The Commanders opened Mini Camp today with two huge topics looming over the team: the Jack Del Rio saga and the non attendance of star receiver Terry McLaurin. The McLaurin issue is the immediate football concern while the Del Rio is the bigger PR concern. In the pre practice press conference Coach Rivera addressed both concerns. When asked about his decision about fining Del Rio, ” I went back and looked at the 1st amendment and the 2nd amendment. People should read what those actually say. I respect the 1st amendment and Jack and I spoke and that was the decision I made. He apologized to the team and we are moving forward.” On the Terry McLaurin non attendance, ” I wish he was here but we are focused on the guys that are here.” Rivera continued, ” both sides start at a place and hopefully you meet in the middle. We are close.”
Here are some of my observations of the first day.
- Carson Wentz is playing out like the team hopes so far. Strong arm, strong in the pocket, can push the ball down the field. They have done a good job surrounding him with what he has been successful with in the past. Taylor Heinicke still is inconsistent: good throws followed by a bad one. Sam Howell looks like a rookie and is processing a lot of information but has some ability. Cole Kelley has impressive height and arm but needs a lot of work. https://twitter.com/BlessdCommander/status/1536699963027202048
- A very underrated team group will be the Tight Ends. With Logan Thomas rehabbing, this group will be young but full of potential. John Bates played well last year as a rookie and has gotten stronger and a bit faster. The rookie Cole Turner has impressive size and a great set of hands and will an impact player. Antonio Gandy-Golden looks good as a tight end. All the players they have brought in are bigger guys, which helps Carson Wentz because he loves throwing to tight ends. https://twitter.com/BlessdCommander/status/1536695570978549761
- The running back corps look official. Gibson looks slimmer and healthier, McKissic looks 100%, Patterson looks more confident, and Robinson is a stud. This group is pretty versatile and should provide a potent rushing and receiving attack. https://twitter.com/BlessdCommander/status/1536699348112883718
- The secondary has a lot of versatility. Kendall Fuller and William Jackson are starting outside at corner with St. Juste playing the slot corner. Curl and McCain see to be the starting safeties with Curl playing the buffalo nickel spot and Derrick Forrest coming in. I also observed Troy Apke and Percy Butler getting reps with the starting defense at safety.
- The starting defense only uses two linebackers: Cole Holcomb and Jamin Davis with Holcomb taking over as the mike LB. Davis now playing on the outside gets to use his speed more.
- The new line looks pretty good and solid but still misses Chase Roullier. He will make a big difference when he returns. Wes Schweitzer took the first team reps at center.