4 pleasant surprises from Week 2 of Commanders training camp
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders just wrapped their second week of training camp in Ashburn. The excitement in the air is tangible as players wore pads for the first time all offseason. The sound of hitting was refreshing to everyone in attendance, as was our first taste of one-on-one position battles (cornerbacks vs wide receivers and offensive linemen vs d-linemen).
For the most part, the Commanders’ veterans have set the tone for practices including Kendall Fuller — easily the team’s most impressive performer thus far — Montez Sweat, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. Even third-year players Cole Holcomb and Kam Curl have brought a contagious energy on defense.
While it’s refreshing that these players have embraced a leadership role, let’s step outside the box and highlight some pleasant surprises from Week 2 of camp. Last week, Dyami Brown and Curtis Hodges were the recipients.
This week, however, the tally grew to four players.
Pleasant surprises from Week 2 of Commanders training camp
The Commanders’ offensive line is currently banged up. With vet swing tackle Cornelius Lucas still on the non-football injury list, Trai Turner out of the lineup with a quad issue and veterans getting the occasional rest day, Charles has gotten plenty of starting action and he seems to have improved in pass-protection.
For context, Charles logged a 62.3 pass-blocking grade compared to a 79.2 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus last year. A fourth-round pick out of LSU in 2020, Charles seems to be aware this is a huge Year 3 for him. He’s handled his own against the Commanders’ pass-rushers and is positioning himself to get a spot start (or two) down the line if the team experiences injuries in the trenches.
Milne was the center of attention before camp for drama relating to former BYU teammate and Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. To his credit, the 2021 seventh-round pick has put the noise behind him and really stood at camp so far.
Regardless of the day, Milne has consistently gotten open for Carson Wentz. A few days ago, he pulled off back-to-back catches in team drills and hauled in another against offseason darling Benjamin St-Juste. On Tuesday, Milne made an impressive grab where he showed great strength to hold on following a big hit.
Milne faces competition to make the 53-man roster, but he’s done nothing to suggest he shouldn’t make the cut in the early goings. If he continues to make plays and sticks out in punt return drills, he’ll be on the team post-camp.