June 23, 2024
The Washington Commanders are experiencing a shift in team building and the young are inheriting the locker room.

FOXBORO, Ma. — The Washington Commanders were led by their youth in a 20-17 win over the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon, which is good considering the team is getting younger.

Not only is this Commanders team getting younger by way of trading defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young, they’re doing it on purpose.

That means if Washington is going to turn its struggling on-field product into a winning one it’s going to be done with youthful exuberance more than veteran savvy.

Young Washington Commanders Showed Up Big in Week 9 Victory - Sports  Illustrated Washington Football News, Analysis and More

“It’s awesome,” quarterback Sam Howell said when asked about young guys stepping up in the Week 9 win. “We have a lot of young guys on this team and with Chase and Tez gone, some young guys had to step up and make plays and they did that today…Tez and Chase are great players and they’re going to have great careers, but we still have young guys that can play football and they’re here for a reason.”

One of those players is rookie defensive end KJ Henry who nearly got his first sack until the play was wiped out by a tricky-tack penalty called on the pass rusher for landing too hard on Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.

The reason Henry is here, is to play, which he pointed out in his own postgame interview session on Sunday.

That might seem obvious but until Sunday we hadn’t really seen the fifth-round pick much outside of preseason.

And then there are defensive backs Emmanuel Forbes and Quan Martin.

The first, and more polarizing of the two, came up with several key plays during the game that helped secure the win and nearly had a second half interception that would have prevented New England from extending their lead to seven points at the time.

While he didn’t come up with the takeaway, he did prevent his receiver from making the catch, and instead of a 10 point lead, the Patriots had to settle for seven and would eventually lose that as Washington regained control of the contest.

A contest that was sealed as the Commanders’ fourth win of the season when Martin hauled in the first interception of his NFL career late in the fourth quarter.

Of course, Howell is another member of the youth movement in D.C. football, and his 352 yards of total offense certainly helped.

David Harrison has been in sports media since 2015 using written, audio, and video media to cover athletes, coaches, and games. In addition to covering the Washington Commanders for Commander Country and Locked On Commanders he also covers the Washington Wizards for Inside the Wizards and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for BucsGameday and Locked On Bucs. David also covers the NFL as a whole as one of the Friday hosts for Locked On NFL. He is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and previously spent 20 years as an active member of the United States Army. Contact David via email at david.w.harrison82@gmail.com or on Twitter @DHarrison82.

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