We are now in Week 3 of training camp, and the Washington Commanders were back at the team facility for Day 11 of practice.
The third week of camp saw the return of a couple of players who have been held out from injuries: Dyami Brown and John Bates. Brown was a more active participant in practice, as he was involved in drills and hauled in a catch during team drills. Bates is getting "ramped up" and saw most of his action during individual drills, but Ron Rivera said after practice that he is happy with where the tight end is at, and the team will bring him along slowly.
The new week also ushered in the start of preparations for the preseason with the Commanders playing their first matchup against the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 13 at 1:05 p.m. Soon, we will have our first look at the unofficial depth chart, and players will get their first reps against another team for the first time in months.
Here are some of the observations from Monday's practice:
-- Carson Wentz had a strong opening to camp during seven-on-seven drills, as he only had two incompletions on six attempts during the period, both of which were to Terry McLaurin and broken up by Danny Johnson and Kendall Fuller. Jahan Dotson hauled in two passes near the right sideline, while Dax Milne brought in a deep pass to the right.
-- Steven Parker, a three-year veteran safety who saw action with three teams before signing with Washington on Sunday, was around the ball a lot during team drills. He nearly had two interceptions, both of which were around the same spot on the field. Parker has two interceptions and five pass breakups in his career. Most of the secondary is essentially set, but perhaps he can make a push to sneak onto the initial 53-man roster.
-- Curtis Samuel was back at practice for the second day after grabbing a touchdown at FedExField on Saturday. He was not targeted much, but he did have two catches near the sideline. Samuel's time on the field has been sporadic throughout camp, and he has not practiced for three consecutive days, but Rivera has said multiple times that this is part of the plan to make sure he is healthy and ready for Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
-- Jamin Davis addressed the media after practice and said that he feels "10 times more comfortable" heading into Year 2. Everything is happening slower, and he feels more like himself whenever he is on the field. The reps in the system have been valuable for him to build experience. Now, he can get where he is supposed to be at a quicker pace so he can make plays.
-- With the tight end depth still being thin, the Commanders have needed to dig deeper in their depth, giving more players an opportunity to earn a roster spot. One player who has emerged in recent practices has been Armani Rogers. He had four catches today, including one from Wentz to open the first team drill of the day. As to whether a player like Rogers can make the roster, it depends on when Logan Thomas is taken off the PUP list. If he is still unable to practice by the end of the month, there could be one open spot.
-- Linebacker Nate Gerry is another new addition to the defense that was signed on Sunday. There have been questions about the position's depth in camp, and Rivera said that adding Gerry brings an "extensive background" in coverage the group, and he can be an asset on special teams. Rivera added that the linebacker corps is "big and stout" for the most part, but Gerry provides a skill set that "could really run and make a contribution that way."
-- The Commanders had a visitor during practice: Sophie Mann, 6, who is nearly finished with her treatment for leukemia. "It was a pleasure to have the young lady out here and give her an opportunity to fulfill one of her Make A Wishes," Rivera said. "So, it was really cool."