By all accounts, Friday’s practice may be the Washington Commanders’ most physical during training camp this year. On a day marked by dugouts, a poor offensive start in the red zone, and too many turnovers, let’s dig into my observations and nuggets from Friday’s Washington Commanders practice.
- Wide receivers Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown were inactive during full team drills. Sometimes they were working on the sidelines today, other times, they were on the sidelines with the offense watching the practice session.
- The tight end room is running out fast. With Logan Thomas and John Bates still out, Cole Turner injured his hamstring on the first play of the full team drills, attempting to execute a back-run block. He tried to come back a couple of plays later and made a catch, but took a big hit from what appeared to be Percy Butler. Turner left the practice for good after this replay and was seen by medical staff. According to head coach Ron Rivera, Sammis Reyes was injured today with a hamstring injury.
- William Jackson III is “probably” also dealing with a hamstring injury. “Well, if he had an ice pack, then he probably had a hamstring,” Rivera, when asked about Jackson III’s injury.
- Troy Apke is also inactive in the side field.
- LB David Mayo ran with the starters today on close range defense, specifically on Washington’s 5-2 defensive front alongside Cole Holcomb. It appears that Rivera and staff have identified a role for Mayo. Rivera confirmed that there are certain “groups” where Mayo is worth more than Davis. “This is how some of the defenses are set up. We have a couple of defenses where we have certain elements that are what we consider our big group. Other elements, we only have one linebacker at the start. So for the most part first in will be [LB] Cabbage [Holcomb]. It’s really the group.”
- Jamin Davis and Khaleke Hudson led the second-team defense at linebacker in low-yardage situations. This unit gave up a big play on a play-action pass that allowed Sammis Reyes to get behind the second level of defense on a snap for what would have been a 50+ yard touchdown. It was wide open. Rookie Percy Butler was the safe third safety, I couldn’t get who the cornerbacks were.
fast pass drills
- Rookie Phidarian Mathis had a productive day at 1v1 and 2v2 today. Mathis won with power at the point of attack and had a good level of cushioning to keep the offensive guard off their feet and unable to pin. Mathis also practiced the stunt game with another defensive lineman, though he couldn’t capture who he was working with. However, Mathis collapsed the pocket coming out of the trick with another power boost. Mathis showed some nice leg drive on the replay that would have earned him a third win of the day on passing reps.
- Sam Cosmi struggled with a particular replay of Speed Rush from veteran Montez Sweat. Cosmi took a second longer to reach set point from him, which would have put him in a better position to defend Sweat’s sprint. However, the work between these two was not finished. After this particular drill was over, Cosmi and Sweat got together for a “lessons learned” conversation, where Sweat likely discussed some ways Cosmi could improve against the kind of rushed plan Sweat presented him with.
- If today is any indication of what coaches are thinking about returns, wide receiver Dax Milne took the most kickoff returns for Washington today.
- Rookie Kyric McGowan saw action on the punt return. McGowan stood out because he was the first player on the field today. He was also out there fielding punts. However, McGowan had a muff and a bobble during practice when he made two punts. He made another field, which was clean.
- Other punt returners include Milne, Jahan Dotson and Alex Erickson.
- Jarett Patterson was also in the mix on special teams. Patterson specifically viewed reps as a blocker on the punt return drive. A good way to show versatility and earn a spot on the roster.
- Antonio Gibson had a rough day. From what I’m told, this was one of his first full days in team exercises. Gibson saw opportunities as a pass catcher. Although he created separation on his route and won their matchup 1-on-1, Gibson dropped a pass at the sack. He was wide open after the move from him. His problems did not end there; Gibson was guilty of two fumbles in full team drills. The offense lost both. (Side note: Brian Robinson had a cash day, he’s a player to watch next Saturday against Carolina.)
- Sam Howell threw an interception in the red zone. However, in full transparency, I couldn’t see how the entire play unfolded due to my seat.
- The offense had several losses against the defense in red zone situations. The starting defense forced several throws from the quarterback and maybe even sacks if their practice was a live game.
These are my notable items from practice this Friday. I should mention that there aren’t many updates on Wentz or the offense because my focus was mostly on the trenches and the defensive line.