For Washington Commanders fans, the 2023 season is starting out as about more than just football. It's the mark of new ownership, talented draft picks and a boat of positive change.
Day 2 of the spring 2023 training camp has officially commenced, and fans line the stands, ready to mark the start of a new era.
"It was cool. It really was cool," said head coach Ron Rivera. "It really was. I think one of the things that the players talked about was when somebody made a play, you could hear the fans get excited about it
The reality of the next chapter in franchise history is becoming more real by the day. It could be the inflatable football helmet, the new merchandise store, or perhaps it was Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin at training camp. Either way, there's no doubt the fans' atmosphere is a vital part of the franchise's transformation.
Fans flocked to the team store and grabbed hats lined with "W," ready to vocalize their support for the ownership changes and the players. A new generation of fans walked down the isles with their eyes glazed over in excitement from seeing jerseys with "Howell" and "Fuller" printed on the back, wondering how they could ever decide which one.
This excitement serves as a reminder to generational fans of the promising future the Commanders have ahead. As the younger crowd members transform into forever fans, the team builds up the support they have going forward.
"Yeah, it was great to see the fans," Chase Young said. "It definitely lifted me a lot. I appreciate our fans. I know they're excited about new ownership and just the stands itself made it feel more like an NFL practice for real.
A strong base of new fans is only possible with supporters who have generationally stood by the team, no matter the changes. Adapting to the transitions of the Commanders is a sign of fans' loyalty. A significant presence in the stands on Day 2 of training camp indicates a season of growth for the fanbase. Everyone in the stands attentively focused on the offense, watching so they could cheer after every play and make their best estimates on the quarterback's next move.
Today in Ashburn, each pass from quarterback Sam Howell to wide receiver Terry McLaurin indicated a sign of on-field connection, something these players will carry into the season this fall. The ability to click on the field and feel a positive presence from the stands beside them makes this Commanders season so promising. The excitement on and off the field created excitement for a season of development.
Eyes couldn't help but draw to Howell. Fans are filled with questions about what he'll bring this season, though some felt assured in their decision to root for him after watching him go through drills.
In the stands is an across-the-board hope for the future. Fans aren't the only ones with faith in the new ownership, but the players share the same perspective. Starting cornerback Kendall Fuller boiled it down to Managing Partner Josh Harris's "humility," the ability to make it to the field, shake hands and make a presence known.
While the development of the sale has dominated focus over previous months, things are beginning to build momentum back into the game itself and feed off the significance of an impactful fanbase. As the rest of training camp continues and the team starts its regular season, the players will be able to feel the continued support from fans.
"t is definitely pretty cool to see all the support that we have, and we know that DC is kind of behind us now," said Jahan Dotson. "We're super excited for it."
Commitment from fans will continue to be an essential aspect of the Commanders' success, and if the first day of practice indicates the fans' readiness, it resembles hope.
A morning roundup of content from the Washington Commanders on Friday, July 27, 2023.
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Check Out What's On Commanders.com:
- Training camp notebook, Day 2 | Matchups with McLaurin create learning opportunities for Forbes
- Training camp notebook, Day 1 | Howell shows confidence under center in first practice
- Sam Howell believes he has 'total command' of Washington's offense
- Antonio Gibson looking to make the most of being Commanders' 'third-down back'
- Chase Young spent offseason with Buckeyes' D-Line coach Larry Johnson to 'fine tune' pass-rush
- Five takeaways from Josh Harris and the ownership group's introductory press conference
- 'Our work begins today': Josh Harris, new Commanders ownership group addressed the organization
- 'Dear Commanders fans...'
- Josh Harris, Mitch Rales and Earvin 'Magic' Johnson deliver powerful opening statements
- Commanders sign Emmanuel Forbes Jr., Quan Martin
- Josh Harris releases statement as Commanders' future Managing Partner
- McLaurin rated among top 10 receivers in Madden 24
- 2023 training camp preview | Cornerback
- NFL announces 2023 roster of medical students participating in league-wide ‘diversity in sports medicine pipeline initiative’
- Ragin Cajuns' OLB coach thinks Washington got a 'steal' in Andre Jones
- Jonathan Allen given 6th highest rating for DT in Madden 24
- 2023 training camp preview | Wide receiver
- 2023 training camp preview | Linebacker
- Joe Jacoby, Larry Brown among multiple Washington Legends named semifinalists for Hall of Fame Class of 2024
- The Ball Hawk, part 2 | Inside Emmanuel Forbes' 'elite' ball skills in high school
- One burning question about Washington's cornerbacks ahead of the 2023 season
- Ricky Stromberg was 'voice of reason' on Arkansas offensive line
- 2023 training camp preview | Tight ends
- The Ball Hawk, part 1 | Emmanuel Forbes grew up on competition, drive and sibling rivalries
- 2023 training camp preview | defensive line
- 2023 training camp preview | Running back
- 2023 training camp preview | Offensive line