What to make of Warren Sapp’s presence at Commanders minicamp
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders weren’t graced by the presence of Terry McLaurin at organized team activities or mandatory minicamp, but they did get a surprise visit from Hall of Fame defensive lineman Warren Sapp during camp.
We’re all aware the Commanders’ defensive line fell well short of expectations last campaign. While most of that can be attributed to the injuries to Chase Young and Montez Sweat, the group didn’t perform up to snuff in the handful of games they were all healthy and in the starting lineup.
In a vacuum, Jonathan Allen was the only consistent perform of the unit and was deservingly voted to his first career Pro Bowl.
The returns of Young and Sweat will pay massive dividends, but Sapp preached communication during his Wednesday visit to Ashburn.
Decked out in Commanders gear and still showing a passionate love for the game, Sapp’s appearance during Day 2 of minicamp got fans talking about his potential interest in joining Ron Rivera’s coaching staff.
What should fans make of Warren Sapp’s presence at Commanders minicamp?
This speculation didn’t emerge out of the blue, as Sapp is close with assistant defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina, who sent out the invitation.
Additionally, Sapp played two years with general manager Martin Mayhew in Tampa Bay, where Sapp spent nine years. During that span, Sapp stacked his resume, including winning a Super Bowl, a Defensive Player of the Year award and being named a first-team All-Pro four straight years from 1999-2002.
Despite his ties to the Commanders’ coaching staff and front office, Sapp seems happy in retirement and isn’t eyeing a return to the NFL. A Orlando, FL native who starred for the Hurricanes at the University of Miami, Sapp is likely to remain in his hometown state for the foreseeable future.
Worth noting, too, that Sapp mentored the Buccaneers’ defensive line during organized team activities a few weeks back. It’s unclear if Sapp plans to coach up the Raiders’ DL this offseason (he played his final four years in Oakland), but there doesn’t appear to any interest from Sapp in coaching on a full-time basis.
Despite his brief stint in Ashburn, Sapp recognizes the potential of Washington’s defensive line. As a former defensive tackle who recorded 96.5 sacks and 21 forced fumbles in his career, Sapp took a shine to Allen and Payne. With Young and Sweat coming off the edge, Sapp loves the outlook of the Commanders’ front.
"“I love ’em. I love those two dudes,” Sapp said of Allen and Payne. “I mean, whoa, Jesus, they’re just thick. (They’re) bowling balls and butcher knives. Now, I’m just trying to get ’em out of that two-gap (mindset). Let’s go forward. Let’s build a camp in the backfield 3 yards deep. Penetration kills all run plays.”“You got these ends coming off with Chase and Sweat. Fellas, let’s set the stage, they’ll take him off (with a sack). I guarantee you. So, just work together as a unit. That’s all I’m trying to get ’em to understand.”"
Sapp might be departing Ashburn without a coaching gig, but the former seven-time Pro Bowler undoubtedly left Washington’s defensive line with wisdom that’ll hopefully stick with them for the remainder of their careers. The most important message? Play as a cohesive unit, because “no wolf eats by himself.”