History of the Washington Commanders
Commanders is a new name for an old franchise that actually had its founding in 1932 as the Boston Braves. They took their nickname from their landlords that first season, the Boston Braves of Major League Baseball and Braves Field, where both teams played.
The team moved to Fenway Park the next season, changed its name, and changed head coaches (their original coach, Lud Wray, left to co-found the Philadelphia Eagles). And after four seasons of playing at Fenway, and changing coaches two more times, the team moved to Washington, D.C., where owner George Preston Marshall was from.
First Year Success in Washington
That first year in Washington they won their first NFL Championship, beating the Bears 28-21. They won again in 1942, and played in the Championship Game in 1943 and 1945.
And then Washington stopped being good. Following their Championship Game loss to the Rams in 1945 – the Rams last season in Cleveland – and through the 1970 season after the AFL and NFL had merged, Washington didn’t make the postseason. They finished as high as second twice in their conference, and most of the time they were in fourth, fifth, or sixth place.
In the 1970s there was new ownership in Jack Kent Cooke, and a new coach in George Allen, and a new era of winning. They played in Super Bowl VII and made the playoffs in five of six seasons. In 1982, with Joe Gibbs as the new coach, they won Super Bowl XVII. He won again in Super Bowls XXII and XVI.
They haven’t been back since then, and under owner Daniel Snyder they have just two wild card wins in 23 seasons.
Washington has two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Sonny Jergensen and Sammy Baugh. The Hogs, the offensive line that blocked for Hall of Famer John Riggins, produced Hall of Fame guard Russ Grimm. One of the fastest cornerbacks in history was Hall of Famer Darrell Green.
NFL Big Changes from Last Season – Washington Commanders
This team remains stable at running back, with Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic still leading the way, but now getting a third back who can handle a decent load in rookie Brian Robinson from Alabama. Last season with the Crimson Tide he rushed for 1,343 yards.
The big changes have come with the passing game. Terry McLaurin remains at wide receiver, and one of the best in the NFL now has a new contract, and a new running-mate. Washington used the 16th overall pick on Jahan Dotson from Penn State, a smaller wide receiver, but an incredibly fast and big-play wide receiver. Teamed with McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, this offense has serious playmakers.
Commanders New QB Carson Wintz
That is important for the new quarterback in town, Carson Wentz. He began his NFL career as an MVP candidate in Philadelphia. Then he became a reclamation project in Indianapolis who was given up on after just one season. Now you get the feeling that Wentz is getting one last chance to prove that he can still be a franchise quarterback.
At times last season he looked good in Indianapolis in spite of a bad group of wide receivers. So hopefully, with a very talented group of wide receivers, he can be consistent from Week 1 through a possible return to the playoffs.
The offensive line charged with protecting Wentz has changed personnel this offseason. Gone is All-Pro right guard Brandon Scherff, and in is guard Andrew Norwell. Former Steeler Trai Turner is also a free agent guard coming to Washington this season.
The Commanders will begin the season without pass rusher Chase Young, as he still recovers from last season’s torn ACL. But the interior of the defensive line has more depth with the drafting of Phidarian Mathis from Alabama in the second round.
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