Three Takeaways From Mini-Camp
The Washington Commanders wrapped up their last day of practices at the team’s 2022 mini-camp and will now move their focus forward to training camp on July 27th.
From the first day of mini-camp after Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera spoke to reporters to the last moment when it ended today one thing was obvious, this is a young team with tons of talent. So young they only have one player above 30, punter Tress Way. That of course is by design as Rivera has been infusing the roster with young talent ever since taking control of the football side of the team back in early 2020.
Washington’s Offense Is Much Improved
Despite being without offensive captain and team leader Terry McLaurin, the offense still showed major signs of improvement in only a few days over where they were just last season. First-year quarterback Carson Wentz and first-round draft pick Jahan Dotson continued to gel and get used to one another as their bond seems to grow with each pass.
Jahan Dotson coming at ya. pic.twitter.com/qqs31Qx6mv — Ben Standig (@BenStandig) June 16, 2022
Make no mistakes about it, that side of the ball needs to put more points on the board in 2022. Having a ‘big-arm’ quarterback under center should help in that process. It also helps that Wentz has second-year receiver Dyami Brown and the always dynamic when healthy Curtis Samuel, who Washington signed during free agency last season. We’ll find more out when training camp opens, but this unit showed enough improvement to be one of the team’s three takeaways from mini-camp.
Curtis Samuel was on the side field last week with soreness. He’s back today and is making smooth catches. pic.twitter.com/tmyYjpYeJ5 — Bijan Todd (@bijan_todd) June 14, 2022
The main questions for this side of the ball heading into training camp are; what happens at tight end while Logan Thomas finishes his recovery, and when will the front office get Terry McLaurin signed to a contract.
Safeties Look Primed For A Big Year
One area of concern for Washington last year was in their secondary. Although many stopped paying attention after getting the idea early on in the year that the unit wasn’t good, they did improve over the course of the season. The unit looks primed for a big year and deserves a nod as one of the team’s three takeaways from mini-camp.
Kamren Curl is set to explode onto the NFL scene this season at the strong safety position. He is by far the most underrated player on this team, and this offseason he’s becoming a more-vocal leader not only in the huddle but also in the locker room.
Ron Rivera is impressed with where Kam is in just his third year. His maturation comes at a time when the team needs someone to step forward and fill the void left after the team decided to part ways with Landon Collins.
“I think the guy that’s kinda starting to find his voice is Kam Curl. He’s played very well for us…[the group] is really coming together.”
Other than Curl, Jeremy Reaves seems to have impressed Rivera so far. Darrick Forrest also seems to be a guy who is in the mix along with rookie Percy Butler. Butler is a guy they like because of his speed among over talents he possesses. He continues to be a candidate for the ‘Buffalo Nickel’ position and will continue to do so as long as he can keep up with the playbook.
Officially Bobby McCain is listed by the team as a ‘DB’, his main role will likely be shifted between the slot and playing the third safety spot. The team has several players who they can miss and match in their three safety sets.
Defensive Line Still Looks Scary
Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start talking ’85 Bears defense or breaking single-season sack records, but let’s be honest here, this defensive line is something dreams are made of. Folks, there’s a reason a Hall of Fame defensive tackle like Warren Sapp comes to your practice and is excited. As long as they’re coached up the right way, there’s no way these guys won’t disrupt the overall flow of all offensive units.
More on Warren Sapp's day in Ashburn. Here the bucket hat wearing HOFer is overseeing the linemen ramming into things. pic.twitter.com/lW8OtikM2O — Ben Standig (@BenStandig) June 15, 2022
Defensive tackle Daron Payne showing up despite not having a long-term deal in place shows determination and his overall commitment. Payne in a contract year could be dangerous for opposing team’s offensive lineman and quarterbacks. While this unit has yet to put pads on, they look scary enough to be one of the team’s three takeaways from mini-camp.
If this defensive front can get everyone on the same page the sky is the limit.