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Week Seven: Commanders Rookie Report

Can the Commanders rookie players continue to find success? Or will they begin to decline as the season goes on?

The Commanders find themselves at the start of a mini-winning streak, as they have now won back-to-back games following their Week Seven victory. Washington defeated Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at FedEx Field this past Sunday, 23-21.

Despite losing some rookies to injury, Washington got a couple of key contributions from some other first-year players. They look to build off of these strong performances and get ready to keep the streak going in Indianapolis this Sunday.

Week Seven Rookie Inactive List

Reserved/Injured List: DT Phidarian Mathis, DB Tariq Castro-Fields, TE Curtis Hodges, DB Josh Drayden, OG Nolan Laufenburg

WR Jahan Dotson

The Commander’s rookie standout receiver missed Sunday’s win against the Packers. Dotson was expected to be a game-time decision before the game but it was ultimately deemed that it would be best to wait another week. The initial timeline was one-to-two weeks for his return to action. However, it appears he may have suffered a minor setback during practice this past week. Dotson will look to have a strong week of practice before looking to suit up and make the trip to Indy.

G Chris Paul

Paul has still yet to be active this season, but that may not necessarily be a negative thing. Paul is behind a couple of NFL veterans on the depth chart for the Commanders. For Paul to be activated onto the game-day roster, that means there was a good chance that there was an injury to one or two interior offensive linemen. As long as the line stays relatively healthy, look for Paul to continue being a healthy scratch.

Did Not Play

QB Sam Howell

Howell was suited up for game day for the first time in his young career as he got the call to be Taylor Heinicke’s backup following Carson Wentz being put on Injured Reserve. Wentz is out for at least the next three games, which means we will probably see the same designation for Heinicke and Howell for the next couple of weeks. Howell did not play in Sunday’s win, but if Heinicke struggles or the Commanders drop too many games, the Commanders could turn to the fifth-round rookie signal-caller to see what he can do.

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Week Seven Active Commanders

WR Kyric McGowan, New Addition

Week Seven: one snap on offense/1%, 12 snaps on special teams/41%

Week Six: not active

The rookie undrafted receiver out of Georgia Tech got the call-up to the active roster for the first time in Week Seven. Injuries to Jahan Dotson and Dyami Brown left the Commanders a little thin at the receiver position. He did not see any targets on offense, as he only played one snap, but he saw 12 snaps on special teams. Both Dotson and Brown look to return next week against the Colts, so it is likely that McGowan will be a healthy scratch this Sunday.

The Regulars

TE Armani Rogers

Week Seven: 38 snaps on offense/51%, 19 snaps on special teams/66% (three targets, three catches, 28 yards)

Week Six: 18 snaps on offense/32%, 15 snaps on special teams/75% (one assisted tackle)

In a game with an A. Rogers and two A. Rodgers, the undrafted rookie tight end was the one who walked away the happiest on Sunday.

After rewatching the Commanders game Armani Rodgers was really good for a guy "learning" the position. Great block on the Samuel run. Making himself available in the 2nd clip — Big Doug (@DougMcCrayNFL) October 25, 2022

Rogers hauled in a career-high three catches on a career-high three targets. He made the most of his opportunities with Logan Thomas being out again, Bates playing a little banged up, and Cole Turner leaving the game early with a concussion. We also saw offensive coordinator Scott Turner dial this play up, with former quarterback Armani Rogers taking the snap. An interesting package to keep an eye on going forward.

TE Armani Rogers: “Brought me back to my college days. Ran that play numerous times.” What was it like practicing it this week after being away from QB? Rogers: “I snapped right back into it.” — Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) October 24, 2022

RB Brian Robinson Jr.

Week Seven: 35 snaps on offense/47% (20 carries, 73 yards, two targets, two catches, 13 yards)

Week Six: 27 snaps on offense/ 47% (17 carries, 60 yards, one go-ahead rushing touchdown)

Two weeks removed from his NFL debut, Robinson found himself with a career-high in touches (22) and yards (86). While he has yet to eclipse 4.0 yards per carry, a lot of that has to do with missed blocking, getting his feet wet, and his duties as a short-yardage back also. We saw his big play and hard-to-bring-down capability on a few plays, especially on his 24-yard run. He did not get to the endzone this week, though it did look like he would score initially on this play.

Won't crash too much on Bates because Preston had been disrupting us ALL GAME, but if he holds this block on the edge it's BRob vs #7 in a 1v1 match to the endzone. That's 6 points, 9 times out of 10 — Mander Manny (@CommanderSZN) October 24, 2022

Robinson looks to continue to be the lead back, though Antonio Gibson could earn more touches given his success as a change-of-pace weapon in spelling Robinson.

On this second-quarter run, Brian Robinson Jr. was first contacted at the 25-yard line. He went down on the 11 — Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) October 24, 2022

TE Cole Turner

Week Seven: 27 snaps on offense/36% (two targets, zero catches)

Week Six: 53 snaps on offense/93%, five snaps on special teams/ 25% (two targets, two catches, 23 yards)

As mentioned before, Turner left Sunday’s game early with a concussion as he was looking to cement his role in the offense after initially missing his first couple of regular season games. He hauled in both of his first two targets last week for his first two career receptions, but couldn’t bring in either of his two targets Sunday against the Packers. An almost great play by Turner was the last time we saw him in Week Seven, as he was ruled out after this.

Cole Turner might need to get checked after this one. His head hit the turf hard. — Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoTWW) October 23, 2022

With Logan Thomas potentially coming back, Turner won’t need to rush his return. If he doesn’t miss any time, it’s likely he won’t see the 93% of offensive snaps he saw in Week Six. But Turner is an exciting player, and it could just take a few of his staple “wow” plays to garner him an increased role in the offense.

DT John Ridgeway III

Week Seven: Five snaps on defense/9%, five snaps on special teams/17% (one assisted tackle, one combined tackle)

Week Six: 26 snaps on defense/36%, two snaps on special teams/10%

Ridgeway saw a drastic decrease in his snaps on defense, as he was only on defense for 9% of their total plays. He saw 36% of the defense’s snaps in both Weeks Five and Week Six, so this came as a bit of a surprise. This could be due to the game script as the Packers had to play from behind after the Commanders took the lead and dominated the time-of-possession battle (a rarity so far). Ridgeway should see more snaps this Sunday, barring any setbacks.

🫡👑🦍 — John Ridgeway III (@ridgeway_79) October 25, 2022

DB Christian Holmes

Week Seven: 22 snaps on special teams/76%

Week Six: 16 snaps on special teams/80% (one assisted tackle and one fumble recovery)

After his heroics last week, Holmes continued to show his reliability on special teams as he saw 80% of the unit’s snaps in the victory Sunday. No fumble recovery this week, but he did contribute and cap off another key special teams performance.

Last week it was Christian Holmes. This week, it's Percy Butler. Great plays from the rookies — Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) October 23, 2022

FS Percy Butler

Week Seven: 23 snaps on special teams/79% (one fumble recovery)

Week Six: inactive

In Week Seven, rookie defensive speedster Percy Butler made a game-changing special teams play, as he followed up Holmes’ key muffed punt recovery from last week with one of his own. The recovery put the Commanders in excellent shape to score their first points and keep the ball out of A. Rodgers’ hands, Aaron that is.

Another week, another muffed punt recovery! The Commanders best play, obviously!#HTTC | @Tress_Way — Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoTWW) October 23, 2022

He also showcased his speed and athleticism when he downed a perfect Tress Way punt inside the Packer’s own two-yard line. In fact, it was so great of a play that the officials had to review it to confirm he did down it.

He touched it. That penalty flag will be over-ruled. And this first half will continue forever. — Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoTWW) October 23, 2022
“I thought Percy (Butler) was terrific. I thought ‘Sip’ (cornerback Christian Holmes) stepped up and made some plays. We got a group of young guys that are really growing and developing and hopefully they continue to do that and do it a little quicker…but they are doing a heck of a job, they really are.” -Ron Rivera on the special team contributions from the rookies

This week Percy Butler deserved my Commander’s Capitol Rookie of the Week.

goodnight, dmv — Washington Commanders (@Commanders) October 24, 2022

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