ASHBURN, Va. - Guess what, readers (and hopefully there's a lot of you): The Washington Football Team took the fields for practice here, the media had the chance to watch and now you - yes, YOU - get to read about it.
Ain't that something?
Tuesday marked the first open session of training camp at the organization's facility, and things simultaneously felt quite different and quite the same.
On the different side? Oh, well, the coach is new, the name of the squad is new, Alex Smith is involved again, Chase Young is in the picture, Bruce Allen is gone, and, cool, you get it.
Yet on the same side, there was music during stretching, some hitting, some individual drills, a bunch of team drills and plenty to observe.
So, let's get it on. Here is your first set of 2020 training camp notes:
- The main focus Tuesday, just like it always has been and always will be, was quarterback. And while Dwayne Haskins will receive plenty of coverage, Alex Smith is who stood out the most. The fact that sentence exists is notable on its own, and the way he looked was notable, too - because he looked so normal. Of course, Smith sat out of the 11-on-11 work, but when he was dropping back alongside the other passers and participating in 7-on-7, he fit in seamlessly. He has some rust to shake off when it comes to his accuracy, but in terms of his physical shape, it was basically impossible to tell that he is trying to come back from a traumatic injury. He's such a beast.
- Haskins, meanwhile, was the clear-cut No. 1 QB in all phases. He got first reps each time a new segment of practice began and his voice boomed as he was calling out snap counts, something Morgan Moses spoke to recently. His 11-on-11 stats can be found further below, but overall, he experienced strong moments as well as a stretch of incompletions. Nothing to be concerned about yet, though. Kyle Allen, on the other hand, didn't have many memorable moments.
- Chase Young did this at one point, and while no one will confuse No. 79 Paul Adams with Trent Williams, it's still frightening to see one adult do that to another adult:
- Ron Rivera wants his players to practice with more tempo, and that was relatively evident on Tuesday. There was a nice level of energy throughout - it was also their first day in pads, which is basically an NFLer's version of summer Christmas - and there wasn't a whole lot of messing around or slow transitions from one portion to another. Rivera is many things, but one thing he definitely is is in control.
- Antonio Gibson is going to be one of the more intriguing guys to track while reporters are here, largely due to all of the positions he can line up at and all of the responsibilities the staff will be giving him. On one snap of 7-on-7, he motioned improperly, which caused Smith to kill the play and bring everyone back into the huddle. That was the negative side of his development. There were plenty of positives as well, however, such as a catch he made in one early swing pass drill with the QBs. The ex-Memphis wideout went down low to pick a throw off the grass, which prompted RBs coach Randy Jordan to scream, "Way to dig it out!" Gibson's number (24) and his build (thick, with a lot of Cs) suggests he's someone who should be taking carries in the backfield, but he's got serious receiving skills as well.
- Here's something NBC Sports Washington's Washington Football Insider (and apparently Brace Beat Guy) JP Finlay picked up on:
- Ronald Darby was really active today at corner. The ex-Eagle got his hands on a lot of passes and was really sticky in his coverage. Of course, it remains to be seen whether that's because he's in top form or because Washington's wideouts aren't the most intimidating unit. Regardless, Darby showed out.
11-on-11 QB stat tracker (data approximate and definitely not official)
- Haskins: 6/14 passing, with the highlight being a nice 18-ish yarder to Terry McLaurin, who found a spot to sit down between a few DBs.
- Allen: 6/8 passing, with many of them checkdowns. Did smoothly roll out and fire a dart to Antonio Gandy-Golden for a first down, but he also was stripped at one point and did a lot of scrambling, which isn't what's supposed to happen at camp.
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