Updated: May 5
By Adam Aniba
Washington's four tight ends have combined for only 446 receiving yards in '22. The veteran of the group, Logan Thomas leads the team with 251 yards and 1 TD (12 games), John Bates 108 1 TD (14 games), and rookies Cole Turner/Armani Rogers have combined for 87 yards and zero touchdowns.
Those numbers are unacceptable, considering the Commanders offensive line has struggled in pass protection and tight ends can be a safety blanket, when the pass rush bears down.
Although Thomas has looked like a shell of himself this season, many believe his surgically repaired knee is a big factor. Regardless, coaches need to consider using Thomas less as a pass catcher and put more emphasis on getting the ball to their youngsters.
Although Turner has struggled with various injuries, he has the highest ceiling as a pass catcher of the group and Rivera recently mentioned him during a media session presser.
"When you see him out here moving, he's a big body, moves well and presents a good target."
Although Bates was viewed more as a blocking tight end coming out of Boise State, he deserves more targets as well, particularly in the red zone, where he's shown he can be a reliable pass catcher.
As for Rogers, he was just cleared to return to practice after dealing with a knee injury earlier in the season. The former Ohio University QB is still new to the position, but showed he is the fastest and most athletic tight end on the roster with limited game snaps.
It hasn't been determined if Rogers will play vs the Browns though and a return against Dallas seems more likely.
Washington will attempt to run the ball more vs Cleveland. Based on Rivera's comments about commiting to the run, in addition to the Browns ranking towards the bottom of the league in stopping the run, it seems a certainty.
In saying that, getting the tight ends involved early should force the Browns to back off a bit and minimize the Browns from loading the box to stop the run.
Many things will need to go right for the Commanders struggling offense to get on track, but players like Turner and Bates could have important roles with Carson Wentz returning as the starting QB.
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