Important notes from first padded practice at Washington’s training camp

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 08: Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Football Team warms up before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 08, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 08: Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Football Team warms up before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 08, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The first padded practice of the Washington Football Team’s training camp is in the books. Here are some key notes from the session.

In an August devoid of NFL preseason action, training camp practices are going to be key for teams as they look to sort things out before the first week of the regular season. That will be especially true for the Washington Football Team as they look to implement a new system under Ron Rivera, Scott Turner, and Jack Del Rio and get the storied franchise out of a seasons-long rut.

On Tuesday, the team had their first padded practice of the season. The media was on hand for the event for the first time as well. As a result, fans were tipped off to some of what has been going on behind the scenes for the team over the course of the past few weeks.

Here are some of the key observations and notes from the first day of Washington’s camp.

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Some first team surprises. Washington is dealing with quite a few position battles this offseason, so the order which players are seeing the field is of note to fans and analysts alike. There weren’t a ton of surprises, but here are the players of note that were on the first team at positions that are up for grabs.

  • No. 2 Receiver: Dontrelle Inman
  • Tight End: Logan Thomas
  • Left Tackle: Geron Christian
  • Left Guard: Wes Martin
  • Linebacker: Kevin Pierre-Louis and Jon Bostic
  • Outside Cornerbacks: Ronald Darby and Jimmy Moreland
  • Free Safety: Troy Apke

Of this group, Christian and Apke are the most notable “starters”. While Rivera has praised both players during the offseason, it wasn’t known if the coach was trying to give them some confidence or if they were actually playing well. But with both being on the field early, that would seemingly bode well for their chances of making the team, at the very least.

That said, this is just one day of training camp. And per Washington’s Kyle Stackpole, Rivera basically told reporters not to read into the choices too much as “Very few positions are set in our mind right now.”

Related Story. How Geron Christian factors into Washington's left tackle battle. light

Dwayne Haskins has a solid day. Entering his second season, presumed top quarterback Dwayne Haskins was certainly a player to watch. After struggling for most of last season, he needs to make a leap if Washington is truly going to be competitive.

It looks like he’s on his way to doing that. As Stackpole noted on the team’s official website, Haskins was “mostly on time and on target” during passing drills.

"Aside from one overthrow over the middle, Haskins was mostly on time and on target with his throws. Perhaps his best pass of the day was to Terry McLaurin on a comeback route near the left sideline, when Haskins released the ball before McLaurin even turned around. Haskins also showed good rapport with Steven Sims Jr. after the two worked out at times this offseason."

That’s definitely a good sign and the fact that he’s utilizing McLaurin and Sims is great, as they are the team’s top two passing weapons. Of course, these throws are just coming in practice, but if Haskins continues to make “really good” decisions, as Rivera put it, he should have a chance to do well this season.

Chase Young looks good on Day 1. There was a lot of buzz about Chase Young coming into camp for obvious reasons, and the No. 2 overall pick didn’t disappoint in his first practice. He made a play that set social media ablaze when he powered through backup tackle Paul Adams with his pure strength.

Here’s a look at the play via the team’s Twitter account.

That’s obviously just one play in practice, but it’s a nice one and demonstrates the NFL-ready body that Young came into the league with.

Young wasn’t the only defensive lineman to look good on the day. Rivera was impressed with Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat as well, so it looks like that top-three edge group is going to be hard to stop.

Injury notes. Saahdiq Charles and Ryan Anderson weren’t on the field at practice on Tuesday. Per ESPN’s John Keim, the two players are dealing with minor injuries but Rivera is hoping that they’ll be back in a few days.

Charles’ absence will have an impact on the left tackle battle, as it will give Cornelius Lucas and Christian the upper hand at the position while he’s away. As for Anderson, he is likely to be a sub-package pass rusher/backup SAM linebacker, so his absence won’t mean much for position battles, unless the staff is considering trading him.

Elsewhere, NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay was keeping an eye on a few players coming off long-term injuries. Finlay said on Twitter that Alex Smith’s footwork “seems normal” and he also kept an eye on Reuben Foster and Bryce Love’s knees.

The fact that Foster is wearing a brace is no surprise, considering that his injury came with nerve damage. Meanwhile, Love not needing a brace is an excellent sign for him and should only continue to fuel the positive news coming out about him.

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We’ll soon see what happens tomorrow at Washington camp, but today’s developments surely have created some more questions as training camp trucks along and the NFL season draws nearer.