Commanders guard Sam Cosmi: ‘I wanted to run the ball more’

The Washington Commanders finished the 2023 NFL season with a 4-13 record, and head coach Ron Rivera lost his job after four seasons. It was the first — and perhaps only year — for Eric Bieniemy as Washington’s offensive coordinator, and the results looked a lot like Scott Turner’s results from one year ago.

According to FTN’s offensive DVOA, the Commanders ranked No. 26 in 2023. In 2022 — Turner’s final season before being fired — Washington ranked No. 30.

So, while the end results were similar, the path to those pathetic results was different.

The Commanders led the NFL with 636 passing attempts in 2023. This occurred with a second-year quarterback, who was a fifth-round pick in 2022. That approach looked solid through the first 10 weeks, as Howell showed great promise outside a few stinkers. Unfortunately, beginning in Week 11, the wheels off for Howell and the offense.

In contrast, Washington ranked dead last in the NFL with 359 rushing attempts. Throughout the season, you could see players’ frustration, although many refused to discuss it publicly. With the season over and Rivera fired, there will be changes for the Commanders. This coaching staff will not be back.

That allowed players to speak more freely on Monday as they were cleaning out their lockers. One of those players was right guard Sam Cosmi.

While many on the offense struggled, Cosmi’s career took off. In his first year at guard, Cosmi became one of the NFL’s most dominant guards in the second half of the season. And not running the ball didn’t sit well with Cosmi.

“I wanted to run the ball more,” Cosmi said. “Me personally, being our O-Line, give us a better chance to be more balanced. I felt like we weren’t balanced. I think we were 30th in the league in attempts and runs. I love running the ball. And I felt like it was nothing but dropback passes. So, I just wanted to be more balanced, to be completely honest with you. Just run the rock, please. That’s all I would have to say with that.”

If you ask any offensive lineman, they’ll agree with Cosmi. And while today’s NFL is more geared toward the passing game, the running game remains critical to success. As Cosmi said, it’s about finding balance. That balance didn’t exist under Bieniemy.

Cosmi then noted that he hopes the next offensive coordinator takes advantage of the team’s talent, specifically mentioning running back Brian Robinson Jr., who Cosmi labeled as “special.”

While not directly a criticism of Bieniemy, Cosmi answered a question honestly and directly. There was no agenda. And it was clear he wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

No one will ever know if a more balanced running game would’ve helped quarterback Sam Howell avoid some of his mistakes, but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire