The Washington Commanders have wrapped up another week of OTAs. Here are some observations from today's practice and each coordinator's press conferences with the media.
-- Jahan Dotson made a mistake but didn't take long to repent of his ways. During team drills, he had a pass bounce off his chest (it would have been a heavily contested catch, but he could have hauled it in). That earned some yelling from Eric Bieniemy after the play. "You gotta catch that!" Bieniemy barked from 30 yards away.
After that, Dotson didn't drop a pass for the rest of the day. He hauled in his targets and even got some yards after the catch. Not a bad way to make up for your mistakes.
-- A few other receivers who are around the bottom of the roster made some impressive catches today. Kyric McGowan, Zion Bowens and Mitchell Tinsley all made grabs that earned some praise from Bieniemy. John Bates was also a reliable target during red zone drills, securing a touchdown around the middle of the field.
-- We haven't spent much time discussing the linebackers, so here's a positive from Khaleke Hudson. The former Michigan Wolverine blew up a screen pass early in team drills, corralling Brian Robinson before he could gain any momentum. Hudson had a solid ending to the 2022 season, recording seven tackles in the season finale against the Cowboys. If Hudson is to take on a larger role this season, he will need to make more plays like that in training camp.
-- It was a good day for the secondary, as the group forced Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett to hold the ball for longer than intended and scramble to keep plays alive during 7-on-7 drills. They also secured two interceptions today, the last of which was from newcomer Terrell Burgess on a pass from Howell targeting Terry McLaurin to cap off the day.
-- Bieniemy was the first coordinator at the podium, and of course, he was asked about his impressions on Howell. It should not be a surprise that he was eager to praise the quarterback.
"Sam's a very competitive kid," Bieniemy said. "He understands some of the times when he's making mistakes, and the only thing he wants to know is what can he do to get better. More than anything, I'm enjoying just watching him work and how he handles the highs and the lows, because you're gonna have some of that over the course of working during the offseason."
Bieniemy also added that Howell is always steady.
"His demeanor does not change … and I will say this: he autocorrects himself as well."
-- Bieniemy vouched for Chris Rodriguez Jr. during the draft process because of his talent and knack for finding the end zone. The former Kentucky Wildcat is going through some growing pains like the rest of the rookies, but Bieniemy said he is doing everything he can to bring value to the roster.
"Chris is a hardworking kid. He takes a tremendous amount of pride in everything that he does. Right now, I think he's in a good place."
-- Jack Del Rio was ecstatic to have Emmanuel Forbes as part of the secondary, and so far, the former Mississippi State Bulldog has lived up to that excitement. He's held his own against the Commanders' top receivers and adapted well to the scheme. From what Del Rio has seen, Forbes has been a perfect fit.
"He's a tremendous football player. He's fast, he's got great ball skills. He's very bright, and he played against some of the best competition that you can in the SEC and held up week in, week out."
-- Jamin Davis has not been able to participate much in practice lately as he is recovering from cleanup surgery, but Del Rio did comment on what he saw from the linebacker last season. He noticed there were more splash plays from the former 2021 first-round pick, and the defense needs that trend to continue.
"We should expect him to be at his best," Del Rio said. "He's going to be challenged. I'm going to be honest with you … He's shown that he's going to be a valuable piece for us."