Logan Thomas upset for Armani Rogers, hopeful for Cole Turner
Washington Commanders tight end Logan Thomas has seen it all. The soon-to-be 32-year-old former star college quarterback is entering his 10th NFL season in 2023.
After signing an extension with the Commanders in 2021, Thomas, unfortunately, suffered a pair of injuries that season that landed him on injured reserve. The second of which was a torn ACL in a December game at Las Vegas on a cheap and dirty hit.
Thomas returned in 2022, less than nine months after the injury. However, he was never fully healthy for Washington and didn’t look like the same player pre-injury.
On Tuesday, when Washington opened OTAs, Thomas was nearby when second-year tight end Armani Rogers injured his Achilles and was lost for the foreseeable future.
“It hurt my heart,” Thomas said via Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post. “It hurt it a lot. We were standing right behind him when it happened and obviously saw the whole thing. Heard the whole thing, which was even scarier. But I talked to him yesterday and told him that there’s going to be some dark days, and when those days come, my number’s available. Call me.”
That’s leadership. And that leadership is one of the reasons head coach Ron Rivera wanted to bring Thomas back in 2023 when many felt he’d be a release or restructure candidate. That and Rivera believes Thomas was healthier toward the end of the season and playing much better.
Losing Rogers is a tough blow for the Commanders. Washington ignored a historically deep tight end class in the NFL draft because it liked the young group it had behind Thomas, in John Bates, Rogers, Cole Turner and Curtis Hodges.
Thomas has a lot in common with Rogers. Rogers is also a former successful college quarterback, making the transition to tight end with the Commanders last offseason after signing as an undrafted free agent. There was excitement about Rogers because of his upside.
The other young tight end the Commanders are most excited about is Turner. The fifth-round pick in 2022 missed a lot of time last season with a hamstring injury and a concussion. He was turning heads early in training camp before injuring his hamstring and falling behind.
Rivera often praised Turner last year.
Thomas likes what he sees.
“He’s doing a great job,” Thomas said. “He’s one of those guys that’s kind of built for an offense like this, where he doesn’t really have to stretch the field, but he can use his quickness, use his hands.”
While not quite as athletic as Rogers, Turner also has a big frame and understands how to use his body to shield off defenders, which should make him an excellent red-zone threat in Eric Bieniemy’s offense.
Washington’s tight end depth took a big hit Tuesday. Now the Commanders are counting on Thomas returning to form and another young player stepping up in his second season.
The tight end position is critical in Bieniemy’s offense, so there will be opportunities.