A morning roundup of content from the Washington Commanders on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.
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The Washington Commanders traveled to Baltimore for their two-day combined practice with the Baltimore Ravens. They cleaned up errors from preseason game 1 and focused on preparing for the next test.
The Commanders headed to Owings Mills, Maryland, for growth and competition. They came prepared to show what they've been working on throughout the offseason and even find where to improve before the team faces the Ravens.
The practices are set up for the success of both teams. However, they also push players to realize their weaknesses before an official first game day.
"Well, the biggest thing is we communicated early in the spring," said head coach Ron Rivera. "We put together a practice plan. We sent the copies back and forth to each other. Then we had the coordinator reach out to one another and talk about what they were looking for, what they needed to do, and we were able to put together a pretty good practice plan, I believe."
The Washington Commanders wrapped up camp with one final practice in front of the fans. Check out the best photos from Saturday morning.
After Washington's first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, they had a good idea of where the defense and offense needed to sharpen up -- cleaner routes, fewer blocking errors and limiting holding calls. The Commanders claimed a 17-15 victory, but despite an overall positive performance, there's still work to be done between things coaches picked up on the sideline and from what the players felt while on the field.
"It's a new opportunity and the plays that you didn't make, you have the opportunity to come out there and change the narrative tomorrow," said wide receiver Terry McLaurin. "And I think you just gotta have a next-play mentality but always be in a competitive spirit, competitive mindset because that's how the ebbs and flows of a game goes."
McLaurin zones in on the importance of the "next play mindset," which will be necessary for the Commanders in their season. In the past, a few bad plays for the Commanders could've set the tone for the rest of the game. But going into 2023 with a revised mindset is a powerful way to work together and set themselves up for more long-term success with more wins.
And Washington is a team ready for those wins. The players are shrouded by the hope of new ownership, new branding, and a newly official starting quarterback. The drive to win has led to some intense training camp days as they go head-to-head with their teammates, which is why these practice days against Baltimore held so much value.
"I love competing, man," McLaurin said. "And it's fun going against a different team, too. You go against each other for so long, you kind of get familiar with your teammates. They get familiar with what you do. When you come out here against another team, it's good to have a measuring stick of how you've made it up until this point in camp."
The Washington Commanders were back at the OrthoVirginia Training Center on Friday after taking a day off from their joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens. Here's a look at the best photos from Day 18 of camp.
Players enjoyed the ability to measure this play and see a similar game-like action before the season officially starts. Still, the competition boils over into an atmosphere for both teams.
"It gets a little chippy, and we can't take it personal," Rivera said. "This really is not about me against you. This is about us trying to develop and work together as teams."
Developing for both teams is essential at this stage in the season, and it's especially crucial for Sam Howell, who was named the starting quarterback Friday morning.
During the combined practices, Howell was focused on cutting down the clock when he had the ball and making some different decisions according to the release. He went into practice with these goals and came out having succeeded, and Rivera praised his decision making after each practice. He showed coaches what they needed to see enough to be named starter less than 48 hours after the practice concluded.
Aside from Howell, the rest of the players also got their fill of quality practice time with the Ravens, correcting blocking mistakes that left them vulnerable in Cleveland.
"They get a chance to learn a lot and see a lot," Rivera said. "It's a real big challenge on your defensive backs because these are a bunch of receivers that they don't know and vice versa for their guys as well."
These practices reinforced how important it is to minimize the margin of error produced by the defensive side, and it allowed the team to get these critical practice repetitions against a different team. The need to quickly evaluate skill and where the ball is going next are skills that will need to be with them going forward as they face less predictable opponents.
The Washington Commanders finished up their time in Owings Mills, Maryland, with their second practice and against the Ravens. Check out the best photos from Wednesday morning.
Check Out What's On Commanders.com:
- Sam Howell named Commanders starting quarterback
- Training camp notebook, Day 18 | Rivera confident in decision to name Howell Commanders' starter
- Training camp notebook, Day 19 | Dyami Brown believes there's 'no limit' to what Howell can accomplish
- 'He did the things he needed to do': Inside Rivera's decision to name Howell Commanders' starting QB
- Commanders sign DT Isaiah Mack, P Michael Palardy; release K Michael Badgley, WR Jalen Sample
- Training camp notebook, Day 16 | Commanders look sharp in first joint practice with Ravens
- Training camp notebook, Day 15 | Montez Sweat has 'great explosion, play speed and quickness'
- McLaurin's connection with Howell has 'definitely' taken step forward
- Young fans take center stage on Commanders’ Kids Day
- 'They're doing a heck of a job': Bieniemy pleased with steady improvement from O-Line
- Training camp notebook, Day 13 | Jack Del Rio wants defense to start fast, create more turnovers in 2023
- Commanders’ Salute Day delivers connection, dose of fun to members of the military community
- Joey Slye, Michael Badgley embracing kicker competition
- Training camp notebook, Day 12 | Bieniemy thinks 'the sky could be the limit' for Howell
- Training camp notebook, Day 11 | Commanders value versatility in backend of WR room
- Commanders release first 2023 unofficial depth chart
- Training camp notebook, Day 10 | Commanders begin prep for preseason opener
- Commanders sign CB Jace Whittaker, release G Keaton Sutherland
- Chris Rodriguez plans to stick to his identity
- Training camp notebook, Day 9 | Practice gets chippy to end Week 2
- Forbes sheds light on his 'good luck' chains