ASHBURN, Va. - Going to be honest here, guys: Ron Rivera's summer practices don't look like that much fun.
Now, keep in mind that's a self-described lanky (and others-described skinny) blogger saying that and not an NFL player. For NFL players, who have chosen a life full of contact, they're probably enjoying Washington's training camp, at least to a certain extent and probably to a large extent.
Monday's session was a loud one, with tons of pops and a decent amount of collisions that you just aren't accustomed to watching at this point of the calendar. But this is how Rivera wants to do things, and it's resulting in some very entertaining moments.
Here's all that's worth knowing from the late-morning slugfest:
- Something magical happened early on in Monday's script, and that magical something was a drill that involved offensive linemen throwing passes to fellow offensive linemen. Here's a clip of Brandon Scherff making a smart audible at the line and lofting a gorgeous TD to recently-signed David Steinmetz. The chemistry they've been able to build in such a brief period is remarkable:
Brandon Scherff is out here making calls and dropping dimes pic.twitter.com/fooUnL8wOy— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) August 24, 2020
- At first, Chase Young acted like a guy who wasn't going to do much. He had his pads on but was inactive in about the first three-quarters of the team's work. Yet almost out of nowhere, he lined up at defensive end during some jumbo package reps at the one-yard line and made an instant impact. He swatted a Kyle Allen pass and followed that up by crashing through the right tackle and wrecking a handoff to Antonio Gibson. That was more damage than many D-ends cause in four quarters, and it was a relief to see him in the mix again.
- Folks, we finally had our first legit, WHOA touchdown. It began at the right arm of Dwayne Haskins and concluded in the outstretched arms of Terry McLaurin in a simulated two-minute drive. In all, the connection spanned 40 yards or so, and after the sprawling McLaurin completed the grab against Greg Stroman, he stood up and punted the ball like Tress Way's backup. That was one that had the entire offense feeling itself. Rivera was very proud of how Haskins managed that possession and then took a shot when he saw man-to-man press coverage. Here it is in full:
Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) August 24, 2020
- A handful of dinged-up guys - including Saahdiq Charles and Nate Orchard - were relegated to a lot of sideline bike riding (and were going really hard on those bikes, for what it's worth). Wes Schweitzer was out here for the first time since the media has been allowed to attend and was off on the side trying to stay in shape. Fabian Moreau didn't participate at all.
- Logan Thomas had a productive practice Sunday. He did not have nearly as much fun Monday. During a red zone portion, tight ends coach Pete Hoener slammed Thomas for not accelerating after a catch and yanked him out of the lineup. A handful of snaps later, he returned - and promptly got popped by Troy Apke and fumbled. That led to a vicious helmet slam that very well might've dented the 20-yard line. He still figures to be the starter, but Monday was a rough one. Apke, on the other hand, will love rewinding that clip on film.
Pete Hoener is first-team Coach you don't want mad at you— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 24, 2020
- Speaking of tight ends, at one point, their group saddled up near a trash can and showed some uncanny accuracy in shooting their water bottles into the receptacle. Hale Hentges found the bottom of the can from deep as did one of his teammates. The one guy who missed? Thomas. It just wasn't his morning (though he did somewhat redeem himself, as you'll soon read).
- Alex Smith had his best 9-on-9 of camp - and finished 1-of-3 passing. On his first snap, Smith zipped a ball right to Antonio Gandy-Golden, who flat-out dropped it. AGG has had some troubles with that in August. Next, Smith bailed from the pocket and sprinted right, where he eventually picked out Cam Sims for a score. It was maybe his best seven seconds of football in nearly two years. On his final play, Smith tried to dump it off to Trey Quinn, who couldn't hold on. Overall, he should be really pleased with how his reps unfolded, even if his receivers didn't do their part.
- Here are two more defensive highlights. The first-team offense tried to execute a quick screen to JD McKissic, but Cole Holcomb annihilated Dontrelle Inman, who was attempting to set up a block on the edge. Holcomb hit Inman so hard, Inman bounced back into McKissic. Then there was Montez Sweat slicing into the backfield and ruining a handoff to McLaurin. Sweat bodied up McLaurin and forced a fumble that the defense recovered. The offense has had a concerning amount of fumbles, but in that instance, it was also a phenomenal read by Sweat.
- Haskins' lighter body and increased speed was evident on one touchdown in which he started in shotgun near the goal line, booked it to his right and hit McLaurin in stride around the pylon. McLaurin appeared to have the angle for six. After that, Haskins got some serious dap from Morgan Moses. Much later on, meanwhile, he distributed the ball to Thomas and Jeremy Sprinkle for a pair of one-yard TDs. Overall, it was Haskins' most complete effort of open camp.
MORE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL NEWS
- Better effort: Review of 8/23
- Ron means business: His camp is physical
- Smith in the pocket: It can be nerve-racking