Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Minicamp notebook | Dan Quinn tells players to stay prepared during offseason break

06122024 Mini Camp Wednesday Practice KC55125

That's a wrap on the Washington Commanders' OTA period. The next time we see the players will be in about six weeks when they reconvene at the team facility for the start of training camp.

Until then, the players will get almost two months to themselves. Some like to fill that time with extra training sessions; others like to get away from football for a while. No matter what they do, head coach Dan Quinn has a message for them: protect the team.

"They're away from this environment, where we're together just as often as we could be," Quinn said. "We've all read or heard stories in an offseason that trouble can be found. I just want to remember that we have one big rule, and that's protecting the team. That applies 24/7, whether you're here or elsewhere."

Games are not being won in June, but the Commanders have had as successful of an offseason as they could possibly have in Quinn's first few months leading the team. They had 100% attendance, got started on learning the offensive and defensive systems and saw improvement from No. 2 pick Jayden Daniels.

It's clear that the players have also bought into the new culture that Quinn has brought with him, from the team bag drills to the overall vibe of practice. It revolves around a collaborative effort from the players and coaches as they try to improve upon their 4-13 record from a year ago.

With the players taking a break before coming back to prepare for the season, Quinn wanted to give a reminder of how important this time off can be. That's why he had linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., who was part of three Super Bowl teams in his playing career, speak to them about the time between the end of minicamp and training camp.

"He talked about that love, that connection, that work," Quinn said. "He talked about being some hungry wolves, and knowing that's where you make the difference that you will not let one another down. I thought it was such a powerful statement by Ken, and you can always count on him for that."

That led to Quinn's second goal for his players; he wants them to do their part to stay ready during the time off. He wants his players to unwind a bit before embracing the grind that will be the 2024 season, but that can't come to the detriment of all the work they have done over the last two months.

"When you do come back, you can be counted on," Quinn said. "That was the big message, and that's why I thought it was so important with say, 'Man, protect this time like you're really putting it in.' Other people want what you have, so keep going for it."

Practice was light for the last day of work, but the team did go through some 11-on-11 drills for about 30 minutes. Let's look at some of the best moments from Thursday.

-- As has been the case for the past two days, Daniels took the starting reps during team drills with Marcus Mariota backing him up. Quinn said that was by design, as the team wanted to give both quarterbacks some starting snaps. We're still months away from a decision being made at quarterback, but Daniels has improved each day. His most impressive throws of the day went to Brian Robinson Jr., both resulting in touchdowns.

-- We got to see a little of Mariota as a runner on some read option plays -- an area of his skill set that is better than most quarterbacks. He did a good job of faking the handoff before sprinting out to his right and running for the end zone.

-- Several players caught touchdowns today, including Austin Ekeler, Brycen Tremayne and Terry McLaurin, but the best came from Davion Davis, who kept both feet in bounds despite having two defenders around him.

-- Tariq Castro-Fields nearly had an interception today on a pass from Jeff Driskel, who was targeting Dax Milne near the right sideline. Castro-Fields read the play perfectly but couldn't get his hands around it.

-- We'll end the minicamp series with some positive updates on Daniels' development, which will be the story of the Commanders' 2024 season. All evaluations this time of year should be taken with context, but it's difficult to not get excited about how Daniels will help the Commanders. Quinn said Daniels has a rare blend of confidence and humility. He executes the offense well and does a good job of communicating the play to his teammates. He hasn't been named the starter yet, but there has been "unbelievable progress" from him in terms of his leadership and growth. To Quinn, that means it will be a "really fun camp" in August.

"We wouldn't have given him those spaces and those times and those reps if he hadn't. But it was really clear that he's put in the work and he was ready to do that."

Related Content