The Washington Commanders are nearing the end of training camp, which means that roster decisions will need to be made soon.
The Commanders have already gotten through the first round of cuts, which is supposed to trim the roster from 90 to 85. They have released cornerback De'Vante Bausby and guard Deion Calhoun, and they placed Sammis Reyes and Alex Armah on Injured Reserve.
Ron Rivera said after practice that he and the staff have numbers in mind for how many players they want to keep at each position, but some spots will be more difficult than others.
"Tight end is going to be a tremendous discussion. Running back is going to be an unbelievable discussion. Is it gonna be nine, 10 or 11 DBs? That'll be another discussion."
Rivera also made the point that decisions at each position affect the rest of the roster. A decision at defensive back could impact the linebackers and vice versa. A player added at one spot means taking one away from another.
"We go through that exercise pretty often right now," Rivera said.
At the same time, practice continues to roll on. Here are some observations from Tuesday's practice.
-- The Commanders were back in pads today, and Curtis Samuel was among the players who dressed and participated in team drills. He opened the day with a catch outside the numbers, which set the tone for the rest of practice. The last two days have been a delight, Rivera said, and he brought up how the plan for Samuel's recovery is adaptable to how he feels. The staff has put plays in the script specifically for him, and Rivera was encouraged by how much Samuel was able to do.
-- There defense was the more dominant of the two units today, but the defensive line stood out at the beginning of practice for how energetic it was during 11-on-11 drills. They made a habit of getting in the backfield, disrupting the quarterbacks' timing and blowing up run plays. One of the best examples came from David Mayo and Khaleke Hudson, who stuffed Jonathan Williams for a loss.
-- The defense's impressive day continued into two-minute drills, where the unit shut down the starting offense. William Jackson III ended the series with a pick on Carson Wentz, who was targeting Terry McLaurin on the play.
-- McLaurin wasn't the only receiver to have a strong day. Jahan Dotson had back-to-back touchdowns during red zone drills, one of which was a sliding grab in the corner of the end zone.
-- There were a lot of reasons for the defense to be fired up today, but two interceptions from Jamin Davis and Danny Johnson created the most energy from the unit. Johnson's was a one-handed snag during red zone drills, and the corner back downfield all the way to the other end zone to celebrate. Davis' was an example of him being at the right place at the right time. After a collision between Dax Milne and a defensive back, the ball popped up in the air, allowing Davis to secure it.
-- Wentz has been outstanding so far, offensive coordinator Scott Turner said after practice. He can see the improvements on a daily basis, as he continues to develop a rapport with his receivers and becomes more comfortable in the system. Part of that is a credit to the communication that has existed between Wentz and Turner. The offensive coordinator was calling plays from the sideline during Saturday's game, and that helped each other get into a rhythm in terms of executing plays.