The Washington Football Team is seeing a few young players attempting to carve out potential roles for the next season.
The Washington Football Team has had a very strange season. They entered the year with pretty decent expectations. No one was really expecting a run at the Super Bowl, but the NFC East title and a playoff win were definitely not out of the picture.
Week 1 saw quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick suffer a season-ending injury. That’s rough, but a lot of fans wanted Taylor Heinicke to start anyways, so it’s not like they were getting thrown into the fire with some QB no one expected anything from.
After starting the year 2-2, Washington lost four straight games. Now 2-6 it felt like the season was over. A four-game winning streak had them right back in the playoff hunt though. That quickly evaporated with these last four losses though.
And the current losing streak, we’ve seen Washington shuffle in and out a lot of different players. This is mainly due to injuries and a major COVID outbreak in the locker room.
Obviously, this isn’t a great situation. But sometimes you have to try and see the positive in the bad situations. And a big positive here is that Washington is getting a chance to see what a few of the younger players can do.
Tight end John Bates came into the season without much of a role. He’s been thrust into a bigger spot however and has been a nice surprise. In the last two weeks, he has combined to reel in five receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. Logan Thomas is still the clear-cut number one tight end, but Bates has earned snaps.
Jamin Davis has struggled in his rookie season. The linebacker picked up his first sack of the season in Week 17 though. Maybe that could help him pick it up a bit.
The offensive line isn’t perfect. Sam Cosmi has been fantastic in his rookie season though. And now Saahdiq Charles is getting a chance and has been pretty solid.
Finally, Jaret Patterson. He had a phenomenal preseason and was one of those players that everyone felt deserved a spot. The running back got that spot but didn’t really play much. He had Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic ahead of him. So even if one was out, Patterson still only served in a depth role for the most part.
In Week 17, both were out though and Patterson was the next man up. He responded by setting career-highs in carries (12), rushing yards (57), receptions (5), and receiving yards (41). Meanwhile, he also scored his second career touchdown.
Now, is Patterson the future of the position for Washington? That seems like a long shot. But Antonio Gibson has had some real problems this year. And maybe in Week 18, Patterson can put together another strong game. If he can, does he make a case to at the very least get a few more snaps each game?
At this point, very few people should be “safe” on the Washington Football Team. When it comes to offensive weapons, it’s really only Terry McLaurin that should be bulletproof. So it’s not absolutely crazy to say that Patterson could earn himself more time.
That goes for the defensive side of the ball as well. There aren’t that many “untouchable” players. So it’s in these late weeks with Washington out of contention and a lot of starters and role players out with injuries that the “other guys” (shoutout to Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, that movie is in the GOAT conversation) have a chance to prove themselves.
Maybe in Week 17, we see more of Dyami Brown and Dax Milne. Patterson and Bates can continue to build their résumés as well. Could Sammis Reyes make an appearance on offense? On the defensive side of the ball, Danny Johnson can keep impressing like Reaves is. Can Davis build off that sack he had last week? Maybe we’ll get something from Will Bradley-King.
It’s hard to get too excited for the last game of the season when your team is 6-10, out of the playoff race, and ravaged with injuries. Look at it as a scouting opportunity though.
Which young players will step up and earn consideration for a bigger role in 2022? The Washington Football Team has a lot of good candidates for that – so suck it up for one more week.