Watch the commander’s training camp action: Montez Sweat, offensive rookies impress; injuries limit the other attacking midfielders

The Washington Commanders weren’t even bearing full bearings, but there is still a lot to be gathered from the team’s first four training camp sessions. So who has made a name for themselves so far? And whose worth has decreased?

Montez Sweat and the secondaries stood out on a defense that needs to improve from a poor 2021, while Chase Young and Logan Thomas are still in injury rehab. Let’s analyze these players and more after the first week of camp.

Supply

Montez Sweat

Chase Young gets a lot of attention as a former No. 2 overall, but Montez Sweat has similar size, athleticism and explosiveness – all three were exhibited at the start of the camp. Chosen in the first round in 2019, Sweat is settling into his second home: the offensive backfield. No matter who sided against Sweat, he has consistently found ways to blow up running plays and harass quarterbacks who come back to pass.

Sweat is still looking for his first double-digit layoff campaign – he put in seven, nine and five (in 10 games) during his first three seasons – and 2022 may be the year the best healthy rusher. of the Commanders will show off its full potential.

“Well, it looks explosive already,” said manager Ron Rivera after Wednesday’s Day 1. “He is an exceptional athlete and his athleticism shows very quickly.”

Communication in the secondary

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The secondary of the commanders ALWAYS speaks. And I’m not just talking about defender coach Chris Harris cheering his players and chirping offensively after positive plays. Starting cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and William Jackson III are in constant communication with safety guards Kamren Curl and Bobby McCain, who started at least 14 games together a season ago.

Those results were certainly disappointing – Washington finished 29th in passing defense and 31st in defense from third down – but this group got off to a great start in 2022. The secondary dominated Thursday’s session, the highlight being the Fuller’s pass breakup which resulted in a Cole Holcomb intercepted and bounced back with a nice finish to Friday’s practice after the attack looked like they would keep throwing the ball all over the pitch.

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Add in the promising young defenders Benjamin St-Juste, Darrick Forrest and Percy Butler, and this group could look a lot more like the one who performed very well two seasons ago. Communication will be a significant part of achieving such a rebound.

“This is something we’re preaching in the room, man, we’re just communicating,” McCain said Friday. “If you are all wrong,
You are right. So, if you communicate and everyone understands it, you know, there aren’t too many teams that will beat you athletically.

“A lot of times you walk into the room and see bad plays and it’s not necessarily the guy who’s just doing a crazy comedy. It’s kind of, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I had help. Oh, I did.'” You get that call. Oh, I didn’t know. “So it’s all about communication. That’s all everyone does just their piece to let the next guy know like,” Hey, this is where I am. This is where your help lies. And that’s where the weak points are. ‘”

Jahan Dotson

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Everyone entered training camp to see the chemistry between Carson Wentz and Terry McLaurin recently extended, and the two have gelled well during the first part of the camp. The link that stood out, however, was Wentz and first-round rookie Jahan Dotson.

Dotson garnered great reviews during the OTAs and minicamps for his reliable and trustworthy hands, and has continued to make plays against anyone who has been confronted over the past week. Thursday him took a deep ball from Wentz despite St-Juste having covered him up. On Saturday, he got another pass from Wentz, this time for a touchdown on the fourth and 10 from the 20-yard line during red zone practice.

There is a lot that fans need to be excited about when it comes to the Washington attack. McLaurin is a solid number 1, Curtis Samuel is a versatile playmaker (when healthy), Logan Thomas is stable in the tight end, and there appear to be three running backs (Gibson, Robinson and JD McKissic) capable of producing when required. However, Dotson’s skill set can really make this unit dynamic, and the first returns on pick 16 ever were exciting.

Brian Robinson

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It’s hard to judge a running back during training camp, especially before the bearings put on, but Robinson makes the cut for two reasons: First, he received many of the first team’s repetitions during the first four sessions when Antonio Gibson treated an injury. hamstring; and secondly, he was a fluid catcher off the backfield.

Rivera described the third-round rookie out of Alabama as a “big, strong, powerful, downhill runner, more than anything else” and the team will definitely use that skill set by running Robinson between tackles and in close range situations. , similar to the role assumed by barber Peyton in 2020. But Robinson has already proven at the field that he has the necessary characteristics to adequately perform whatever is asked of him in year 1.

Escort down

Injury news

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Commanders got good news Thursday when the Chase Roullier center was activated from the Physically Inable To Perform (PUP) list, but other key players were sidelined or are still working on previous injuries.

The biggest of the bunch is Chase Young, who according to Rivera will definitely waste time to start the regular season as he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered in November. Rivera said Defensive Rookie of the Year 2020 will likely start on the PUP list, meaning he won’t be able to train or play for the first four weeks of the year (v Jaguars, Lions, Eagles, Cowboys ). The reserve edge runners in the depth chart are the picks of the seventh round of 2020 James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill, so either or both will have to step forward in Young’s absence.

It is also unclear when Logan Thomas will return. The former quarterback was out for Washington in 2020, but his 2021 campaign was halted in December due to a knee injury. The tight ends behind him are very inexperienced but intriguing. Round five rookie Cole Turner scored two touchdowns during a practice in the red zone on Saturday, while non-draft rookie Curtis Hodges has received praise from coaches so far and even had a touchdown on Saturday. However, the favorite to take Thomas’ reps is second-year John Bates, a former fourth-round pick who made 20 catches for 249 yards a year ago. He will be TE1 at the field once he returns from a minor injury that kept him out of his past couple training sessions.

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The other two directors worth monitoring are Curtis Samuel and Antonio Gibson. The team continues to be cautious of Samuel after he spent all last season battling a nagging groin injury, which limited him to five games. He’s been limited in the last few days, but Rivera said he’s all part of the plan for the former Carolina Panthers Swiss Army knife.

“Trying to get it up, get it going, so be careful,” Rivera said. “He missed a lot about football and you just don’t want to
throw the guys out there and suddenly expose them to too much. So, you have to somehow work on it. “

As for Gibson, who is battling a hamstring injury, made his training camp debut on Saturday, joining fellow running backs for individual drills. He hasn’t attended any of the team sessions, just the fact that he’s out there is a good sign as he tries to build on a second-year campaign of over 1,300 yards.

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