Commanders offensive line took a step forward last week

The offensive line is often a frequent target of fans expressing their displeasure with their favorite team. That’s been the case with the Washington Commanders in recent years. Fans have seen Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff depart, only for Washington’s offensive line to regress.

One frequent criticism of head coach Ron Rivera is his refusal to upgrade the offensive line through the NFL draft. In four years with Washington, Rivera has not drafted one offensive lineman in the first and only one in the second and third rounds.

Rivera quietly went to work this past offseason, targeting two offensive linemen in the first wave of free agency: Right tackle Andrew Wylie and center Nick Gates.

The early returns have been mixed, especially with Wylie, but Gates has solidified the interior of Washington’s offensive line, flanked by a pair of former Commanders’ draft picks, Sam Cosmi (RG) and Saahdiq Charles (LG).

When quarterback Sam Howell was sacked six times in the season opener, many quickly blamed the offensive line. However, after further review, some of those sacks were on Howell, which he acknowledged. In last week’s win over Denver, the offensive tackles struggled at times, but left tackle Charles Leno Jr. rebounded with a strong finish.

So, where do things stand with Washington’s offensive line after two games? Pro Football Focus ranks NFL offensive lines each week and moved up the Commanders from No. 19 to No. 13 last week.

Saahdiq Charles earned an 85.9 run-blocking grade against the Broncos, which ranked second among guards in Week 2.

The Commanders’ offensive line has given up five sacks this season, which is tied for the sixth most in the NFL, despite the fact that they have surrendered just the 16th most pressures.

Leno allowed both a sack and a quarterback hit against the Broncos. It marked just the third time that has happened since the start of the 2022 season.

While we disagreed with Leno as Washington’s best offensive lineman last week, he was better in the second half. Charles and Cosmi were excellent against the Broncos. And if those two can stay healthy, it’s a positive development for the Commanders in their quest to improve the offensive line.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire