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Training camp notebook, Day 7 | Commanders defense dominates in second day of pads

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The Washington Commanders wrapped up their first seven days of training camp with another full-padded practice. Let's take a look at some of the top observations from Day 7. 

-- Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s voice was one of the most dominant sounds during practice once again. Whether it's through telling his running backs to finish plays or yelling out the personnel group before plays, Bieniemy's presence was heard at all times by players and fans. There were also moments when Bieniemy was not pleased with how slowly the offensive players were moving between plays, and he made that clear to them. 

"Get them in the huddle," Bieniemy yelled after one play. "Enough with all the f-----' walking!" 

The fans certainly appreciated the energy and gave a few cheers to Bieniemy with one fan yelling, "Get'em, dawg!" 

-- Emmanuel Forbes has almost exclusively been used in coverage, but coaches found another way to use his 4.3 speed: blitzing the quarterback. Forbes came sprinting off the edge during the first 11-on-11 period of camp, forcing Sam Howell to miss a wide-open Terry McLaurin.

The Washington Commanders were in pads for the first day of training camp. Check out the top photos from Tuesday's practice. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)

-- Forbes had another solid day, showing why the Commanders were justified in taking him with their first-round pick. His length has been particularly useful, and that was the case during a 3-on-3 drill between receivers and defensive backs. Zion Bowens had Forbes beat deep down the right sideline, but the rookie cornerback used his 6-foot frame to make up the lost ground and bat the ball away from the undrafted rookie.

-- It was a mostly uneven day for Howell and the rest of the quarterbacks, but the day did start off well enough for Howell with completions to Brian Robinson, Curtis Samuel, Dax Milne and Antonio Gibson.

-- Chris Paul got all the reps at starting left guard today as Saahdiq Charles dealt with a calf injury that kept him out of team drills. Coach Ron Rivera said yesterday that the coaches wanted to get Paul, as well as some of the other backups, some time against the defensive starters. The 2022 seventh-round pick certainly got that today, and he managed to hold his own against the likes of Jonathan Allen.

-- The defense dominated for most of the day, and the players were riding a wave of energy throughout the morning. Montez Sweat was jawing at the offense as they dealt with some issues in the huddle, and Jamin Davis joined Cody Barton in a celebration after the defense stuffed a run play.

-- A couple of the Commanders' depth players had some standout plays on Wednesday. Christian Holmes grabbed his second pick of camp during 7-on-7 drills, and Jeremy Reaves got a pass breakup that got some applause from the fans. On the defensive line, James Smith-Williams blew up a run play for a TFL.

-- The defensive line has bottled up Washington's attempts at running the ball for most of camp, but the backs managed to work their way through the front for positive plays. Sixth-round pick Chris Rodriguez stood out at multiple points of practice and managed to run through the defense untouched for a gain of about 10 yards. Robinson also managed to power through the unit for similar yardage.

-- Newcomer Derrick Gore has already worked himself into the rotation and ran hard on the snaps he got during 11-on-11 periods. He powered through contact during red zone drills and finished the play in the end zone.

-- Referees were out at practice for the first time this offseason. Rivera wanted the players to view their presence as an opportunity to ask questions about what they look for on certain penalties and work on their techniques. The flags came out a few times on Wednesday, mostly for holding and false start issues. A touchdown from Dyami Brown was also nullified because of an illegal touching period. Brown made the catch, but he had stepped out of bounds on the play and was the first player to touch the ball.

-- A lot has been made about how well the defensive front works together, and there have been examples of that throughout camp. During one of the first 11-on-11 periods of the day, Daron Payne and Sweat executed a twist that resulted in both Sam Cosmi and Andrew Wylie getting knocked back near the quarterback. After the play was over, the two celebrated because of how well their move was executed.

-- Curtis Samuel hasn't been mentioned much this training camp period, but he has been active with a nice catch in traffic during 7-on-7 drills. Rivera also spoke about Samuel's fit in the offense and how his versatility can work in the scheme.

"I think it fits in very well. Go back and get an opportunity to look at the stuff that they did in Kansas City and look at how creative and inventive they have been over the years with the receivers that they've had. Everything from running the jet sweeps to going vertical to working underneath, and the coverages against the coverages. You know, it's about getting the ball into the hands as quick as possible in as much space as possible, allowing these guys to make plays."

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