this week. In anticipation of the likelihood that it would be without many of its starters, Washington has elevated practice squad pieces like Jaret Patterson to the active roster.
Patterson has spent the 2022 season on the Commanders' practice squad after being cut following training camp. After being the team's only undrafted free agent in 2021, he played in all 17 games as a rookie and rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns on 68 carries. He has been on the gameday roster twice this season with three kickoff returns for 70 yards.
At cornerback, Washington should get a better evaluation of Christian Holmes, who had a decent stretch in St-Juste's place before showing rookie struggles. Holmes has mostly been a special teams contributor with 12 tackles and a fumble recovery but had two starts against the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants.
The potential absence of Curl also means that Percy Butler could get more playing time. Like Holmes, Butler has been a key piece of the team's special teams unit, but there is still some excitement about what he could be on defense.
"We're gonna be able to continue to use our three-safety defense, a lot because of what his versatility, his speed, his quickness and his play smarts means," Rivera said back in May. "So, we're pretty excited about this pick."
Another player who will likely get more playing time is Chris Paul, who has not been active at any point this season. Rivera has praised Paul on many occasions for the progress he has made on the offensive line and believes he will be a key piece of the team's future.
"He's smart. He understands the game," Rivera said. "He's athletic, very athletic, big man. Just some little detailed things that he's gotta show up, but his time is gonna come."