Washington Commanders 3 potential Week 1 breakout performances

Washington Commanders, Ron Rivera (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Washington Commanders, Ron Rivera (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Commanders face off with the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 of the 2022 season. In classic Washington fashion, there is a lot to be excited about, but even more to be cautious about.

They have upgraded at quarterback, but it’s still not a great situation. Their wide receiver corps is the best it’s been in years, but one is a rookie and another is coming off a seriously injury-plagued season. The defensive line is still elite, but Chase Young is still hurt and the rest of the defense has too many question marks.

All that being said, it’s the start of a new season. And it feels like the excitement and hope that Washington fans have heading into the season is far less empty. There is actual potential behind the words. They’ll need some players to step up if they want to make waves this season.

All of that starts in Week 1. So who are the potential breakout candidates for the first game of the year? Let’s take a look at some names.

A couple of rules to start though. We’re talking breakouts. That means we’re staying away from stars like Terry McLaurin and Jonathan Allen. Curtis Samuel is also off the list despite missing most of last season. Antonio Gibson may not be as popular now, but he’s also excluded (although Samuel and Gibson will be getting talked about in the not-distant-at-all future.

Outside of established talent though, anyone is fair game. This also means that I expect week 1 to catapult them to a bigger role or a big season. No one-game wonders here. If they made the cut, that means they’re expected to keep the momentum rolling.

That’s all we’ve got though, so let’s get into it already.

Washington Commanders Jahan Dotson
BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 27: Jahan Dotson #1 of the Washington Commanders looks on before the preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Washington Commanders Week 1 Breakout Candidate Number One: Jahan Dotson (WR)

Let’s start with probably the most obvious candidate here. Jahan Dotson was the first-round pick for the Commanders in 2022. And he’s in a fantastic position to succeed. The wide receiver has a lot of things going for him in the system.

Terry McLaurin is a true superstar at wide receiver. He’s going to take a ton of pressure and attention away from Dotson. Throw in a healthy Curtis Samuel and Dotson is suddenly surrounded by talent. This is a position where being the third option isn’t a bad thing though. He could still get a ton of targets.

Speaking of targets, Carson Wentz was brought in this offseason. This is perfect for Dotson for two reasons. First of all, Wentz is an upgrade from the quarterback situation Washington had last season. Second (and this is the big one in my opinion), Wentz is also new to the team. He doesn’t have a rapport with anyone on the Commanders outside of camp. So it’s not like Dotson is at any disadvantage when it comes to QB attention.

Wentz doesn’t have a “favorite” that he’s been throwing to for years. He’s spent the same amount of time with Dotson as he has with McLaurin and Samuel, as well as Cam Sims, Dyami Brown, and Dax Milne.

Dotson has great speed and athleticism to go with underrated route running and hands. He’ll probably surprise quite a few people this season.

That all starts in Week 1. The Commanders are going to want to create an identity early. Expect Wentz to be throwing a lot. And he’ll likely be spreading the love. So Dotson’s going to get his targets. And with the attention and top corners worried about McLaurin, he could feast.

Five receptions for 65-plus yards sounds like a good debut.