It’s no secret many look down upon the Washington Commanders as a lower level franchise in the NFL these days.
But that wasn’t always the case.
And like all NFL franchises, Washington’s best memories have been made on the field, not off of them.
So it stands to reason that the best way for a football franchise to navigate turbulence off the field is by winning on it. Something the Commanders haven’t done much of in recent years, unfortunately.
This has led to a spike in how many people - especially in the National stage - are willing to doubt any glimmer of potential in this team after having been burned so badly by the 2021 version.
But as we near training camp, there may be signs of life in how outsiders view Washington’s football team.
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In a recent ranking of all 32 NFL teams, ESPN ranked the Commanders 17th, higher than the 25th-ranked estimate I thought they’d earn before reading the piece myself.
“The four former first-round selections who make up Washington's starting defensive line remain the strength of this roster entering this season,” wrote ESPN. “Jonathan Allen has the fourth-highest PFF pass-rushing grade among interior defensive linemen over the past two seasons, and the return of a healthy Chase Young and Montez Sweat is no small addition to the Commanders' defense.”
Of course, injuries and the linebacker position remain concerns.
ESPN also listed receiver Curtis Samuel as the team’s X-Factor, the same offensive weapon we listed as a potential team MVP candidate earlier this week.
Ranking 17th may not be the most complimentary position for the Washington Commanders, but what’s interesting is the 16th ranked Dallas Cowboys who are widely considered to be in the top half of the NFC East along with the seventh ranked Philadelphia Eagles.