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Practice Notes 8/23: Dwayne Haskins Finds His Rhythm 

Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team
Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team

After a lackluster practice Saturday led to a fiery, post-practice speech, Washington Football head coach Ron Rivera thought the team responded well during its second of three consecutive fully padded practices Sunday.

"I really do mean that, too. I was pleased with it," Rivera told reporters afterwards. "This was a tough one, too -- this was probably the hottest one we've had in pads -- and I thought the guys handled that very, very well. And all the way to the finish, I was very pleased with the way they handled themselves today.

"I think we're starting to understand and get a feel for what's needed and what's expected, and I thought they came through for the most part."

Here's what we learned from Sunday's practice:


-- Dwayne Haskins Jr. put forth one of his better performances since the team began fully-padded practices. During the first 11-on-11 session, he would have completed both of his passes if not for a drop from Marcus Baugh. Then, in 7-on-7 drills, he completed four of his six passes, including a strike to Terry McLaurin for a solid gain. He should have had another completion to Steven Sims Jr. on a 3rd-and-11, but Sims could not corral the slightly high throw.

-- Haskins and tight end Logan Thomas were in sync during Sunday's session. The two connected for a nice pickup during one of the team sessions and connected for two touchdowns during the red zone period. The first was a 20-yard pitch and catch in the middle of the field, and the second came on a 3rd-and-goal from the four-yard line. Thomas made the catch several yards into the end zone on the right side with cornerback Ronald Darby trailing.

-- Haskins and Terry McLaurin have had a solid rapport since the start of padded practices, and that continued Sunday. After catching passes from Haskins during individual drills, McLaurin was there for Haskins on several occasions during 7-on-7 drills and team periods.

-- Running back J.D. McKissic caught several passes from multiple quarterbacks Sunday. McKissic, who played wide receiver in college, is a solid route-runner who showed good speed and vision after the catch.

-- Rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden caught a deep ball during the 1-on-1 period and made a few catches during team drills throughout the morning.


-- Montez Sweat continues to impress. In addition to getting in the face of quarterbacks, the second-year defensive end beat his opponents on two rushing plays and would have tackled the running back for a loss.

-- The starting secondary remained the same Sunday, with cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby on the outside, Jimmy Moreland in the slot and Troy Apke and Landon Collins as the safeties. Fuller and Collins both broke up passes against McLaurin during 11-on-11 drills.

-- Darby has stood out on defense throughout training camp. The highlight of his performance Sunday came against McLaurin during 1-on-1 matchups. Darby won both of those battles, breaking up a pass in the middle of the field and then forcing McLaurin to the sideline and not giving Haskins anywhere to throw.

-- Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton has been flying to the football the past two days. As one of the starters in Washington's nickel defense, Hamilton was in position to make the tackle on several running plays and even broke up a pass. The third-year pro has also showed off his physicality, which at one point resulted in him taking a ball carrier to the ground. Rivera let Hamilton know that cannot happen in practice, but Rivera would love to see that same type of intensity on game days.

-- Greg Stroman corralled another interception Sunday, his third in as many practices. After intercepting Haskins and Kyle Allen during team drills on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, he jumped one of Alex Smith's passes during Sunday's 1-on-1 period. Out of all of Washington's reserves, Stroman has been one of the clear standouts.

-- For the second straight day, Chase Young was in uniform but did not participate in any 7-on-7 or team drills. Rivera said Wednesday that Young was dealing with a hip flexor. On Sunday, Rivera said the team "may be more cautious than they need to be" with Young because the season opener is still three weeks away. "We want to be smart with him, but we also have to make sure that mentally, he's where he needs to be."

-- With Young sidelined, Ryan Anderson started opposite Sweat for most of Sunday's practice with Ryan Kerrigan subbing in.

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