Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said it best during his Wednesday press conference: "We're back to football with real consequences."
"You really find out who's stepping up. That's what's exciting because you want to see where you are."
Training camp eventually felt like one long practice that lasted the entire month of August, but there is an undeniably different energy surrounding the team as it enters Week 1. It will culminate with a home matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 11, a game in which the Commanders are currently favored by 2.5 points.
Rivera admitted the Commanders don't know a lot about who they could be in 2022 because of injuries that have limited certain playmakers, but he sounds excited to find out.
"I'm fired up about who we can be," he said.
Things do seem to be aligning in Washington's favor with less than four days before kickoff. The team is trending towards getting all of their tight ends back healthy, and Rivera highlighted how pleased he is with the talent at guard.
The players are also amped for the season to finally begin, and it carried over into today's practice.
"I thought today's practice was very spirited, had a good tempo, a lot of sharp crispness already, something that we hope to carry on as we practice the next couple of days and get ready for Sunday."
Washington made several moves to prepare itself for a leap forward in 2022, and that includes bringing in a new quarterback and surrounding him with weapons. Sunday's game will offer the first real glimpse at how those moves will pay off.
"I think it gives us an opportunity to feel good about who we are and see where we gotta get better," Rivera said. "See how we can improve and go from there."
Here are some more notes from Wednesday's practice.
-- Kamren Curl (thumb) was not at practice today, as he had a doctor's appointment to evaluate the status of his injury. It is still too early to determine his game status, and his name will be one to watch for the rest of the week.
-- Brian Robinson is no longer using crutches and was seen in the locker room with a bandage wrapped around his right knee. The swelling in his knee has gone down, Rivera said, and he has been working with the team doctors through his recovery.
-- There is no word on whether Logan Thomas will be ready to go against the Jaguars, but Rivera did say that things are "so far, so good" for the tight end. He was a limited participant in practice and went through individual drills with his teammates. He also caught passes with the receivers and looked unbothered by the knee injury he suffered last season.
-- Curtis Samuel has continued his streak of practices dating back to training camp and said he feels much healthier than he did at any point last season. Samuel was not on the injury report and looked spry during individual drills. He added that he is starting to feel like himself again, which only means good things for the Commanders' offense.
-- Let's state the obvious: Brandon Scherff will be playing against the Commanders as a member of the Jaguars this weekend. Jonathan Allen, who will be matching up with Scherff more than most on Sunday, said his experience against the guard is not necessarily an advantage. They are both familiar with each other, so if anything, it evens out.
-- With the Jaguars being led by a new coaching staff, Rivera said that the team is looking at the film from Doug Pederson's time with the Eagles in addition to this year's preseason games. In terms of Trevor Lawrence, Rivera believes the 2021 No. 1 overall pick is "exactly what I thought he'd be. He's a guy with a tremendous skill set. He's got a tremendous arm, and he's a guy that's capable of making plays."
-- Carson Wentz said his chemistry with Terry McLaurin is in a good place ahead of Week 1. "I feel good with what he brings to the table," Wentz said, adding that the wideout makes his life a lot easier. He's looking forward to seeing that in a game scenario with the ball in his hands.
Check out the rest of today's injury report, HERE.