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Commanders fans seem to be buying on Austin Ekeler and selling on Ricky Stromberg

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By: Bill-in-Bangkok

Washington Commanders center Ricky Stromberg (53) leaves the field following the National Football League preseason game between the Washington Commanders and Cleveland Browns on August 11, 2023, at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, OH. | Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Survey results!!

As I said in the survey article published on Tuesday, it was an awkward time to ask survey questions since we were really still at the beginning of a process that unfolded over several days. Still, the chance to ask a question or two was there, and I took it.

Austin Ekeler in; Antonio Gibson out

The first question asked in this week’s poll read, “The Commanders added Austin Ekeler but lost Antonio Gibson; Grade YOUR EXPECTED OUTCOME from the team’s perspective.”

The response was generally positive, with 77% of respondents saying they felt good or great about the move. Only 3% of fans felt bad or terrible.

In my mind, the driving force behind signing Ekeler (as opposed to any other back) is his connection to the team’s new offensive running game coordinator, Anthony Lynn. Nearly all of the Commanders’ free agent deals that we heard about this week were based on a connection between player and coach. Even kicker Brandon McManus, in his media session this week, spoke about the 2014 season when he and new special teams coordinator Larry Izzo were together at the NY Giants. Connections can run deep and count for a lot when a new coaching staff takes over.

The short term future for 2023 3rd round draft pick, Ricky Stromberg

One of the other early signings for the Commanders this week was that of Center Tyler Biadasz from the Cowboys. In light of that free agency move, we asked, in our second survey question, what will happen to Ricky Stromberg — last year’s 3rd round draft pick (97th overall).

Almost no one who responded to the survey expects him to start at center over Biadasz, though 12% of respondents did say he would win the starting left guard position.

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Instead, 82% of Hogs Haven readers who answered our survey predict that Stromberg will be a backup interior offensive lineman behind Biadasz at center, Cosmi at right guard, and whoever wins the starting left guard position (a spot that currently looks like it could go to Nick Allegretti).

In Allegretti’s introductory press conference, he said that he planned to compete for the starting job and said that his intention was to be the Week 1 starter at that position. The 3-year, $29.25m contract given to Tyler Biadasz, and the 3-year, $16m deal for Allegretti indicate that the Commanders front office sees both players having a role with the team for at least two or three seasons, and clearly both players came to Washington expecting to play as starters. Of course, the right guard position is locked down by Sam Cosmi, who was Washington’s best offensive lineman last season.

None of this locks Stromberg out of the opportunity to compete for a starting role at guard or center, but he will have to play at a high level to unseat either of this week’s new interior offensive line veterans.

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Originally posted on Hogs Haven