Here are my observations of the second week of Training Camp for the team. This week included two days of full pads and actual hitting. In general, the offense had much better showings this week as compared to in Richmond. Also position battles are forming all over the roster and there will be some quality performers from last season who maybe on the outside looking in. That shows a deep young roster where quality competition is occurring all over. Here are my biggest takeaways.
Offense Had a Much Better Week
In Richmond the defense was dominating the offense. This week back in Ashburn the offense came to the party and looked more cohesive. Both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke have looked solid in getting the ball around to different receivers and the running backs look more explosive. The offense had plans of attack and executed them well. While the defense lost some defensive tackles which helped, the offense lost some lineman so it balanced out. If the offense can be consistent against this defense it will bode well in the regular season.
Vaccines are Going Up
Washington had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the NFL entering into camp. That number jumped to 60%, then 84% as of yesterday. With the expected 85%-90% level, the protocols are less restrictive and more like normal. Coach Rivera made an impassioned plea and it seems like the team responded. Hopefully players still remain safe so the team can remain at full strength.
The quarterback battle is realistically between two guys: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke. Kyle Allen has been injured and I don’t believe is fully recovered from his ankle injury. That leaves the other two and honestly it looks like the job is Fitzpatrick’s. Fitzpatrick is getting all of the reps with the first team offense and Heinicke with the second team. Fitzpatrick is the more experienced solid veteran and Heinicke is the more free wheeling playmaker. Going forward I see the team keeping those two on the roster and moving Allen to the PUP list to start the season.
Other Position Battles
The two most competitive roster battles are in the Wide Receiver and cornerback spots. The receiver battle will probably be the toughest to decide. Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuels, Dyami Brown are locks, but outside of that there are plenty of guys battling it out. I think all of the following guys can make the roster and an impact: Adam Humphries, Cam Sims, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Kelvin Harmon, Stephen Sims, DeAndre Carter, Tony Brown, and Dax Milne. I strongly believe the team will keep seven receivers and special teams will be the deciding factor in that battle. Mostly all of these guys will still be around with the expanded practice team.
With the cornerbacks the first four are locked in: William Jackson III, Kendall Fuller, Jimmy Moreland, and Benjamin St. Juste. If the team decides to keep five safeties, which is a big possibility, that leaves just one more open spot between Danny Johnson, Troy Apke, Cole Luke, and Darryl Roberts. Special teams means everything in those last spots so that has to be watched.