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Washington Commanders announce captains for 2022 season

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The Washington Commanders have announced their eight captains for the 2022 season.

Quarterback Carson Wentz, wide receiver Terry McLaurin, offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr., tight end Logan Thomas, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, linebacker Cole Holcomb, cornerback Kendall Fuller and punter Tress Way were voted as captains by their teammates. Allen, Thomas and McLaurin have retained their captainship from the 2021 season.

Defensive end Chase Young, safety Jeremy Reaves and running back J.D. McKissic were also voted by their teammates as alternate captains, meaning that if one of the original eight players suffers injury during the season, one of the three will take their place.

Allen and McLaurin have been cornerstones of the franchise since they were drafted in 2017 and 2019, respectively, and are models of the culture Ron Rivera has established since being named Washington's head coach in 2020. McLaurin, who agreed to an extension in July, was called an "organizational signing" by Rivera for his impact that reaches far beyond the field.

"We want to retain young men of this stature," Rivera said. "We want young men of this magnitude out there representing our organization, representing our community, thus representing our brand."

Allen is coming off one of his most productive seasons as a pro, recording a career-high nine sacks to go with 62 tackles. His performance earned him his first Pro Bowl, but he has been one of the team's most consistent players for the past five seasons.

"He's a young man that I think really fits the football team and also fits the community," Rivera said. "I think the thing about him…is that he's a guy that has had and is having success in his career."

Wentz has only been with the team since March, when the Commanders acquired him via trade from the Indianapolis Colts, but he has already become a leader among his teammates. He has risen to the challenge of helping the offense grow and flashed some of his strengths during training camp.

"He pushes himself and you can see it," Rivera said. "In meetings you can see it. This is a young man who is very serious about his craft. I think he is a guy that is driven. It has been fun watching him."

Leno is coming off a strong 2021 campaign, during which he received the 12th-highest overall grade for an offensive tackle from Pro Football Focus. He also received a pass-blocking grade of 87.3, which was the second highest for his position behind Andrew Whitworth.

Thomas was named a captain for the second time in three seasons with the team. He has been an enthusiastic mentor for Washington's younger tight ends, which includes John Bates and fifth-round pick Cole Turner. Thomas was activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list near the end of training camp, and while it is not clear whether he will play against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, the expectation is that he will be ready soon.

"For me, it's just now getting back, integrating contact into my daily routine and getting used to it," Thomas said. "Building from where I've been."

Holcomb is coming off a season in which he was 10th in the league with 142 tackles while also being the MIKE linebacker and calling the plays on defense. He will have that role again in 2022, and he is "ready to take control" of the unit.

"He really played very well," said defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. "In fact, a lot of guys that are getting the pub around the league, he played as well or better than [them]."

Fuller has been a vital member of the secondary since returning to the team in 2020. He recorded 16 pass breakups last season, which was tied for sixth in the NFL, and he was one of the team's standouts during camp.

Way has been with the Commanders since 2014 and is one of the most experienced players on the roster. He averaged 48.3 yards per punt in 2021 with 22 punts landing inside the 20-yard line.

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