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Stock Up, Stock Down: Commanders 2nd Preseason Game

Now that the Washington Commanders have played their second preseason game, it’s time to take a look at which player’s value went up and which has taken a tumble since last week.

It’s always hard to gauge if the preseason is an actual telling event that will help everyone understand how each team will play each year or just a collection of games no one takes seriously. Most teams only have one plan heading into preseason…stay healthy.

Stock Up

Brian Robinson Jr, RB, Commanders

No one has made more out of their training camp and preseason than rookie running back Brian Robinson. Robinson was on this list last week after showing everyone why he’s ready to be a starting NFL back this season if given the chance.

Skipped straight to Brian Robinson's two carries that solidified himself (in my head) as Washington's primary back. I could not start off the session until I watched these two runs. He's maneuvering in traffic here; just wait until that 2nd/3rd level is clear. House calls. #HTTC — Jamual (@LetMualTellit) August 21, 2022

In two preseason games, Robinson has 57 yards on 14 attempts and has scored a touchdown in a limited role. He started with the first string against Kansas City and didn’t disappoint. Watching Robinson’s film leaves little doubt that he’s the man in Washington now and his stock is still going up.

Cam Sims, WR, Commanders

Cam Sims was virtually non-existent in the first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers unless you pay attention to the extreme job he’s putting in on special teams these days.

Sims is often overlooked in a room full of young receiving talent but has developed into a pretty nice redzone target. His frame is so long that his catch radius stretches out longer than most receivers. In years past, he’s had several issues staying on the roster including injuries, falling behind on the depth chart, and apparently falling out of the gameplan at times.

Sims caught a nine-yard pass from Taylor Heinicke in the back of the endzone for a touchdown Saturday that was as pretty as they come. Heinicke said after the game that “he owed him that one.”

Real nice ball by Heinicke and a great look at Cam Sims' catch radius, extending out to make the grab in the back of the end zone for the TD — Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) August 20, 2022

Taylor Heinicke, QB, Commanders

Taylor Heinicke showed Saturday that he can bounce back after having a bad game (4-9, 21 yards, one interception vs Panthers). Heinicke saw his stock go up after going 9-12 with 83 yards, not to mention the beautiful redzone touchdown pass to Cam Sims that’s posted above.

There was some speculation that Heinicke’s backup spot may be in danger after the game Sam Howell had against the Panthers, but that proved to be just talk as Taylor come out with the second team and did well.

Washington is likely to keep three quarterbacks this year and Heinicke is the only one currently on the roster that has any playing experience in this system. His spot is secure on the final 53-man roster.

Stock Down

The stock-down list is something that could go on for a bit this week, but it may appear like players are getting picked on, so let’s just pick the entire 3rd down offense and defense.

3rd Down Defense

The Commanders are picking right back up where the 2021 Washington Football Team left off on third downs. That team ranked 31st in defensive third down efficiency allowing third downs 48.47% of the time.

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Since preseason began, Washington has stopped their opponent 13 times on 33 third-down opportunities, meaning opponents are getting first downs 60.61% of the time. While it’s still only preseason, that percentage is bad enough to have ranked them dead last in 2021, much worse than last season. Saturday against the Chiefs Washington allowed 60% of third downs as Kansas City went 9-15.

Something is a miss with that side of the ball and Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera better get to the bottom of it if he wants that unit to be successful this year.

If it feels like the third down D has been bad forever… well: Since the start of the 2010 season Washington ranks 30th on third downs. They're last since 2018… Happy Sunday! — John Keim (@john_keim) August 21, 2022

3rd Down Offense

Last season Washington ranked 20th in offensive 3rd-down conversations with a success rating somewhere near 38%. Saturday against the Chiefs, Washington’s offense went 3-10, which is 30%. In two preseason games, the offense is collectively 11-24 on third downs.

One key factor in the offense’s issues is the current injury situation they’re going through with the team’s top three guards being injured, and the starting left tackle missing Saturday’s game. Not to mention the four tight ends who didn’t suit up or the starting center that was playing on a pitch count with limited snaps.

So the offense at least has some reasoning as to why they’re off. In a perfect world, this number should improve over time as Wentz gets more comfortable, and players return from injuries.



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