The Washington Commanders have wrapped Day 9 of training camp. Next up? An open practice for fans at FedEx Field Saturday, where hitting will transpire, so that’s something to look forward to heading into the weekend.
A prevailing theme of camp thus far has been the defense outperforming the offense by a significant margin. While the tide turned after players repped pads for the first time Tuesday, the norm returned during Friday’s session.
To sum up the offense’s struggles, the defense strung together seven straight stops from the one-yard line (!). That’s right. The Commanders failed to manufacture one yard of offense on seven consecutive plays with the defense pinned.
Unfortunately, the wasn’t the most alarming development from the practice. We hate to send fans into the weekend on a sour note, but these occurrences were far too distressing to ignore given these player’s histories.
2 alarming takeaways from Day 9 of Commanders training camp
Antonio Gibson fumbled twice
Gibson spent the start of training camp on the sidelines “ramping up” following a hamstring injury that cost him the end of minicamp. As quickly as fans were encouraged by his return to the field, however, the third-year running back gave them a reason to be weary of his outlook for the upcoming season.
According to ESPN’s John Keim, Gibson coughed up the football two times during team drills. We’re all aware of Gibson’s penchant for putting the ball on the ground and the 24-year-old was hard at work this offseason to improve his ball security after he led all RBs with six fumbles (four lost) last campaign.
Perhaps Gibson and Carson Wentz (more on him in a minute) are experiencing growing pains in terms of handoff chemistry, but the former third-round pick isn’t going to get the benefit of the doubt after his fumble-marred 2021.
On a positive note, Gibson looked spry and accounted for two touchdowns Friday. Unfortunately for him, though, the fumbles will overshadow his visits to the end zone and you can understand why given his history with the cardinal sin.
“Bad” Carson Wentz returns
“Bad” Wentz made an (unwelcome) appearance Monday when the newly-minted Commanders quarterback was intercepted three times. While Wentz has since bounced back by taking better care of the football, he had a moment during team drills that encapsulated why he’s on his third team in as many seasons.
As Matthew Paras of The Washington Times described, Montez Sweat was chasing a scrambling Wentz from behind and yelled “Get rid of it (the football)! Get rid of it!” before Wentz ultimately ran out of bounds for presumably lost yardage.
This isn’t what any Commanders fan wants to hear.
If you’ve followed Wentz’s career before 2022, you know the former second overall pick has a propensity for playing hero ball; not knowing when to take a sack, throw the ball away or simply live to fight another down. This plagued Wentz in Philly and Indianapolis and is arguably his biggest flaw as a quarterback.
You have to think Sweat knows this (why else would he yell that) and it’s pretty concerning he was pleading the QB to throw the ball away.
Entering his seventh year, Wentz clearly doesn’t know when (or simply doesn’t want to) cut his losses on a broken play, so fans better brace themselves for the occasional maddening turnover this year because it’s rare something good happens when a middling QB tries making chicken salad out of you know what.