Commander’s Training Camp Stock Watch: Montez Sweats, Aggressive Rookies Impressed; Injuries limit other playmakers.

Washington’s commanders weren’t even in full pads, but there’s still plenty to glean from the team’s first four sessions of training camp. So who has made a name for themselves so far? And whose value has decreased?

Montez Sweet and the secondary anchor a defense that must improve from 2021, while Chase Young and Logan Thomas are still rehabbing injuries. Let’s look for these players and more after the first week of camp.


Montez sweat

Chase Young gets a lot of attention as the former no. 2 overall pick, but Monty’s suite has similar size, athleticism and explosiveness — All three of which are on display early in the camp.. A first-round pick in 2019, Sweat is moving to his second home: the offensive backfield. No matter who was lined up against Sweat, he consistently found ways to blow up run plays and harass quarterbacks.

Sweat is still looking for his first double-digit sack campaign — he’s put up seven, nine and five (in 10 games) over his first three seasons — and 2022 could be the year the Commanders are at their best. Mand Edge Rusher showcases this. full capacity.

“Well, he looks explosive already,” head coach Ron Rivera said after the first day on Wednesday. “He’s a tremendous athlete and his athleticism shows up very quickly.”

Communication in Secondary

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Commanders secondaries are always talking. And I’m not just talking about defensive backs coach Chris Harris who extols his players and yells at the offense after positive plays. Starting cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and William Jackson III are in constant contact with safeties Kamren Curl and Bobby McCain — all of whom started at least 14 games together a season ago.

Those results were certainly underwhelming — Washington finished 29th in passing defense and 31st in third-down defense — but this group is off to a strong start in 2022. The secondary dominated Thursday’s session, highlighted by a pass breakup by Fuller that led to an interception by Cole Holcomb, and the offense returned with a strong finish in Friday’s practice as if they were all over the field. I will keep throwing the ball.

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Add in promising young defensive backs Benjamin St-Just, Derek Forrest and Percy Butler, and this group could look a lot like the group that performed so well two seasons ago. Communication will be an important part of achieving such a recovery.

“That’s one thing we’re preaching in the room, man, just communicating,” McCain said Friday. “If you’re all wrong,
You’re right. So if you communicate and everybody gets it across the board, you know, there’s not a lot of teams that can beat you athletically.

“A lot of times you come into the room, and you see bad plays and it’s not necessarily the guy just making a crazy play. It’s more or less, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I got help. Oh, I didn’t.’ That call didn’t come, oh, I didn’t know that. So it’s all about communication. It’s just everybody doing their job to tell the next guy, ‘Hey, this is where I’m at. . That’s where your strengths are. And that’s where the weaknesses are.’

Jahan Dotson

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Everyone entered training camp wanting to see the chemistry between Carson Wentz and the recently extended Terry McLaren, and both did. Gelled well During the initial part of the camp. The connection that has stood out, however, is Wentz and first-round rookie Jehan Dotson.

Dotson earned rave reviews during OTAs and minicamp for his smooth route running and reliable hands, and he continued to make plays against whoever he matched up against over the past week. Happy Thursday, hey Caught a deep ball from Wentz. Despite St. Just blanketing him in coverage. On Saturday, he caught another pass from Wentz, this time for a touchdown on fourth-and-10 from the 20-yard line during red-zone drills.

There is a lot for fans to be excited about when it comes to Washington’s offense. McLaurin is a solid no. 1, Curtis Samuel is a versatile playmaker (when healthy), Logan Thomas is solid at tight end, and three running backs (Gibson, Robinson and JD McCassic) seem to be born when called upon. have the ability to Still, Dotson’s skill set could really make this unit dynamic, and an early return to the no. A total of 16 picks have been interesting.

Brian Robinson

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It’s tough to make a running back decision during training camp, especially before hitting the pads, but Robinson made the decision for two reasons: First, he got a lot of first-team reps during the first four sessions. Because Antonio Gibson dealt with a hamstring injury. ; And second, he’s been a fluid receiver out of the backfield.

Rivera described the rookie third-round pick out of Alabama as a “big, strong, powerful, downhill runner, more than anything,” and the team will certainly look to Robinson between the tackles and in short-yardage situations. I will use this skill by running. Like Peyton Barber’s character in 2020. But Robinson has already shown in camp that he has the necessary attributes to adequately handle whatever is asked of him in Year 1.

Stock down

Injury news

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The Commanders got some good news Thursday when center Chase Roullier was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, but other key players are either back or still dealing with previous injuries. Working back.

Chief among the group is Chase Young, said Rivera. Definitely a waste of time to start the regular season. While he’s recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in November. Rivera said the 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year will likely start on the PUP list, meaning he won’t be able to practice or play for the first four weeks of the year (vs. Jaguars, Lions, vs. Eagles, In Cowboys). The reserve edge rushers on the depth chart are 2020 seventh-round picks James Smith Williams and Casey Tohl, so one or both of them will have to step up in Young’s absence.

It’s also unclear when Logan Thomas will return. The former quarterback was committed to Washington in 2020, but a knee injury cut his 2021 campaign short in December. The tight ends behind him are very inexperienced but interesting. Rookie fifth-round pick Cole Turner caught two touchdowns during red-zone drills Saturday, while undrafted rookie Curtis Hodges has been praised by the coaches so far and had a touchdown Saturday. However, the frontrunner to take Thomas’ reps is sophomore John Bates, a former fourth-round pick who had 20 catches for 249 yards a year ago. He will be the TE1 in camp when he returns from a minor injury of his own that has kept him out the past two practices.

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Two other playmakers worth monitoring are Curtis Samuels and Antonio Gibson. The team continues to be cautious with Samuels after he spent all of last season battling a groin injury, which limited him to five games. He’s been limited the past few days, but Rivera said it’s all part of the former Carolina Panthers’ Swiss Army Knife plan.

“Trying to push it, let it go, then be careful,” Rivera said. “He’s missed a lot of football and you just don’t want that.
Throw guys out there and suddenly expose them a lot. So, you have to work your way into it.”

As for Gibson, who is battling a hamstring injury, he began his training camp Saturday, joining fellow running backs for individual drills. He didn’t participate in any of the team’s sessions, but just being out is a good sign as he’s coming off a 1,300-plus yard sophomore campaign.