You are a Washington Football Team fan who wants to consume coverage of the Washington Football Team's training camp, right?
Perfect. You've found the right place to do so in NBCSportsWashington.com. For the next few weeks of open practices that allow for media attendance, this website will be cranking out football stories like Adam Sandler cranks out incredibly risky parlays in Uncut Gems.
However, since you didn't get any OTAs or minicamps this offseason, you may be a bit rusty when it comes to reading those blogs.
So, as you're doing so, - that is much appreciated, by the way - remember the following four truths. As long as you keep them in mind, you'll strike the ideal balance of fired up yet still informed.
1) Keep the early overreactions to a minimum
Because it's been so long since Washington took the field and the action on that field was reported on, you're probably quite hungry for any and all news. But don't let that hunger lead to any overreactions, at least early on.
In Tuesday's practice, for example, the defense featured a lot of Troy Apke working with the first-stringers, Daron Payne rotating in with the second wave and Kevin Pierre-Louis playing over Reuben Foster.
Those are three surprising lineup decisions, right? Sure, but as Ron Rivera explained afterwards, those are far from an indicator of what's to come in Week 1.
"Tomorrow you might see a different group of players on the left side of our offensive line. You might see a different combination of safeties in the secondary. You're definitely going to see a different combination group of linebackers, that's for sure," Rivera said. "We're going to continue to try to experiment. We've got a little bit of time, so we can go through a few more practices where we try to figure out who exactly is our best combination of players on the field at a time."
This truth goes beyond who's starting and who's backing up, though. If you read a tweet about Dwayne Haskins overthrowing an open receiver, don't quote tweet it along with a take like, "SEE, THIS IS WHY HE SHOULD'VE BEEN THROWING MORE TO STEVEN SIMS INSTEAD OF ANTONIO BROWN." Give everyone some time to settle in before making any grand proclamations.
2) 1-on-1 drills can be deceiving
This is a very critical one, and one that is often forgotten by even the most experienced camp followers.
At some point, you're going to come across a video of Jonathan Allen exploding through Brandon Scherff in O-line vs. D-line 1-on-1s. You'll then be tempted to conclude that Scherff isn't worth extending beyond the 2020 season. You might even posit that Keith Ismael should get some right guard snaps.
That's when it's going to be necessary to recall that any drills pitting one player against another, while very exciting, aren't always the most fair to judge off of. In the above hypothetical, maybe Scherff would've had some assistance from Chase Roullier, or maybe the quarterback would've already gotten rid of the ball, or maybe Allen committed a hands to the face penalty that would've been whistled.
Now, if someone is repeatedly getting owned on their own, that's when it'll be worth taking into account. But one seven-second clip on Instagram of one particular matchup isn't going to be the most accurate depiction of what's happening in Ashburn.
3) Some positions are especially hard to monitor
A pretty throw from a QB is simple to identify no matter the setting. A receiver needs to catch the ball to call it a successful rep. However, not every position is as easy to grade in camp as those.
Running back, for instance, is one where nearly everyone looks capable. Why? Because there isn't much to-the-ground-tackling going on in August. A few years ago, you would've thought Samaje Perine was Barry Sanders But Heavier because he could juke through the line and then thump past a linebacker. Well, he didn't exactly pan out.
Safety, meanwhile, is another wait-and-see spot for many of the same reasons. Since they aren't tackling, it's tough to assess the angles they're taking and how well they're holding up as the last line of the defense.
The contributors will show themselves no matter what, while the scrubs will, too. Just don't forget that those processes all unfold at various speeds at the various positions.
4) Despite rules 1, 2 and 3, still let it rip when you want
For the most part, it's useful to follow the previous advice. But at this time of the year - and in this year specifically - it's sometimes fine to COMPLETELY ignore it and get crazy. This is a game, after all, and a much-needed one in a lot of ways.
That means if you want to unleash a rant on why Antonio Gibson will make Scott Turner forget about Christian McCaffrey because he showed some burst on a 11-yard carry, go for it. No one can stop you. They may shame you, but they can't stop you.
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