Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Training Camp Daily 8/25: Rookie Keith Ismael Is Showing Off His Versatility Along The Offensive Line

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

Training camp is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team prepares for the 2020 campaign.

Stay up to date with "Training Camp Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.

Also be sure to check out "Washington Football Live 2020" every weekday from 9 - 9:45 a.m. and "Virtual Happy Hour" from 2:30 - 3 p.m. Both shows will be streamed on all of the team's social media platforms.

Here's what you need to know:

The Washington Football team conducts training camp at the Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Virginia, on Aug. 25, 2020. (Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team)


Head coach Ron Rivera loves position flexibility. He's said it multiple times since being hired in January, and it's part of the reason why he's so keen on evaluating fifth-round pick Keith Ismael.

Ismael, who was a two-time Offensive Lineman of the Year at San Diego State, has spent most of his time during training camp at center with the second group of offensive linemen. But Tuesday's practice had a small twist in his favor; he was the starting left guard in 11-on-11 drills. Rivera said that if Ismael makes the 53-man roster, he has to be comfortable playing center and guard.

"And if he's game day active, he has to play more than one position," Rivera told reporters after practice. "We also have to see how he fits playing with the ones. ... That's how you can also develop young players and get them ready to play. They learn to play with the other guys around them, so that if they have to play, they're ready to go."

Rivera shouldn't have much to worry about when it comes to Ismael's flexibility because he spent time at left guard, right guard and center at San Diego State. He told Senior Vice President of Media And Content Julie Donaldson that he loves playing at all three interior positions.

"Every week has kind of been different," Ismael said. "Wherever Coach wants to see me at and test my ability. but I'm happy to play wherever. I'm happy to show my abilities and be helpful wherever they need me.

Ismael is learning a new system like the rest of the offense, but the fact that he has experience playing 60% of the positions on the offensive line certainly gives him an advantage. His philosophy on standing out to coaches that value that versatility is simple: work as hard as he can every day.

"Be tough out there, don't give in and fight. You just gotta fight every single day," he said. "They just want to see your effort. [I'm] just trying to strain through all the blocks, know my assignments, make sure I'm on and don't make mistakes. And come to work every day like a pro. I gotta be a professional. I gotta be a vet every single day."


-- Ron Rivera is impressed with Kamren Curl: Washington's secondary as a whole has been one of the more impressive groups throughout training camp, so it's not easy to stand out among the throng of talent. But that's exactly what seventh-round pick Kamren Curl has done so far. He has grabbed two interceptions in the past four days, and Rivera said he is learning from his mistakes.

"You haven't seen him make the same mistake," Rivera said. "He's hitting his landmark, he's doing what he's supposed to do. That's very good to see. ...He's playing with good vision, he's understanding the concepts of what we're trying to do. He's grown, and you appreciate that."

-- Chase Young admires Ryan Kerrigan's ability: Chase Young called nine-year veteran Ryan Kerrigan a "dude." That means he does everything right and handles his business on and off the field. Those are two of the many qualities Young admires about Kerrigan. Rivera said Kerrigan has taken Young under his wing lately, and he's been able to learn how to be a professional under his guidance.

"He definitely gives me little tips on things here and there about the [defense], just a whole rack of stuff that we talk about," Young said. "I've definitely picked up a lot of things from RK, but a lot of things really have to do with off the field in terms of...getting your body already stretched out and activated before practice and things like that. I did it myself, but it's even new stuff that helped me and that I added on to my routine."

-- Geron Christian Sr. thinks he has shown off his talent: Geron Christian Sr. has been the starting left tackle since reporters were allowed to watch practice, and he feels like he has played well. He emphasized working on his technique and aggression during the offseason as well as learning to play consistently. He knew the starting left tackle spot would be up for grabs this year, and so far, he thinks he has shown why he deserves it.

"My work effort, technique and everything has been pretty good," he said. "Obviously, there's stuff that I can clean up and that I need to work on. I'm not complacent with where I'm at right now, but I do feel like I've been improving and I've been showing the coaching staff and the players that I'm capable of doing it."

Check Out What's On


Related Content