The opinions expressed in this article do not represent those of the team.
The speculation is bubbling as Washington inches towards kicking off the 2022 season. With just under 90 days until the team takes the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bram Weinstein, Logan Paulsen and Santa Moss analyze some of the beliefs surrounding the Washington Commander in a game of "Buy or Sell."
Carson Wentz's success in Washington
From his performances at OTAs to interactions with teammates on the golf course, Carson Wentz has offered exciting glimpses of his talent and leadership qualities since arriving in Washington. Laying that foundation is going to be key heading into a season with big expectations around the quarterback. The blockbuster nature of Wentz's move has many arguing that this season cannot be considered a successful one for him unless the team is playing well into January. Logan Paulsen buys that idea.
"With all the pieces they've added, all the offseason additions, all the free agency moves, [playoffs] kind feels like where [the team] needs to be," Paulsen argues. "Especially after last year and the year before that."
While Santana Moss agrees that Wentz needs to be the best version of himself this season and has a lot of responsibility when it comes to putting the team in the right positions, he thinks that more focus should be put on the idea of the team as a unit.
"It's a collective effort," Moss says. "We can score a thousand points, but if the defense isn't stopping anybody, we're in a shootout every game."
There's a reason why the old saying of "defense wins championships" hasn't been repeated like a broken record. And speaking of Washington's defense…
Washington's defensive improvements in 2022
Washington's defense was one of the most formidable units in the NFL in 2020. Led by Chase Young and Montez Sweat, the unit was the league's second-best overall by Pro Football Focus heading into the 2021 season. While the defense did not match the high standard it set for itself, Washington might have the weapons it needs to get back to being one of the elites.
Logan Paulsen, though, says, "not so fast."
"It's hard to be a Top 5 defense. Very, very hard," Paulsen explains. "I think they're going to be a good defense. I think a Top 5 defense is a great defense, and I don't think they're quite there."
And Moss agrees.
"They have a long road to cross before they get back to being one of those better defenses," Moss adds. "I think they have the guys in place. They might have even gotten better when it comes to the draft and some of the free agents, but they have to go out there and do it."
As for how a defense performs, strength of schedule is important to consider. ESPN has the Commanders' strength of schedule tied for easiest in the league. The defense will certainly have opportunities to inflict some damage and prove itself this season.
The status of Washington's wide receivers
Ever since the start of OTAs, there have been positive signs surrounding the Commanders wide receiver corps. Curtis Samuel has been looking fit, expressing that he is excited to "finally feel like myself again." Jahan Dotson has also been impressing his teammates. It seems that the wideout position has the potential to fill out nicely.
While encouraged by the talent the Commanders possess, Moss is not sold on the idea that Washington already has the best receivers corps in the division.
"I love what they have. Trust me, I'm looking forward to these guys going out there and doing work, but they have to do it first. I mean, the only guy that has enough productivity leading into this year is Terry," Santana says. "Collectively these guys have to play together and consider themselves a corps before they can be quoted as being 'the best group.'"
Logan Paulsen also sees a time-will-tell situation with the receivers.
"Past performance is a big deal. You only have one guy who has proven it, done it. I think that's a huge variable," Paulsen says. "And you've got these other receiver groups around the division who have played at a high level for a couple years now, so I'm gonna say let's wait and see."
For more analysis ahead of the season, catch every episode of "Command Center," HERE.