Camp observations, 8/3: QBs clean things up while backup defensive ends struggle

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Camp notes, 8/3: QBs clean it up while backup D-ends struggle originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

ASHBURN — Ron Rivera described his mood as "a little agitated."

Near the end of Wednesday's training camp practice during a no-huddle phase, the offense and defense were getting chippy and arguing quite a bit after a couple of whistles. In doing so, Rivera felt like they were wasting the chance at more live reps, which are as precious for the Commanders this summer as shade is for those watching the action.

"We can't do that," he said afterward. "We've got to get our asses in position and play football. That's what I was pissed off about."

"When the game gets hard, when there's pressure on you, you can't do that," the coach continued. "You've got to maintain your focus and line up and play football. You've got to get past those things."

That was probably the most interesting stretch of the mid-week session, but here are more useful notes coming directly from Washington's facility...

  • The Curtis Samuel Practice Tracker is heading in the right direction, as we can finally change the zero to one. Samuel was used in 11-on-11s and though he never got loose deep, he caught at least three screens and was also deployed as a decoy to free up JD McKissic in the flat. Thursday is expected to be a walkthrough-like event, so Friday will really be the next opportunity to monitor Samuel's status.

  • William Jackson III, Dyami Brown and Bobby McCain were three notable full-squad holdouts, yet they all participated in the installation periods, so whatever was sidelining them couldn't have been too dire. Daron Payne was given a veteran day.

  • After summarizing Tuesday's receiver vs. defensive back one-on-ones, here's a blow-by-blow of Wednesday's linemen battles... 1) The non-Montez Sweat defensive ends struggled to shake free of their blockers, with rushers like William Bradley-King, Shaka Toney and Efe Obada all getting stood up on multiple occasions 2) Daniel Wise shoved one guard straight to the grass, a show of strength that caused Jonathan Allen to react with major enthusiasm 3) These situations aren't where Phidarian Mathis is going to shine; instead, he'll display his skills in the preseason when opponents run his way. 4) Big picture, the offensive line won this matchup pretty easily.

  • Wentz has been much more reliable in his last two outings, with some of his top tosses ending up in the arms of Dotson and Cole Turner on Wednesday. Also notable: Wentz, Taylor Heinicke and Sam Howell all turned in a clean sheet, as no defender was able to produce an interception. In fact, there weren't many, if any, batted passes, either.

  • The running backs, particularly McKissic and Jaret Pattersonhad a productive couple of hours. Wentz was more than happy to find McKissic underneath when the secondary took away the second and third levels, and Patterson has done a solid job of finding room on the ground for most of camp. Patterson's path to the roster might be obstructed by the addition of Brian Robinson Jr., but he's attempting to force his way on to the club.

  • During a special-teams period, Samuel, Brown, Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and receivers coach Drew Terrell circled up to compete in a game where they crouched low and tapped a ball around until someone dropped it. Upon the drop, that player would be eliminated and the circle would shrink by one. McLaurin ended up as the last man standing in the second contest (the first victor is a mystery and NBCSportsWashington.com apologizes for the oversight) and it was overall way more entertaining than it should've been.

  • Jamin Davis is playing aplenty next to Cole Holcomb but he's not really starring — or even really making his presence felt sporadically — that much. Linebacker remains a worrisome spot for this defense.

  • Kendall Fuller was very complimentary of Dotson in his post-practice podium session. Dotson hasn't excelled here as much as he did in OTAs and minicamp (the return of McLaurin is surely a partial reason why) but his attitude is unassailable.