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Cowboys at Commanders: Draft position is the only thing going for Washington

The Commanders moved up in the draft order after their Week 17 loss.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Washington Commanders Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Commanders star WR gives sad response when asked about 49ers culture after Washington’s seventh straight loss - Jordan Dajani, CBS Sports

Another disappointing season for Washington is taking a toll on Terry McLaurin.

The Washington Commanders’ 2023 campaign has gone from bad to worse over the past couple months. Washington has now lost seven straight games while allowing at least 27 points in each contest, and the early promise quarterback Sam Howell showed has faded.

The Commanders fell to 4-12 on Sunday, as they allowed their former No. 2 overall pick, Chase Young, and the San Francisco 49ers to clinch the No. 1 seed in the conference with a 27-10 victory. These two clubs are clearly on the opposite sides of the spectrum in the NFL, and it’s something Commanders wideout Terry McLaurin lamented after the game.

When asked how difficult it was to see players he knows competing for a Super Bowl while his Commanders are out of playoff contention, McLaurin offered a rather sad response (via The Washington Post).

“It’s definitely tough. I mean, you want to be a part of something that sustainable and you’re winning and competing at a high level. You know, they’ve got a great staff over there. They’ve got great players. You can tell that they love playing together. They do a great job of getting everybody involved. Defense is flying around. They have fun. You know, I got to spend some time with a lot of those guys, like six or seven of them made the Pro Bowl last year. I really got to be around them and it kind of reminds me a little bit at Ohio State. You know what I mean, the kind of culture that they have and everything. You see why they have the success that they do.

When you’re going against teams like that, you got to play, not perfect, but you got to make the most of every opportunity. You can’t turn over the ball. You got to extend drives and score in the red zone. I think, top to bottom, they have All-Pro players at every level. You got to give them credit for building that team and for the players going out there and executing. Hopefully, I can be a part of something like that, but I’m just focused on myself, my world and my journey and I’m going to keep working to be the best player I can be.”

5 huge disappointments from Commanders loss vs. the 49ers in Week 17 - Jonathan Eig, RiggosRag.com

There wasn’t much to cheer about in Washington in Week 17.

They had a better third-down conversion rate. They had better yards-per-play and yards-per-pass numbers. No sacks. No interceptions. They were trailing by three and scheduled to get the ball to begin the second half. Other than the two Eagles games, this may have been the best first half the Commanders have put together all season.

Of course, in the second half, it all fell apart.

Jacoby Brissett’s absence

“What might have been” went double for Jacoby Brissett. I am not so much disappointed that Sam Howell got another start. I did not think Ron Rivera should have benched him this late into the season in the first place. But I am disappointed for the veteran.

Brissett deserved a chance to show what he could do with a full week of practice, going against one of the league’s best defenses. Perhaps he would have played a great game. Perhaps he would have flamed out. We’ll never know.

He hits the market as a free agent this off-season, and there should be strong interest in him. I imagine Brissett will find a situation in which he can compete for a starting job. He could have bolstered his case with a strong outing on Sunday.

Unlike some other players on the roster, Brissett has been a good soldier - at least publicly - this season. He has kept his mouth shut and stayed prepared. He has performed when called on. He deserves better.

This has ripple effects as well.

Seeing how effective Brissett has been over the past two weeks begs the question as to whether Eric Bieniemy’s system would have been better with the veteran under center. The Washington Commanders’ offense was better in 2023 than it has been in several years, but it has flaws.

Washington Commanders Vs. San Francisco 49ers - Studs and Duds - Mark Tyler, HogsHaven.com

Not everything was bad for the Commanders this week.

Studs:

Terry McLaurin - Terry only had four receptions, but he made them count with one being a 42 yard deep pass and another a nice back-shoulder touchdown. He deserves much better than what he got from his team and coaching this year.

Sam Cosmi - I though Cosmi played very well against a good 49ers defensive front. He handled the blitz well, kept his defender at bay for the most part in pass protection, and did a great job of opening up lanes in the run game and getting out on screens. He’s been our best lineman by a MILE this season and he deserves some recognition.

Brian Robinson - He wasn’t given many opportunities to touch the football, but he made the most of the ones he got. He had 44 yards rushing on just nine carries and caught four passes for 32 yards. Shame on Bieniemy for not getting him more carries.

Cornelius Lucas - Lucas has been playing well at left tackle in Leno’s absence and I wanted to give him a shout-out for that. He looks MUCH more comfortable on the left side than at right tackle, and he’s EASILY better than Leno. He held Chase Young in check on the day and otherwise did a decent job in both the run and pass game.

The Arizona Cardinals - THANK YOU for beating the Eagles and 1) giving Dallas a meaningful game against us next week; and 2) jumping us to number two in the draft order for 2024.

The odds are looking good for the Commanders to land the No. 2 overall pick - Bryan Manning, Yahoo! Sports

There can still be a silver lining for a team that’s lost seven straight games.

The Washington Commanders received some good news after their 27-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Not only did the loss move up the Commanders in the 2024 NFL draft order, they moved up one spot from No. 3 to No. 2.

However, the draft order could’ve changed once the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles game went final. Arizona entered Sunday holding the No. 2 position, with only three wins. Washington and New England were right behind the Cardinals with four wins apiece.

While the 49ers were in the FedEx Field locker room rooting for the Cardinals to win so they could clinch home-field advantage, Washington fans were rooting for the Cardinals to win for draft reasons. Kyler Murray and Arizona pulled off the upset, and, as a result, the Cardinals dropped two spots in the NFL draft order.

Of course, there are many variables that can change the draft order next week. The simplest way for the Commanders to stay at No. 2 is to lose against the Cowboys, and root for a Patriots win over the Jets. If not, the strength of schedule formula comes into play.

ESPN analytics writer Seth Walder’s numbers show that Washington is in an excellent position to finish the season with the No. 2 pick.

If the Patriots lose and the strength of schedule formula knocks Washington to No. 3, Walder’s model believes it’s virtually a lock that the Commanders pick no lower than No. 3.

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