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OTA Notebook | Forbes shines with another offseason INT

05242023 OTAs KC30231

The Washington Commanders were back on the field for the second practice of OTAs, but before the team could take the field and begin warmups, head coach Ron Rivera had to deliver some unfortunate news. 

Tight end Armani Rogers, who the team had high hopes for in his second season, suffered a non-contact Achilles injury that will keep him sidelined for the foreseeable future. There is no timetable for his return. 

"It is a little bit of a blow, and it's unfortunate," Rivera said. "He did it running. He's a young man that really progressed very well for us last year, but we feel very confident in the group of tight ends that we have right now as well. But it is a big loss as far as the young man's concerned." 

Rogers, an undrafted free agent out of UNLV, had an impressive training camp in 2022 but did not receive much playing time as a rookie, partly because of an injury that kept him out of six games. He still showed promise in his limited reps, and there was a belief that he would take a step forward in 2023.

Washington does have the benefit of possessing four other tight ends on the roster, including Logan Thomas, who is feeling healthy again, along with John Bates, 2022 draft pick Cole Turner and Curtis Hodges. With Rogers now focused on recovery, it will be time for those young options to step up.

"I'll tell you the group as a whole does look good, and we've got some good young players that need to ascend now," Rivera said. "We had a nice trio or nice group of guys. Unfortunately, like I said, it was just a freak thing, and it was just crazy. It's very unfortunate. [Rogers] is a heck of a young man, but he'll be back."

Here are some more observations from the afternoon.

-- Quarterback Sam Howell came out strong in the first day of OTAs, delivering precise throws and moving well in the pocket. Today was a bit more uneven -- a sign that Howell is still developing -- but there were still some positive moments. He completed 5-of-6 passes in the final team drill of the day, including two touchdowns to Antonio Gibson and Jonathan Williams.

-- There were several teachable moments for Howell throughout the day. During red zone 7-on-7 drills, he threw an interception to Percy Butler, who did a somersault at the end of the play. Howell did not try to chase after Butler, and Eric Bieniemy quickly called him out for it, saying, "You threw it, you go get it!"

-- Whether it's a veteran or a rookie, Bieniemy has high standards for his players. Such was the case when Thomas was working with Brissett during 7-on-7 drills. Thomas had his hands on a pass before it was batted away by a defensive back, and as Thomas jogged back to the huddle, Bieniemy yelled from across the field, "You gotta make that, Logan!"

-- Once again, Jartavius Martin was all over the field today and got reps with the starters. Granted, May is the time for teams to try out different combinations in the lineup, so let's not look for too much meaning into who is on the field with which players. However, it is a positive sign that the team trusts Martin enough already to put him out there with the starters.

-- Emmanuel Forbes grabbed his second interception of the offseason. This time, it was while working against Marcus Kemp with Jake Fromm as the quarterback. Washington drafted Forbes with the explicit desire to create more turnovers. So far, he's delivering on that.

-- Another solid defensive play came from linebacker Milo Eifler. Turner almost had a touchdown in the corner of the end zone, but right before he could secure the pass, Eifler batted the ball away to force the incompletion.

-- Kazmeir Allen continues to look solid through OTAs with multiple targets and catches. It will be interesting to see if he can keep that production during training camp. Here's what Rivera had to say about the former UCLA Bruin before practice began.

"He's a young man that most certainly has gotten our attention and he's a young guy that we went out and tried to make sure we were able to recruit and bring him in as a free agent."

-- One last thing on Howell: Rivera was complementary of Howell's development, saying that "you can really see the improvement in those details.

"He's got a great sense and feel for what Coach [Eric] Bieniemy wants and in fact all the quarterbacks too. I think having Jacoby [Brissett] out here pushing him and working with him at the same time has been a really good thing because you do see his growth."

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