ASHBURN, Va. -- Cole Holcomb is looking to take on a bigger role for the Washington Commanders defense this season.
After a few years as an outside linebacker, Holcomb is moving inside and becoming the "MIKE" linebacker.
On the defensive side of the football, the "MIKE" linebacker is often considered to be the quarterback.
The quarterback is always looking to identify the "MIKE" because the play is likely going to end based on what he does.
"I feel like I'm gonna take control of this defense, take charge at that MIKE spot," Holcomb told Commanders.com.
Holcomb got an opportunity to move inside in 2021, and he impressed both head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, both former linebackers.
"We thought he did some really good things, especially down the stretch," Rivera told Commanders.com.
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One of those really good things he did was call the defense, which he told us after the first day of voluntary OTAs. One concern among Washington fans was Holcomb having to take on this new leadership role, but it appears he already has that in-game experience for the position.
Holcomb had eight games where he racked up double-digit tackles in 2021, with four of those coming in either December or January.
Rivera has told the media that the Commanders are looking to add a veteran linebacker, but they want that new addition to complement and add insurance for Holcomb, not replace him.
"Don't sleep on Cole Holcomb," Del Rio told Commanders.com. "He's a pretty good player."
The Commanders are in a very fragile position as a defense. With a lot of young players nearing the end of their contracts, the window for success is razor thin and 2022 could be their best opportunity to become one of the NFL's elite defenses.
While Chase Young, Jonathan Allen and Kendall Fuller are all important players tied to the success of the unit, Holcomb might be up there right along with his star-studded teammates.