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Training Camp Daily 8/7: There Are Leaders, And Then There's Thomas Davis Sr. 


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 Training Camp Live 2020" every weekday from 9 - 9:45 a.m. and "Training Camp 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. 7, 2020


When linebackers coach Steve Russ was with the Denver Broncos in the late 1990s, he had the "privilege" of playing with Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Steve Atwater. And up until recently, Russ thought Atwater was the best player-leader he had ever been around.

Then he started working with Thomas Davis Sr..

"When I started coaching Thomas [in 2018], I said to myself, 'Wow, he's better than Steve,'" Russ told the local media via Zoom on Aug. 4. "And that's no knock on Steve; that's just how exceptional Thomas is as a leader."

Not only has Davis been exceptional statistically -- he's a three-time Pro Bowler and the NFL's leading tackler among active players -- but he also was a longtime captain in Carolina and won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2014.

Last season, he served as a captain for the Los Angeles Chargers, started every game and led the team with 112 total tackles -- as a 36-year-old.

"Everybody knows the career he's had, but just the man and the leadership that he brings is tremendous," Russ said. "You couldn't ask for a better example for some of those younger guys because nobody holds himself accountable as much as Thomas Davis.

"[He could say], 'You know, I'm old, I get a free pass, I've been in the league forever.' There are no corners [he cuts]. When he doesn't live up to the standard that he's set for himself, he'll be the first to tell you that. He can lead by word, he can lead by example. He's got a great presence to him."

In addition to helping out the linebackers room "tremendously," Russ said Davis will be able to promote the philosophies head coach Ron Rivera wants to instill.

After all, he played for Rivera in Carolina for eight seasons, so he knows exactly how Rivera likes to run an organization.

Now, Rivera and Davis will work together to build a similar "sustainable, winning culture" in Washington.

"He's going to be great in that role, and he's still playing at a good level, too, so it's fun to watch," Russ said. "I learn from Thomas every single day. I do. I always say, 'Check your ego at the door and it's amazing what you can learn.' I learn a lot from Thomas Davis. It's really, really fun to be a part of coaching him."


Washington's linebacker group is filled with players who "love football": Russ coached Luke Kuechly the past two seasons, and one of the things that made the seven-time Pro Bowler great was that he was a "football junkie." Russ believes he has a bunch of those players in Washington. "They love getting in there, studying and learning. It's 11 p.m., and I am getting a text message with a video on it saying, 'Hey coach, is this right?' I like where this group is going because I like their intent. I like their work ethic and how hungry they are. Having competition the way that we have it brings out the best in people."

Chase Young seems to fit in just fine with Washington's defensive line: Having been on the field with Young the past week, Matt Ioannidis said that he "fits in great" physically and mentally with the defensive line. Ioannidis added that he wants to lead by example first before starting to give Young advice. "I'm just trying to set a good example for him. He's a young, talented player, he's going to have a long, successful career, and I just want to give him his space and let him feel out the ropes for himself."

Morgan Moses believes Dwayne Haskins Jr. has done all the right things: Moses knows that Haskins has transformed his body and changed his approach. He sees Haskins as more of a leader in year two. Now, it's about proving he's the quarterback to lead Washington into this new era. "I definitely think he put the work in, but obviously, all the workout stuff is just workouts. When you get that defense in front of you and you get bullets flying, that's where you want to make your decision."

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