Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

4 Takeaways From Washington's 53-Man Roster

Head coach Ron Rivera surveys his team as it takes on the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField on Aug. 28. (Denis Kennedy/NFL)
Head coach Ron Rivera surveys his team as it takes on the Baltimore Ravens at FedExField on Aug. 28. (Denis Kennedy/NFL)

Head coach Ron Rivera and General Manager Martin Mayhew took some time to address the media after finalizing the Washington Football Team's 53-man roster. Here are some key takeaways from their joint press conference.

1. Jaret Patterson can be "pretty special."

Jaret Patterson was one of Washington's stars during training camp. The former Buffalo standout won over the coaches with the explosion and patience that he displayed over the past month. There's still a ways to go, Mayhew said, but he has tools to work with.

"I think Jaret can be pretty special," Mayhew said. "Obviously, the young player did not have a great...third game, but we saw a lot in those first two games that was very promising from him."

Standing at 5-foot-8 and weighing 195 pounds, Patterson was difficult for defenders to bring down. He had nine rushing first downs and 55 receiving yards, both of which were first among running backs in the preseason, and amassed 111 rushing yards. And Mayhew sees Patterson's size as an advantage; linebackers won't see him behind the offensive line until he's broken off a chunk of yards.

Patterson was maligned and doubted heading into the draft. Now, he's proven all his naysayers wrong and is the third option in Washington's running back rotation.

"He brings a lot to the table," Mayhew said. "He's going to be fun to watch this year."

2. Sammis Reyes can help the team.

One month ago, Sammis Reyes had never played a football game in his life. He had barely even been in real practices. After showing off what he can do, Rivera and Mayhew are convinced he can be an asset to the team.

"He's the guy that fits us," Mayhew said. "He's got the right mentality, the right attitude, one of the hardest working guys on our football team. So when you see that kind of physical talent, that type of physical ability, and you see that work ethic along with that."

It's been a long journey for Reyes to make his dream a reality. He worked for DoorDash while trying to get in shape and learn the game. He finally got a chance to put that work to the test against the Patriots, and while both of his catches, which totaled 25 yards, were a little wobbly, it was a monumental moment for the Chilean. Rivera said he may be the most physical tight end on the roster.

Reyes is still a developmental project. He has work to do before being the player Rivera and Mayhew believe he can be. But like Patterson, there's a lot for the team to be excited about.

"He has every tool that you want as an athlete," Mayhew said. "It's just getting him to translate that into playing this game.

3. Washington is not done adding to its linebacker corps.

There are a few things that stick out when glancing over Washington's roster. One of the most obvious is that Washington only has four linebackers, which includes first-round pick Jamin Davis, Jon Bostic, Cole Holcomb and Khaleke Hudson.

Rivera did not reveal his plans for the position, but he said he likes the players at their disposal. He and Jack Del Rio have been pleased with Davis' approach and progress as the starting middle linebacker. Bostic and Holcomb both had an excellent camp, and Hudson will add quality depth as a backup.

With that said, Washington will likely add to that position. With cuts happening around the league for the rest of the week, the team will keep a watchful eye on who becomes available and if they would fit the scheme and culture.

As Mayhew pointed out, the next few days are going to be fluid.

"We're not through with that position," Rivera said. "It's a position we're constantly evaluating."

4. Special teams played a role at wide receiver.

Washington kept seven receivers this year, a change from the five on the initial roster in 2020. DeAndre Carter and Dax Milne rounded out the position, and their abilities as returners was a big reason why they stuck around.

"He did some good things as a receiver in practices and in the preseason games," Rivera said of Carter. "But his return ability is really one of the things that caught our attention."

Carter, a four-year veteran, averages 9.3 yards per punt return and 21.8 yards per kick return. He has yet to score a touchdown, but he has longs of 31 and 45 yards. Milne did not have much of a sample size at BYU, a 19-yard punt return against the Patriots gave the coaches confidence the rookie can handle the responsibility. Adam Humphries, who also has some experience returning punts, could be a backup, if needed.

It was clear that Washington wanted to improve its return game; that's why it completely overhauled the role. Now it has three reliable options who the coaches know can take care of the football and get a few extra yards for the offense.

The Washington Football Team has finalized its 53-man roster for the 2021 season. Take a look at who made the cut. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)