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Sam Cosmi has high goals for 2022, wants to be 'the best right tackle in the league'

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Players aren't normally spectators during press conferences, but that's what Sam Cosmi was doing as offensive coordinator Scott Turner addressed the media during OTAs.

The media members in attendance quickly picked up that there was an extra guest that afternoon, so it seemed appropriate to ask Turner how the offensive tackle was doing in his second season.

Turner looked over at Cosmi, who was casually eating an açaí bowl, and smiled before saying, "Sam's doing a great job. The man continues to work. He's doing great."

It's a genuinely funny moment, but it's not a laughing matter that Cosmi has indeed improved in the past year. He's spent the offseason fine-tuning his skill set as he prepares for his second season as a starter, and his coaches have noticed the development.

"You see the growth...having that gameday experience and the way he's handled his business," said assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton. "He's playing with confidence and that's what you like to see."

Cosmi, who the Commanders drafted with their second-round pick in 2021, came a long way from struggling against Chase Young and Montez Sweat in training camp. He was named the starting right tackle, and while he did almost half the season with injuries, he performed well when he was on the field.

According to Pro Football Focus, he was the Commanders' best run-blocker in 2021 and received the third-highest overall grade in his draft class.

Now that he doesn't have to worry about earning a starting role, Cosmi has spent the past few months trying to hone his craft and be "the best right tackle in the league." That starts with mastering his technique, and he's been watching film trying to point out which areas he needs to work on.

Adjusting to the techniques and speed needed to play at the NFL level are two of the biggest learning curves for rookies, Wharton said, and from what he's seen from Cosmi in Year 2, Cosmi is making the right progress.

"You can tell he's been working on it," Wharton said. "[I'm] seeing that our techniques have been working for him and he has success with them. Every day, he's working on something different."

The Washington Commanders have wrapped up their mandatory minicamp. Here are the top photos from Thursday's practice. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

Cosmi knows that everyone says the game slows down in their second season, but he also knows that it's true. He feels the growth he's experienced from his rookie year to now. His biggest focus last season was to learn and not get yelled at too much. Now that he has a better grasp of the playbook, he's no longer second-guessing himself.

"I'm able to identify if the safety is down and stuff like that," Cosmi said. "[I can] understand more of what the center is trying to call out, seeing things before [the snap] … I think that's what I've seen so far."

This week, our rookie class embarked on a bus tour to visit the historical sights of Washington D.C. As a part of the Rookie Community Club, the goal of this trip was to introduce the players to their new home in the Nation's Capital and to pay tribute to our Nation's history. The tour highlighted the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial, where players were offered the chance to interact with the community and be present in the spaces where Martin Luther King Jr.'s impact on social justice has lead us to today. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

Cosmi is part of an offensive line that largely over-performed in 2021, given all the injuries that the position sustained. The group ended up being one of the best in the league with Top 10 rankings in ESPN's run-block and pass-block win-rate.

Washington finished 12th in rushing yards with 121.2 yards per game, and a large reason for that was Cosmi. According to Football Outsiders, Washington's running backs averaged 4.53 yards per attempt when running behind the right tackle, which was the seventh-best average in 2021.

It's why Wharton was always quick to praise Cosmi last season.

"You can see the work that he takes from the practice field and how he takes it to the game," Wharton said last October. "He's not making the same mistakes as a rookie will make over and over. He's learning from him and that's a big positive, learning from your mistakes because you got to go out there and play."

There are high expectations for the Commanders' offense in 2022, so the fact that Cosmi is making progress can only mean good things for the entire unit.

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