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Training Camp Notebook | Defense shines on Day 2

07272022 Training Camp EF071

It's normally difficult to proclaim a "winner" of practice, but it was clear which unit was outperforming the other during Day 2 of the Washington Commanders' training camp. 

From the time team drills started to the moment practice concluded, the defense had the offense's number. Players were harassing quarterbacks in the backfield, and defensive backs allowed little, if any progress from receivers. 

So, without further ado, let's go through some of those highlights.

-- Kendall Fuller was the star of the defensive backs today and blew up several plays. He snuffed out a screen pass to Curtis Samuel before it even began to develop, and he has multiple pass breakups. One of the most memorable came against Dyami Brown, who had the pass from Carson Wentz secured before Fuller popped it out for Cole Holcomb to scoop up for an interception. 

-- Fuller's play set the tone for the rest of the day, and several players followed his lead. Jamin Davis nearly had an interception of his own, breaking on a pass and dropping it before stepping out of bounds. Christian Holmes also had a pass breakup on the next play.

-- Speaking of Holmes, Bobby McCain mentioned the seventh-round rookie as someone who has stepped up. He had two pass breakups today, carrying over the solid performance he had during OTAs. Holmes faces a tough challenge to make the roster among the rest of the Commanders' talented defensive backs, but he's making a case why he deserves one of those spots.

-- While Fuller was shutting plays down in the secondary, Montez Sweat was making life difficult for Wentz. He often found his way into the backfield, and on play, when Armani Rogers was supposed to block him, he managed to get past the tight end with ease. After the play was over, he yelled at the offense, "Do not put a tight end on me!"

-- A couple of the backup defensive ends also had exceptional plays. Shaka Toney breezed past Chris Paul during 9-on-9 drills and got to Sam Howell for what would have been a sack. William Bradley-King grabbed an interception near the end of practice and returned it for a touchdown. So far, the players have risen to challenge from Ron Rivera for the depth at defensive line to step up.

-- While the defense got the better of the offense on most occasions, there were some bright spots from the other side of the ball. Dax Milne has made several grabs in the first two days of practice with two coming on Wednesday. There's still plenty of time for all the receivers at the bottom of the position to stand out, but Milne has been a reliable target for quarterbacks.

-- Samuel has mentioned that he feels more like himself now that the injuries that plagued him last season are behind him. He got the chance to show that during a team session, when he put a backwards juke on Benjamin St-Juste before getting past the cornerback and sprinting upfield. For all those wondering about Samuel's health, that move should be enough to put their minds at ease.

-- We got a glimpse of Wentz's arm strength on back-to-back plays in one of the final team sessions, first targeting Jahan Dotson for a decent gain down the left sideline with the rookie making the grab over his shoulder. The next one came to Terry McLaurin, but the veteran wideout couldn't haul it in.

-- In a couple of roster moves after practice, Rivera announced that Antonio Gandy-Golden has announced his retirement from the NFL to focus on his education at the University of Liberty. Washington also activated center Chase Roullier off the Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning he could be on the practice field as early as tomorrow. Roullier is one of the most experienced offensive linemen on the roster, so his return will be a welcome sight for his position group and offense as a whole.