Commanders’ sudden change of mind on defensive tackle position

·2 min read

Did you notice how soon the Washington Commanders changed their mind regarding a defensive tackle?

It all started in the season opener when Phidarian Mathis was injured early against the Jaguars. Mathis was lost for the season. So, the next day (Sept 12) Washington placed Mathis on Injured Reserve and signed Donovan Jeter to the active roster.

Jeter who played his college ball at Michigan, is listed as 6-foot-3, 325 pounds. He was undrafted (2022) and subsequently signed by the Steelers, went through training camp and the preseason and was one of their later cuts. Chicago called to sign him to their practice squad, but when Washington called to sign him to the active roster, he signed with Washington.

Head coach Ron Rivera told reporters he liked signing Jeter. “Big, stout, physical young man more so than anything else. I like his first-step quickness, his ability to get into the crease and hold the point.”

After one game in Detroit, Jeter is gone. The former Commander was in on 18 defensive snaps, and 7 special teams snaps. Jeter recorded one solo tackle. Perhaps he didn’t look as big, stout, physical, or possess the first-step quickness Rivera thought he’d seen on tape?

On Monday, after the Detroit loss, Rivera cut Jeter and signed John Ridgeway, another tackle, who had been released by Dallas. Interestingly enough, NFL teams very much avoid cutting the players they draft in their very first year. It is a public admission that they really missed on that player when drafting him.

So, inquisitive people like myself can’t help but inquire, “Why did Dallas not keep a player they drafted this year in the 5th round?

Perhaps like Jeter, might Ridgeway also have only one game to show if he is going to be retained as well?

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire