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Training camp notebook, Day 17 | DBs stand out in final practice with Ravens


The Washington Commanders are finished with their two joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens. Just as it was during Tuesday's session, there was tension between the two teams with multiple scuffles on both fields, but there was also plenty of quality work that was done throughout the morning. 

Let's take a look at some of the top observations from Day 17. 

-- It shouldn't come as a surprise to any Washington fan that both Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne can wreak havoc on an offense, and that was the case on the first play of 11-on-11 drills between the starting defense and Ravens' starting offense. Allen blew through the Baltimore offensive line to deliver a lick on Ravens running back, and Payne came in next to clean it up. 

-- Emmanuel Forbes had an up-and-down performance on the second day of working against the Ravens' receivers, but the rookie did manage to have a handful of positive plays. During the first team 11-on-11 drills of the day, Forbes lost a step on Odell Beckham Jr. down the right sideline but managed to close the separation and force a pass breakup. 

-- Chase Young was on the field in some capacity on Wednesday, as he participated in individual drills but not in any team periods. Young has missed time since the preseason game against the Browns with a stinger, so the fact that he was on the field doing some work was a positive. It was only about 15 minutes of activity, but Young looked quick and healthy during the period.

-- In some other positive injury news, Benjamin St-Juste was back on the field and dressed in full pads. He didn't look bothered by the calf injury that kept him out of practice the past few days, and he even recorded a pass breakup while working against Devin Duvernay in the middle of the field.

-- Some of the Commanders' backups stood out in seven-on-seven drills, showing once again just how strong the team's secondary has become this offseason. Danny Johnson was the first to record a pass breakup and on the next play, Tariq Castro-Fields was able to bat a pass away himself.

-- With roster decisions on the horizon for the Commanders, discussions around whether to keep players like seventh-round pick Andre Jones have ramped up. For Jones specifically, head coach Ron Rivera believes he has exceeded their expectations.

"Wow, he's a dynamic young man," Rivera said. "His talent and his abilities did flash, he's a guy we have to pay attention to."

Jones is far from a lock to make the roster, but there is still time and two more preseason games for Jones to improve his status.

-- In other roster news, it's also getting close to time for Rivera to officially name a starting quarterback. Sam Howell has taken almost all the reps with the first offense in camp, but Rivera declined to cement his status as the starter for Week 1. He intends to take his time, talk things over with his staff and watch more film before he decides on who will be under center against the Arizona Cardinals.

-- When Rivera does turn on the tape from the past two days, he should see a lot of positive plays. Rivera has praised the way Howell has handled himself against the Ravens, saying that he has made some solid decisions. Outside of needing to speed up his decision making at times, Rivera said that Howell has performed up to expectations.

-- As for how Howell feels about the competition, he intends to take things one day at a time.

"I think the main thing is I'm just more confident in the offense and I'm way more comfortable out there calling the plays, knowing what we're trying accomplish with the play that we're calling," Howell said. "I feel like I'm mentally in a good place with what [Eric Bieniemy] is trying to do."

-- John Bates was one of the Commanders' biggest standouts during the final 11-on-11 period of the day. He made three combined catches on passes from Howell and Jacoby Brissett, including a contested grab in the middle of the field.

-- Jonathan Williams doesn't get as much hype as some of the other running backs on the roster, but he has consistently proven that he can add value to the room. On one run play, he showed impressive burst and quickness as he exploded through a running lane on the right side of the offensive line for a decent gain.

-- Fullbacks are a bit of an antiquated position with only a handful of teams keeping one on the active roster. With that in mind, Alex Armah has shown how he can bring value to the team. He has been a solid blocker throughout camp, and he put that on display again during 11-on-11 drills by clearing a path for Brian Robinson to run almost untouched for a chunk of yardage.

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