5 overlooked storylines to watch at Commanders 2024 training camp

There are storylines aplenty for fans to watch.
Dominique Hampton
Dominique Hampton / Tom Hauck/GettyImages
4 of 5

Commanders' return game situation

This competition is wide open. And the Washington Commanders are giving several players a shot at staking their respective claims to become the team's kick or punt returner next season.

Jamison Crowder was the punt returner in 2023 and was entirely adequate. Antonio Gibson and Byron Pringle, neither with the Commanders this time around, handled kickoff returns. The need for a fresh injection of energy is obvious and not going unnoticed by Dan Quinn's coaching staff.

Last year, Washington only had 24 kickoff returns on the season. This year, new rules are designed to increase that number.

The Commanders would probably like to find one player who can handle both kickoffs and punts. However, they could easily split the job up if necessary.

Crowder has not returned many kickoffs in his professional career but could get a tryout. His main competition at this point would seem to come from another veteran receiver with return experience - Damiere Byrd. It is hard to envision both players making the final roster, so it'll be interesting to watch things shake out during the team's training camp.

As with most positions on the roster, there are wild cards galore. Former undrafted free agent wide receiver Kazmeir Allen should be in the mix along with the veterans. In one of the biggest surprises of the summer thus far, the Commanders have had second-year cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr. field some kicks in practice.

Forbes has undisputed open-field talent, but his slender frame would have many fans holding their breath during the high-speed collisions common to both kickoff and punt returns. The Commanders invested too much in the former Mississippi State star to put him in harm's way like this. Or so you'd think.

Another twist could come from fellow defensive back A.J. Woods, who returned some kinks early in his career at Pittsburgh. He has excellent speed and was very productive when he had the ball in the open field at the collegiate level. Don't rule out the player catching the eye when camp commences.