4 critical observations from Commanders 2024 minicamp Day 1

There was a lot to unpack.
Terry McLaurin
Terry McLaurin / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders DL Johnny Newton's recovery

There is one notable absentee from on-field activities where the Washington Commanders are concerned. Defensive lineman Johnny Newton is recuperating from foot complications, which played a role in the Illinois product dropping out of the first round and into their laps at No. 36 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. While disappointing, those in power believe this won't have any long-term effects.

Newton is out of his walking boot according to a recent social media post. There is a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead, but head coach Dan Quinn revealed that the rookie is hitting all his targets en route to involvement in the not-too-distant future based on comments via Fan Nation.

"Johnny's had the procedure done on his foot. He's hitting all the markers that he's supposed to hit. He's able to do light working out and then we'll keep progressing all the way up until training camp. But no decisions been made yet in terms of the start of camp or not. So we'll take that kind of week-by-week as it's going, but he's hitting all the right markers."

Dan Quinn via Fan Nation

Hopefully, Newton can continue to progress effectively in the coming weeks and get the all-clear to participate at some stage. At the same time, the Commanders must err on the side of caution and bring him along gradually to avoid any unnecessary complications.

Newton will be eager to get onto the field and force his way into a core rotational spot behind Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. The potential to make an immediate impression is clear, especially from a pass-rushing standpoint. If everything checks out medically, expect Quinn and defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. to get him involved quickly within their creative schematic alignments.

It's a step-by-step process as Quinn acknowledged. But things are trending in the right direction for Newton after a frustrating start to his NFL journey.