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4 standouts from Week 2 of Commanders training camp

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The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team. 

Week 2 of the Washington Commanders' training camp is nearly complete. After a night practice at FedExField, the team will be on the precipice of preparing for the preseason, which begins against the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 13. 

This week, the pads were on as the Commanders entered the next phase of camp. There was much more contact, which gave coach Ron Rivera and his staff a better look at how to evaluate the roster.  

Here are four players who stood out through the increase in intensity.

Jonathan Allen

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Of course, a player like Jonathan Allen would step up when the pads come on. 

Allen has been exceptional all camp. He was disruptive in Week 1 of practice, but the expectation was that things would even out for the defensive front once the offensive linemen could provide a little more resistance in padded practices. 

Well, that didn't happen. If anything, the fact that players were in pads amplified Allen's dominance. Andrew Norwell got an up-close look at how much of a problem Allen can be during one-on-one pass-rush drills on Aug.2, as Allen won both matchups against the guard with a ferocious bull rush. 

Allen earned a Pro Bowl nod as one of the league's best interior defensive tackles in 2021, and he looks motivated to add another to his resume.

Cam Sims

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Cam Sims isn't the flashiest player on the Commanders' roster, but he doesn't need to be with how reliable he is. 

Sims got the chance to show how dependable he was during one-on-one drills pitting the wide receivers against the defensive backs. Sims made every catch during the drill on Tuesday and Wednesday, regardless of who he was matched up against. 

At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Sims is the biggest receiver on the roster. While there's plenty of speed at the position, Sims adds a different skill set by using his body to bring in more difficult throws. There were a handful of plays where Sims was lined up as a red zone target, so perhaps that's where he'll be able to excel in 2022.

Casey Toohill

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Who will be the top option at defensive end behind Montez Sweat while Chase Young recovers on the PUP list? That is arguably one of the most intriguing questions the Commanders need to answer before the season begins. 

Casey Toohill is trying to make the case that it should be him. 

After what Toohill did during Friday's practice, it's hard to argue with him. He got a tackle for a loss after running from the other side of the field to corral Antonio Gibson in the backfield. A few plays later, when a handoff slipped from Gibson's grasp, Toohill was there to snatch the ball and run in the opposite direction. Both plays ignited the defense during goal line drills, and the unit prevented the offense from scoring seven times from the 1-yard line. 

Toohill made the most of his chances in 2021 with 27 tackles in 16 games (six starts). If he continues to improve, he could get a few more chances in Year 3 of his career.

Brian Robinson

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There's no question about where Brian Robinson is on the depth chart; he'll be the complement to Gibson and J.D. McKissic as the third running back in the group. 

He's still been one of the bright spots for the offense, and he's been able to show out a bit more with the pads on. 

As Rivera put it at the start of camp, Robinson is a "big, strong, physical, downhill runner." That much has been on display with Charles Leno praising how patient he is letting lanes develop. But there are other aspects of Robinson's game that point to him being more than a downhill threat. He's flashed as a pass-catcher, and he's attacked the edge of the defense on outside run plays. 

The most recent example of that: he had a 15-yard gain after turning a corner down the left sideline during Friday's 11-on-11 drills. 

Rivera likes the matchup between Robinson and defensive, saying his size gives him an advantage. So, while Robinson will mostly be used between the tackles, his ability in space is nice wrinkle to his skill set.

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