Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Sam Cosmi embracing change on Commanders' O-line

04042024 OTAs EF124

Change is the norm for the Washington Commanders this offseason, and that is particularly true for the offensive line.

Left guard Saahdiq Charles is now playing for the Tennessee Titans; starting center Nick Gates and his backup Tyler Larsen are currently free agents; and Charles Leno Jr., who spent the last three seasons as the Commanders' starting left tackle, was released in March. Adding to all that is Bobby Johnson will now oversee the position group in place of Travelle Wharton and Juan Castillo.

Sam Cosmi, a 2021 second-round pick coming off a career-high 80.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, is one of the only pieces Washington kept from a year ago. Change is not new for Cosmi; he adjusted to playing guard after being a tackle his whole career and ended up allowing just four quarterback hits on 777 pass-block plays.

Just like the position switch, Cosmi is embracing this new wave of change.

"I've been really enjoying it so far," Cosmi said. "The guys that we brought in have been really solid, really fit in with the rest of the guys."

The Commanders were the busiest team when free agency began in March, signing a list of more than two dozen players that mostly consisted of new faces. Three of those additions are offensive linemen: center Tyler Biadasz, guard Nick Allegretti and center Michael Deiter. They also brought back longtime swing tackle Cornelius Lucas, offering him the chance to compete for a starting role.

Johnson comes to the Commanders with 13 years of NFL coaching experience, most recently spending two seasons with the New York Giants. From 2022-23, the Giants offense ranked ninth in the league in rushing yards per game (129.2) and tied for eighth in yards per attempt (4.5). In 2022, Johnson's unit was instrumental in running back Saquon Barkley rushing for a career-high 1,312 yards. Tackle Andrew Thomas earned Associated Press second-team All-Pro honors.

The overhaul was warranted for a position group that didn't perform up to expectations in 2023. Their run-block win rate last season ranked in the middle of the league (14th), but they were 22nd in pass-blocking with a win rate of 70%. They also allowed the second-most sacks. Not all of that is because of the offensive line, but they didn't do enough to mitigate it, either.

While he hasn't spent much time with his new teammates yet, Cosmi can already tell they're "going to be key part of our offensive line being successful." Both Biadasz and Allegretti are aggressive, hard workers based on what he's seen from the film. Allegretti and right tackle Andrew Wylie played together with the Kansas City Chiefs, so they already have chemistry together.

It's early, but Cosmi feels as if the Commanders are building something special on the offensive line.

"I'm excited to build this relationship with them," Cosmi said. "I can really tell it's gonna be easy, so that's just gonna allow the process to go even smoother on the field."

Check out the top photos of the Washington Commanders wrapping up Week 2 of the offseason workout program.

This is the time of year for Cosmi to build chemistry with his new teammates. They're all in the same area for the offseason workout program, so they're already spending large chunks of the day together. But bonds are also built doing extracurricular activities away from the facility. One of them is golf; Cosmi admitted that he's "terrible," but he's determined to get better every time he plays.

Another is one that every offensive lineman can support: food.

"We've hit a lot of different spots already," Cosmi said. "Obviously newer guys still need to learn...places to eat and places to just research and see and do stuff. I've been here now going on four years, and I'm still learning new spots."

As for Johnson, Cosmi is already a fan of his new position coach. Johnson was "very transparent" with Cosmi during their first meeting, saying that he wants his players to have a say in the game plan to find the best strategy each week.

"I like him a lot," Cosmi said. "He's gonna treat us like men. We're all here for a common goal, which is to win. Overall, I really respect the aspect of that. I'm excited to work further with him."

Take a look at the Washington Commanders as they go through their first week of prep for the 2024 season

The Commanders are likely not finished with tweaking the offensive line. The draft is days away, and many analysts believe this year's offensive line class, particularly at tackle, is especially strong. Washington has five picks in the top 100 after the No. 2 overall selection, and there's a strong possibility the team will use one of them to shore up the future with a rookie offensive lineman.

If that does happen, Cosmi will want to help that rookie along with the rest of the younger players as one of the clear leaders on the offensive line.

"It's gonna take some time, and so if they understand that and put in the time and put in the work, they'll get the results out of it."

Related Content