Alex Akingbulu

Commanders To Start Sam Howell In Week 17

DEC 30: Despite the Commanders seemingly moving towards Brissett as their starter at quarterback for the remainder of the season following two consecutive games in which Howell was benched, it looks like injuries will keep Howell in place under center for this weekend, at least. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, Brissett will be sidelined in Week 17 with an aggravated hamstring injury. With Brissett out this week, Howell will return to the starting role. Practice squad pass Jake Fromm will be signed to the active roster in order to back up Howell against the 49ers.

Joining Fromm on the 53-man roster from the practice squad will be long snapper Tucker Addington and offensive tackle Alex Akingbulu. They will also be joined by safety Sean Chandler and cornerback Nick Whiteside, who will serve as standard gameday practice squad elevations tomorrow. Fromm, Addington, and Akingbulu will be filling the roster spots left vacant by offensive tackle Charles Leno, safety Percy Butler, and center Tyler Larsen, who were all placed on injured reserve today.

DEC 27: After an aggressive quarterback pursuit in 2022, the Commanders stood down this year and centered their offseason around Sam Howell‘s development. Howell has started throughout the season; that is about to change.

Washington has benched the second-year QB in back-to-back games, and after Jacoby Brissett provided a spark in each, Ron Rivera said the veteran will receive his first start of the season in Week 17. Brissett, who signed a one-year deal this offseason, has already started for four teams throughout his career. This will be Brissett’s 49th career start.

This decision can be interpreted in multiple ways. On one hand, Rivera is almost definitely coaching his final games with the Commanders. He has long been viewed as on his way out after his fourth season. Front office changes are also expected, so this staff’s view of Howell may not matter much. But the team has also been linked to pursuing another starter-caliber QB in 2024 to at least push Howell. The Patriots’ upset of the Broncos in Week 16 moved the 4-11 Commanders into the No. 3 draft slot, and with the Cardinals not certain to select a QB at No. 2 — where they currently reside — Washington could be in position to make a major investment in Josh Harris‘ first offseason running the show.

Brissett, 31, has started for the Patriots, Colts, Dolphins and Browns throughout an interesting eight-year career. He has been one of this era’s premier backups, being thrust into duty twice on short notice and again later due to Deshaun Watson‘s suspension. The Colts turned to Brissett soon after acquiring him via trade in 2017, with Andrew Luck‘s troublesome shoulder injury requiring a full-season absence. A better Brissett version resurfaced in 2019, when Luck abruptly retired. The Colts then gave their regularly used backup a two-year, $30MM extension. Brissett could not command those terms in 2021 (with the Dolphins) or ’22 (Browns), but he made 16 starts in that span.

The Commanders gave Brissett a one-year, $8MM deal in March. While the team held a competition for the starting job, the Howell praise that persisted during the offseason pointed to the second-year passer winning that battle. Howell has shown flashes, but after struggling during a Commanders six-game skid, the North Carolina product has encountered some early turbulence. Despite two games remaining, Howell has joined only Watson (2018) as QBs to be sacked at least 60 times in a season over the past 17 years. The North Carolina alum has been dropped 60 times this season. Howell also leads the NFL with 17 INTs.

This Brissett move likely ensures Howell will not move close to David Carr‘s single-season record for sacks taken (72 in 2002), but it also points him toward an uncertain path after making all 15 starts for the Commanders this season. The team initially turned to Howell in Week 18 of last season, with the rookie leapfrogging Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke on the depth chart. A new HC-GM combo will be poised to assess Howell in 2024.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/4/23

Today’s minor moves and gameday callups for Week 9:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

  • Elevated: QB Dresser Winn

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

With Kyler Murray not being activated from injured reserve this week, the Cardinals are heading into Week 9 with Clayton Tune as the only quarterback on their active roster. Driskel will be called up for the week as a standard gameday elevation to back up Tune.

With Matthew Stafford listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game, the Rams are adding some depth at the quarterback position. Dresser Winn had a breakout 2022 campaign at UT Martin, tossing 18 touchdowns while adding another three scores on the ground. He joined the Rams as an UDFA but was cut at the end of the preseason. He had a brief stint in the Canadian Football League before rejoining the Rams practice squad earlier this week. If Stafford can’t go, Brett Rypien will get the call under center for the Rams.

Peters will be elevated for the second straight week in Seattle. The 41-year-old, playing in his 19th NFL season, split snaps with right tackle Stone Forsythe last week against Cleveland.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC East

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These CommandersCowboysEagles and Giants moves are noted below.

Dallas Cowboys

Signed:

Claimed:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

New York Giants

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Philadelphia Eagles

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Washington Commanders

Claimed:

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Commanders Set 53-Man Roster

The Commanders have been busy reducing their roster, with the organization cutting 12 players yesterday. The team finished off their transactions today, reducing their roster to 53 players:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Despite tossing a pair of touchdowns in the preseason finale, Jake Fromm earned his walking papers from the Commanders. The quarterback was already facing an uphill battle to make the roster with Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett ahead of him on the depth chart, and he’ll certainly be a popular target if he makes it through waivers. The former fifth-round pick started a pair of games for the Giants in 2021.

Commanders Place CB Benjamin St-Juste, OL Saahdiq Charles On IR

Washington made some quick adjustments to its active roster just prior to its season finale against Dallas this weekend, placing cornerback Benjamin St-Juste and offensive lineman Saahdiq Charles on injured reserve, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. To fill their spots on the 53-man roster, the Commanders signed practice squad tackle Alex Akingbulu and practice squad defensive end Benning Potoa’e to the active roster.

The biggest name here is obviously St-Juste, who has become a full-time starter in the slot during his sophomore season with the Commanders. As a rookie third-round pick last year, St-Juste was able to earn some serious playing time, starting three of nine appearances, but concussion issues led to an early end to his rookie year on IR. This season, St-Juste moved from outside corner to play more of a nickel role in the slot. St-Juste started every game of the season alongside cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Bobby McCain before beginning to deal with an ankle injury in a Week 11 win over the Texans. St-Juste has missed four of the five games since then and will now end his second season in a row on IR. In his absence, the Commanders have utilized rookie seventh-round pick Christian Holmes and veteran Danny Johnson in the slot.

Since being drafted in the fourth-round in 2020, Charles has been a dependable backup lineman for the Commanders, filling in as a starter for at least one game each season. Charles started three games earlier this season after coming in for injured right guard Trai Turner in a Week 4 loss to the Cowboys. Charles has been inactive since the team’s Week 14 bye while dealing with a concussion. Placing him on IR ensures he will be inactive for his fourth straight game to end the season.

Akingbulu is an undrafted rookie out of Fresno State. The first-team All-Mountain West offensive tackle from last year will provide some depth to the offensive line after the loss of Charles to IR. Potoa’e went undrafted out of the University of Washington in 2020, initially signing with the Buccaneers. After two seasons on Tampa Bay’s practice squad, Potoa’e was released in final roster cuts this preseason and decided to sign to the Commanders’ practice squad this season. Potoa’e is looking for his second in-game appearance this season, while an appearance by Akingbulu would mark his NFL debut.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC East

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These CommandersCowboys, Eagles and Giants moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Dallas Cowboys

Signed to practice squad:

New York Giants

Signed:

Released:

Claimed:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Philadelphia Eagles

Claimed: 

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Washington Commanders

Released:

Claimed:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Commanders Move Down To 53, Keep RB Brian Robinson On Active Roster

Teams have until 3pm CT to trim their rosters to the regular-season 53-man limit. The Commanders have done so but did it without moving Brian Robinson off the roster.

Shot twice in the lower body Sunday, Robinson underwent surgery. Ron Rivera also expressed optimism the third-round rookie could play this season. Washington is following through on these hopes, keeping the rookie running back on its active roster. Here are the moves the Commanders made to reach the 53-man max Tuesday:

Released:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

By keeping Robinson on their active roster, the Commanders opened the door to him not only playing in 2022. The team needed to carry the Alabama product through to its 53-man roster today in order to place him on short-term IR. An IR placement today would have ended Robinson’s season.

One of the gunshot wounds Robinson sustained hit his knee, but the bullet did not seriously damage ligaments, tendons or bone, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (video link). It is not a lock Robinson returns this season, per Garafolo, but the team is keeping its options open.

Robinson playing as a rookie would be obviously be a remarkable development. Prior to being shot, the Day 2 draftee had made a serious charge at the Commanders’ starting running back role. The team’s primary starter over the past two seasons, Antonio Gibson, remains on the roster, as do J.D. McKissic and Jonathan Williams. Robinson being moved to IR later this week will sideline him for at least four games — likely much longer, in this case — but allow him to return later this season, should he be cleared to do so.

The Chiefs, per ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter), also submitted a claim for Blanton recently, when the Rams waived him. It will be interesting to see if the young tight end generates any interest this week. Martin has generated consistent interest on the wire. The Commanders, who drafted the guard during the Bruce Allen regime, have made two waiver attempts to land him. The second one, earlier this month after the Jaguars cut Martin, was successful. It would not surprise if Martin is brought back via the practice squad — as several of Tuesday’s cuts will be — but he could also bring more interest on the wire.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/30/22

We’ll keep track of today’s minor transactions here:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

  • Activated from non-football illness list: OT Dan Skipper

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

 

NFL Workouts: 7/29/22

Here’s a list of minor players who visited or worked out for an NFL team today:

Carolina Panthers

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington Commanders

Howard had recently also worked out for the Saints, along with Bo Scarbrough, according to Nick Underhill at New Orleans Football Network. Howard has bounced between Philadelphia and Miami with limited success since averaging 1,123 rushing yards per season and totaling 24 rushing touchdowns in his first three seasons with the Bears. Injuries and limited productivity have really hurt Howard’s success over the past three years.