3 key observations to start Week 2 of Commanders training camp
By Jerry Trotta
The second week of Washington Commanders training camp got underway Monday, which marked the final practice before players where pads on Tuesday. In other words, the intensity and overall physicality will increase ten fold … though it’s highly unlikely Ron Rivera allows his players to go full-tilt right away.
Any fans hoping for Washington’s offense to turn things around after the defense vastly outperformed them in Week 1 were let down in a big way. There were very little positives to take away from an offensive perspective, but the defense continued showing its poised for a big-time bounce-back in 2022.
Let’s highlight some key observations from Monday’s practice.
3 observations from Commanders latest training camp practice
First dose of “bad” Carson Wentz
Talk about a day to forget for the Commanders quarterback. While Wentz has been inconsistent throughout camp, which was to be expected given he’s learning a new offense, Monday was an absolute horror show for the 29-year-old.
When the dust settled, Wentz was picked three times and failed to notice Terry McLaurin had linebacker Jamin Davis on him in coverage before forcing an incompletion to Cole Turner, who’s been his preferred target in red zone drills.
Look, this is what training camp is for, right? Shake off the cobwebs from a long offseason. In Wentz’s case, though, he’s learning his third offense in as many seasons as well as the tendencies of a plethora of new pass-catchers.
That’s not to say he deserves an excuse for being carless with the ball, but fans should give him some time to settle in before they bash him.
Is the safety room quietly deep?
Long perceived as a position of weakness, Washington’s safety room has performed out of its collective skin at training camp. Of the five safeties on the depth chart, four of them — including Bobby McCain, Kam Curl, Percy Butler and Jeremy Reaves — recorded an interception during team drills Monday.
Darrick Forrest was the odd man out, but the second-year player out of Cincinnati has quietly had an impressive offseason and drew praise from DBs coach Chris Harris over the weekend after he blew up a pair of running plays.
The secondary, led by Kendall Fuller, who logged another INT Monday, is admittedly taking advantage of an offense that’s working to get in-sync, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely impressed by Washington’s safeties thus far.
Antonio Gibson returns/WRs struggle with drops
It was refreshing to see Gibson back on the field Monday. The third-year running back is recovering from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the final couple practices of minicamp. Entering a huge season, Gibson was involved in both 9-on-9s and 11-on-11s and linked up with Wentz for a short TD in red zone drills.
Elsewhere, the Commanders’ depth receivers had a tough time reeling in passes. The laundry list included Cam Sims, who’s had a rough start to camp, Marken Michel, who’s had a few drops himself, Dyami Brown and Kelvin Harmon, who was unable to haul in a fastball from rookie fifth-rounder Sam Howell.
What a brutal day for the offense, right? All three quarterbacks tossed an interception, and whenever they hit their receivers (sans McLaurin and Jahan Dotson) in stride, they couldn’t complete the play.
Time to regroup ahead of Tuesday’s session, because the defense isn’t going to back now that the pads are coming on.