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Training Camp Notebook | Carson Wentz scores two TDs in strong day for offense

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The Washington Commanders are around the halfway point of training camp, and while there were flashes of what the offense could be with Carson Wentz at the helm, there wasn't much consistency from the unit. 

That changed Tuesday morning. 

In what was certainly the best performance of camp for the offense, Wentz was on point throughout the day, dotting multiple receivers with accurate throws. The running game was also solid, as players like Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson broke loose for big gains. After practice, Ron Rivera said he has seen Wentz get more comfortable with the system and his weapons. 

"He's developing a little more rapport with the receivers and the tight ends and the backs," Rivera said. "I thought the timing between him and the receivers is getting better, and important." 

Here's a look at some of the observations from practice:

-- First, the biggest news of the day came after practice. Rivera opened his press conference by announcing that Sam Mills III has been relieved of his duties as the Commanders' defensive line coach and will be replaced by Jeff Zgonina. A former player with 17 years of on-field experience, Zgonina has been the Commanders assistant defensive line coach since 2020 and is dedicated to helping the defensive line improve. He's earned the trust of Jonathan Allen, who said that Zgonina has taught him what it takes to be successful in the NFL.

-- Now, back to practice. While the passing game was the clear star from the day, it was the running game that actually got things started. Rivera said being in full pads allowed the offensive line to perform more effectively, and that was clear during the first team drill, as the running backs had several open lanes. Sam Cosmi sealed off Will Bradley-King, which allowed Robinson to slip into the second level. Jaret Patterson also delivered a shot to newcomer Steven Parker before sprinting into the secondary.

-- The seven-on-seven period was the moment where Wentz began to shine. The veteran quarterback completed all six of his passes, including a leaping grab by Dax Milne and a sideline shot to Terry McLaurin, who made the fingertip grab before falling out of bounds. Wentz's timing with his wideouts, which was a question that he addressed after Washington's practice at FedExField, was the best it has looked all camp. Granted, it did come during a drill in which pass-rushing is nonexistent, but it's a good sign that the offense is heading in the right direction.

-- A couple players trying to earn a roster spot continued to make standout plays on Tuesday. Milne, who got some work with the starting offense, caught a touchdown pass from Wentz during two-minute drills. Tight end Armani Rogers also had a touchdown today; he hauled in a catch during goal line drills, marking the third practice in which he has made a highlight play.

-- Speaking of tight ends, Curtis Hodges had a nice block against Kendall Fuller during goal line drills, allowing Wentz to roll into the end zone for a touchdown. Hodges has already shown that he can be a reliable pass-catcher, but he'll need to prove that he can block if he hopes to make the roster. Plays like the one he had today are a good start.

-- Here are a couple defensive highlights from the day: Jeremy Reaves ended the second offensive group's two-minute drill with an interception on Taylor Heinicke. Later, during goal line drills, the defense performed much better closed the running lanes that were so open earlier in the day. On one play, Robinson was knocked backwards for a tackle for a loss.

-- Benjamin St-Juste spoke to the media after practice about his new role, which involves him playing closer to the middle of the field. He knew he was going to be moved around based on how things unfolded last season. He's still learning about how to feel comfortable playing nickel, but his versatility gives plenty of evidence that he can handle himself.

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