Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

#PickSix: A Primer For The Regular Season

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera addresses his team after practice on Aug. 18, 2021. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera addresses his team after practice on Aug. 18, 2021. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the team.

The Washington Football Team is less than two weeks away from hosting the Los Angeles Chargers for Week 1. If you're not excited by now, you should be.

Let's not waste any time and get to what Washington fans want to know this week.

-- Byron M.: Will Washington try to get more help for the LB position?

Many people, myself included, were a little surprised when Ron Rivera elected to keep just four linebackers. Granted, he liked the four players, but it would be hard to go an entire season with so few at the position. A day after the roster was finalized, Washington signed David Mayo back to the roster. He's a six-year veteran who can help the group, and he knows the defensive system as well as what the coaches are looking for from the position. I also believe Rivera could still add to the position, if he wants, so stay tuned.

-- Juergen S.: What is the difference between being cut, waived and released? Or are they just all terms for the same thing?

It's an interesting question, Juergen, and very relevant this time of year. When a player is cut, they are either waived or released, and while they're used interchangeably, they have subtle differences.

The term "waived" is used for a player who has less than four years of accrued seasons. One of the main qualifications for an accrued season is the player has to spend at least six weeks on a 53-man roster. If a player has more than four accrued seasons, they can be released.

Additionally, if a player is waived, their contract isn't immediately terminated and they go to the waiver wire. When a player is released, their contract is terminated immediately and they're free to sign with another team immediately.

-- Thomas M.: Is three Running enough for the season?

I believe it is, Thomas, because that's essentially how much Washington had last year.

Let's turn the clocks back all the way to 2020. Washington had four running backs on the roster, Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber and Bryce Love. Love never played in a game and was later released, leaving Washington with just three active running backs. That trio managed well enough all year, and this year Jaret Patterson has the talent to fill in nicely as the third player in the rotation. If there is an injury suffered to those three, then Washington can elevate Barber from the practice squad, and the team knows he can be physical in the red zone.

-- Gregory W.: Hi Zach, can you give any insight on how the decision was made about the corners who are on the 53-man roster?

Hey Gregory. I think there are two big factors that affected the decisions at cornerback: the performances of Darryl Roberts and Torry McTyer. Roberts had a particularly great game against the Ravens with nine tackles, and his physicality caught the coaches' eyes. McTyer was viewed as a "pleasant surprise" by Jack Del Rio and made several plays in practice and in preseason games. Both have either the leadership or playmaking ability that Washington is looking for to upgrade the position.

-- DC 2Smooth: Just going off size, would you rather have a shorter or taller guy in the slot?

First of all, I love that name. Now, as for the question itself, I would rather go for a shorter receiver in the slot. They're able to use their quickness to work in the middle of the field and beat out linebackers on routes. On top of that, they're elusive and tend to get more yards after the catch. In theory, you could put a taller player on the inside, but they're able to use their height advantage to greater effect on the outside against cornerbacks, who are typically shorter.

-- Clinton P.: Do we have any interest in acquiring John Brown now that he's been released by the Raiders?

No one has specifically asked Rivera about John Brown, but I wouldn't put much hope in Washington signing him. The team likes the players at the position already, and if it did decide to bring him in, that would mean losing one of its seven receivers. I just don't see it happening considering how much promise the entire group has right now.