In a perfect world, Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera would love to see his starters play the entire first half. Unfortunately, that may not be possible with the current number of injuries the Commanders are facing.
After Thursday’s practice, Rivera was asked how much the starters would play during Saturday’s second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“A lot of it has to do with the health of specific players,” Rivera said. “When we do certain things on the offensive side, it’s going to impact how all the other guys play. So hopefully, we can stay healthy, and we can get him in. Ideally, I’d like to play him the whole half; I really would. But I don’t know if we can get that done, you know, with some of the soft tissue injuries we’ve had to deal with.”
The Commanders are dealing with injuries to their top four tight ends and top three guards. At tight end, starter Logan Thomas continues to rehab from knee surgery, while John Bates and Cole Turner have battled nagging calf and hamstring injuries, respectively. Sammis Reyes was placed on injured reserve this week.
That leaves a pair of undrafted rookies, Armani Rogers and Curtis Hodges, to split most of the work at tight end. While it’s a great evaluation tool for the two young players Washington likes, it is a concern.
At guard, projected starters Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner are battling injuries, and top reserve Wes Schweitzer went down earlier this week. Turner has yet to practice this summer, but that doesn’t bother Rivera, as Turner is a trusted veteran.
Rivera noted how the injuries at guard could impact how long quarterback Carson Wentz plays.
“Absolutely. That’s exactly what I’m getting at,” Rivera said of the injuries impacting how long specific starters will play.
With only three preseason games now, the second preseason game becomes more important than ever as teams will likely rest most of their starters for the third preseason game.
Will Washington see enough from its starters to feel good about heading into the season?