ASHBURN, Va. -- On July 26, fans came in droves to welcome the Commanders into training camp shortly after . Three-and-a-half weeks later, they packed the stands again for Sam Howell and his teammates to send the team off at the 19th and final day of training camp.
Afterbut joint practices against Baltimore on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Commanders had the day off Thursday, went through an unpadded practice Friday and wrapped things up with a lengthy shells-and-shorts practice Saturday ahead of Monday's game against Baltimore.
Here are some takeaways from Saturday's session:
Commanders unimpressed by Ravens' streak, ready to end it
Baltimore enters Monday night having won 24 consecutive preseason games, which is an NFL "record." But Commanders players ranged between being unimpressed and being ready to end that streak.
"I think it's a stupid record," said right guard Sam Cosmi. "I mean, who gives a shit about preseason games? I mean, if we beat it, great. We're gonna beat it, so there you go."
Wide receiver Dyami Brown said that the streak matters "not at all" to him.
"We just want to go out there and show what we can do," Brown said. "We still have a lot of guys that can go out there, do some things, improve themselves, even myself, but I think we just want to take this game. We always want to come out with a win, but at the end of the day, we just want to show what we can do."
Rivera said discussions about who will play and how much they'll play against Baltimore will take place tonight. He added that particular focus in this game and the preseason finale against Cincinnati will go towards the young offensive linemen, of which there are plenty.
"Nicks" mounting on both sides of the ball
Ron Rivera wouldn't go as far as to call them injuries, but there is a significant list of "nicks" impacting Washington's practices. Among the non-participants Saturday was two-time Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, who is dealing with plantar fasciitis. "Nothing serious right there," noted Rivera.
Elsewhere defensively, cornerback Kendall Fuller and defensive tackle Phidarian Mathis were also not in attendance. It was Fuller's second consecutive absence, and Mathis has been either absent or limited ever since suffering a calf injury in the preseason opener against Cleveland. Defensive end Chase Young, who suffered a stinger in the Browns game, did individual drills but once again did not participate in team drills. Cornerback Danny Johnson, who during a fight in joint practices, was present but did not participate.
With those various bumps and bruises, Efe Obada slid inside to tackle and Casey Toohill played end on the Commanders' first-team defensive line alongside Daron Payne and Montez Sweat. Rachad Wildgoose played slot cornerback, with Benjamin St.-Juste and Emmanuel Forbes on the outside.
On offense, right tackle Andrew Wylie returned after missing Friday's session, when Trent Scott took his place. Rivera said Wylie got kicked in the calf and the team wanted to be careful. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. worked in individual and group portions but not in team drills; Cornelius Lucas took his spot there. Saahdiq Charles took part in team drills again, an encouraging sign as he battles Chris Paul for the left guard job.
Logan Thomas remains out with his calf issue.
"The biggest thing with Logan's going to be more about conditioning than anything else," Rivera said. "He's been doing what he can as far as trying to keep himself conditioned. He's been working in the weight room with the strength conditioning guys as well. He's sharp. He's already up to speed on what we're doing offensively. And then once we get him back on the field it'll be about getting his timing with the rest of the guys on the offense, especially with the quarterback too."
Top plays and key moments
Without full pads, there weren't huge, overarching takeaways, but there were some notable moments:
- In one 11-on-11 session, the offense received the ball on its side of the field with 40 seconds and two timeouts. Howell completed a medium-depth pass over the middle to Terry McLaurin, followed by a timeout. On the next play, Howell likely would have been sacked or thrown the ball away with Obada pressuring, but with no contact on quarterbacks, Howell extended and hit McLaurin down the left sideline. Another timeout.
- In the red zone, things bogged down, though, and on 4th-and-goal with one second left, Forbes broke up a pass intended for McLaurin.
- With the second team, Jacoby Brissett made a nice throw to Mitchell Tinsley near the sideline. Tinsley tapped in two feet before going out of bounds. Brissett then threw a laser up the seam to John Bates, hitting a tiny window between the linebacker and the safety for a touchdown, for one of his most impressive throws of camp. The offense celebrated accordingly.
- In later red-zone work, Howell had some ups and downs. The biggest up was a nice extension of the play to his right before finding Brian Robinson Jr. in the end zone. He also ended the session with a quick throw to McLaurin for a score. On the play before that, though, St.-Juste deflected a pass, and Forbes came away with an interception.
- For the third team, Brycen Tremayne had a really good touchdown catch near the sideline after he worked back to the ball from Jake Fromm.
- In seven-on-seven action, Eric Bieniemy made his voice heard with both criticism and compliments. One example was him telling Cole Turner, "Make the catch! Make the Play!" after a drop. But a few plays later, Bieniemy shouted, "Nice, nice!" after Turner's diving catch.
- Reserve defensive back DaMarcus Fields had the defensive highlight of the day, stepping in front of a short Fromm pass and walking in for a pick-six. This time, it was the defense's turn to celebrate.