Training camp for the Washington Football Team has officially begun. Over the past few days, players have reported, been frequently tested and started on-field conditioning. There will be new coaches, players and safety protocols, making this year a unique experience for the team. Here are some statistics fans should keep in mind as they monitor training camp.
Head coach Ron Rivera has often touted Washington's young talent; it was one of the reasons he took the job in the first place. Now that the rookies and college free agents have officially been signed, there are 66 players on the roster age 26 or younger, which is 75% of the team.
Washington was one of the youngest teams in the NFL last year, according to Football Outsiders. According to the site's Snap-Weighted Age (SWA), which accounts for the ages of the players on the roster and the number of snaps they played in the regular season, Washington's average was 26, which ranked sixth-youngest in the league.
Washington is even younger this season, with an average age of 25.5.
The Washington Football team conducts training camp at the Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Virginia, on July 29, 2020.
Aug. 1 is meaningful for running back Bryce Love because it marks exactly 20 months since he tore his ACL in Stanford's 2018 season finale.
It has been a long journey for Love, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft but spent his entire rookie campaign rehabbing. But in speaking to the media Tuesday, Rivera said that Love passed his physical and will be out there once the team starts practice.
"The biggest thing is he's getting an opportunity to compete," Rivera said. "We'll get a chance to see him move around and see where he is. He's a guy that's got a good skillset."
Love was a versatile threat at Stanford, amassing 4,330 yards from scrimmage and 32 touchdowns. Rivera said it would be premature to say how Love is going to fit into the offensive scheme designed by Scott Turner, but Rivera also added that Love is "a threat in terms of running the ball and catching the ball out of the backfield."
Love said on "The Rundown" podcast in March that he planned on being ready for training camp. After 20 months of hard work, he has finally reached his goal.
Despite Washington's wealth of young players, there are five players reporting to camp who are at least 30 years old. Thomas Davis Sr., who is entering his 16th NFL season, is the oldest at 37 years old.
Davis, who was drafted by Carolina in 2005, has proven he can still be a productive player in the latter years of his career. All three of his Pro Bowls came after his 31st birthday, and he had 112 tackles with the Los Angeles Chargers last year while starting in all 16 games.
Although Davis is one of the oldest active players in the NFL, retirement has not been on his mind.
"Just go until you feel that you no longer want to do it anymore or that you no longer can do it anymore," Davis said in March. "...Now I'm trying to go into a new system and show that I can be productive in that and then we'll see what happens."
Rivera has highlighted several position battles this offseason, but few have gotten as much attention from fans as the competition to fill out the group of starting receivers. Excluding Terry McLaurin, who is the clear No. 1 receiver, there are nine receivers on the roster who will be trying to earn the remaining two spots.
There are already a few players considered favorites to land the position, starting with Steven Sims Jr., who ended the 2019 season as a starter and had 34 receptions for 310 yards and four touchdowns. McLaurin, who worked out with Sims for part of this offseason, said he feels Sims has made "one of the biggest jumps" this summer.
The other player who is a popular pick among fans is rookie Antonio Gandy-Golden. Gandy-Golden, who had 1,396 receiving yards in his final season at Liberty, is already known for his ability to haul in contested passes. Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze, who also coached NFL wideouts A.J. Brown and D.K Metcalf, said Gandy-Golden was one of the best receivers he had ever worked with.
"He has the D.K. size," Freeze said. "Speed-wise, he's not quite what D.K. is, but he's got the ball skills and the physicality."
The position has already seen its numbers decrease over the past month, as Kelvin Harmon was placed on the Non-Football Injury list with a torn ACL and Cody Latimer was placed on the Commissioner's Exempt list. On Tuesday, Rivera did not rule out signing another wide receiver for training camp.
"If there was a position that we are concerned with in terms of being able to bring more guys on, it's most certainly that position."
Rookies, quarterbacks and players returning from Injured Reserve arrived at the team facility for COVID-19 testing on Thursday, July 22, 2020.
Washington was one of the least active teams after the draft, signing just four college free agents: tight end Thaddeus Moss, quarterback Steven Montez and wide receivers Johnathon Johnson and Isaiah Wright.
Moss, who won a national championship at LSU in 2019, is the most notable of the bunch. In one season with the Tigers, he caught 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns. Vice President of Player Personnel Kyle Smith said it was a "no brainer" to contact Moss once the draft had concluded.
"He was a productive guy this year," Smith said. "He had a nice season, he has really nice hands and ball skills, he's a tough kid that competes in the run game so those qualities when you're signing priority free agents, you need to have two qualities that really stand out and those are it and that's what we base stuff off of and we're excited.
All four players, including Moss, will be fighting for roster spots this year during an unusual training camp. And since there will be no preseason games, they will have to stand out as much as possible in practice.