The Washington Commanders have wrapped up the final week of Phase 3, meaning next up is mandatory minicamp, followed by a six-week break before training camp.
This week, several coaches and players addressed the media after Wednesday's OTA, including head coach Ron Rivera, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and quarterback Carson Wentz. Here's a look at the top quotes from their press conferences.
On his impressions of QB Carson Wentz thus far:
I really like his command of our offense. When you listen to him in the huddle, you listen to him talk to his teammates about certain aspects of the play. He gets it and seeing him getting his teammates lined up and communicating is I think a real positive for us. I know it gives me confidence, but when he is in the huddle calling the plays the way he does, I know his teammates can feel the confidence.
On growth from Darrick Forrest:
"I've seen a tremendous amount of growth. I really have. And he has done a lot of nice things that tip pass was kind of emblematic of the way he has come on throughout OTAs and mini-camp. And he is also one of the other guys that I've had to speak to about being a little overly anxious. But you don't wanna take that away from him because that's why he's making those plays because he's doing those things. And you see it, you see it, especially on special teams, he's stepping up as one of the leaders for that group of guys as well. So there there's a lot of positives that are coming out of this."
On QB Carson Wentz maturing at this stage of his career:
"You know, one of the things that's interesting is how hard he is on himself and you do kind of see it, because he does mumble a little bit talk to himself. And one time I heard him say something, I thought he was saying something to me, but he was just talking out loud to himself. So sometimes when something really good happens, I kind of watch him and see his, his facial expression. And sometimes when something bad happens, you know, I turn and watch and just kind of see how he reacts to all of that."
On what he has seen from the Tight End group so far:
It's been kind of cool to see those guys really kind of come together. I mean, they're all young, that's probably the biggest thing. And watching them get opportunities, get a lot of reps is going really well for us. It's a very diverse group, I think [TE] John Bates right now has done a heck of a job and all those young guys seem to be following his lead. And it's kind of interesting because you know, I see [TE] Logan [Thomas] wants to go over there, but he's got to come over here and work with the trainers and the strength conditioning guys. But you know, it is all a matter of time before we get him back out on the field too.
Jack Del Rio
On starting faster as a defense:
"Well, we hope to be better, right. It's clearly, it starts with a commitment to being here and working and being able to get on the same page, make sure the communication is good. I think that kind of gives you a great start, a great foundation. So right now we're getting a lot of great work in. There are guys that are developing, I would single out [CB] Benjamin St-Juste. He is really having a terrific offseason and I'm excited about what he's doing in there. He's getting a lot of reps at nickel, and he's played well there. I think that's a real positive. So it's development. This time of year, you can develop and gain a great understanding of how we all fit together and defensively, that's what it's all about. Kind of knowing where you need to go and everybody being accountable and getting there, playing with some attitude."
On the progression CB Benjamin St-Juste has made:
"Just the work he's putting in, the attention to detail, the understanding, picking up a new position. We played him outside primarily last year. He's been able to move inside and we're just looking to get our best people on the field, give 'em all a chance to compete. I think when you look at the work, the body of work that he's had this off season has been very productive for us and very productive for him."
On if Percy Butler and Darrick Forrest are Buffalo Nickle Options:
"I don't know. The Buffalo Nickel maybe takes on life of its own. I don't know that it needs to. I think that was more Landon [Collins] really didn't want to ever be considered anything but a true safety. And he played the nickel. It's kinda like a linebacker, but it's okay. I get it. We're gonna do the best we can with the guys we have and make sure that we have the ability to match what offenses want to do and help take that away."
On his favorite targets thus far:
"You know, it's hard to say all those things. I think we have a, a unique group the way we use our running backs out of the back field, those guys bring a different dynamic, tight ends as well. Receivers, we got a lot of speed, a lot of weapons. It's been fun. Getting even the young guys involved, the, the guys we drafted Jahan [Dotson], Cole [Turner], Brian Robinson [Jr.], getting all those guys in the mix, kind of halfway through this offseason. It's been a lot of fun to just see different personalities and really, we'll start to see that in training camp, once the pads go on and they can get press man to man coverage, all those fun things. Everybody looks really good right now and the pads will come on and that'll really kind of start to separate guys. I think we got a good bunch of the skillset guys."
On his impression of Jahan Dotson:
"Yeah, he's awesome. He's a quiet kid, young kid, but he's a hard worker. He's a hard worker. He's smart, he's instinctual. He catches the football as natural as anybody I've been around, just how natural he plucks it outta the air. I got a lot of high expectations for him just as a rookie to just continue to keep growing, learning and understanding the bigger picture of this game. I think he's doing a really good job of where he is at right now. And like you said, definitely the last couple weeks kind of started to develop a little chemistry. Hopefully we can keep building on that come next week. And then in training camp."
On if it felt like he had one of the best years of his career in terms of deep balls last year:
"I guess it did feel like that maybe to some extent. Last year was last year, completely different offense, not everything. Obviously, we had [Colts RB] Jonathan Taylor who was as dynamic of a running back as there is. And so anytime you have a guy like that, the ability to stretch it down the field, definitely opens up some things. So, I'd say that's probably a big part of it."