The Washington Commanders continue to inch closer to their preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens, and the time for players to earn a roster spot shrinks by the day.
Ron Rivera and his staff have already started discussing how the final roster should look, but there is still some wiggle room at a few positions.
"Not everything is decided," Rivera said. "There are still some spots that we are looking at and how deep we can go at certain positions."
The preparation for Washington's final preseason game will be just like a regular game week in terms of practice structure. It will be an opportunity for the younger players to experience an early taste of the regular season. Most of the starters are not likely to play on Saturday, so the focus will be on getting the backups set for more snaps.
And in terms of how their performances will affect the final roster decisions, Rivera said it will have an impact.
"This is a very important game. It really is," Rivera said. "We're discussing at certain positions how many guys are we gonna keep? That'll be impacted by how some of these guys play."
Here are some observations from Tuesday's practice.
-- The biggest news of the day was that the Commanders will retire Hall of Fame quarterback Sonny Jurgensen's jersey during their Week 18 game against the Dallas Cowboys. It's a great honor, and Rivera opened his press conference by congratulating Jurgensen. "Sonny was a tremendous player for this organization and really brought a lot of happiness and joy to our fans."
-- We received another injury update from Wes Schweitzer, Andrew Norwell and some of the other offensive players who have missed time over the last week. Schweitzer, Norwell and Charles Leno were back in the starting lineup after skipping team drills yesterday. J.D. McKissic, who experienced some tightness in his groin late last week, also participated in seven-on-seven drills. There are no new updates on Cole Turner or John Bates, but Rivera said things have been positive for them.
-- Rivera said the offense should be fluid at this point in practice, and there were a few examples of that during red zone drills. Wentz threw two touchdown passes in the period: one to Jahan Dotson, and one to Terry McLaurin. The McLaurin score was the more impressive of the two; Wentz hit McLaurin in the corner of the end zone over Bobby McCain, and the wideout brought in the pass before tumbling out of bounds.
-- Curtis Samuel has been more active in the past week; he has not missed a practice in that span. That is still part of the plan for the wideout as the Commanders get him ready for the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team is still ramping him up, Rivera said, and everything he does is being monitored. He has gone through solid progress and been "very diligent" with everything he needs to do in his recovery.
-- Rivera has been able to observe Wentz since March, and the biggest thing he has noticed is how resilient the quarterback has been. Wentz pushes himself a lot, and that has been apparent to Rivera. Wentz is "very serious" about his craft, according to Rivera. He pushes himself, and that has been fun for the head coach to see.
-- It's already been brought up before, but Washington has a chance to break the Ravens' undefeated preseason streak. Rivera would love for his team to be the one to give the Ravens their first preseason loss in years, but that is not different from any other game. It is a neat stat, but Rivera is more focused on making sure his players are growing and getting better every week.