The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.
Washington was back in Ashburn Monday morning after taking Sunday off to begin Week 2 of training camp. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke continued to get most of the reps at quarterback in Day 5 of practice, and Ron Rivera said it was a good day from both signal-callers.
For Fitzpatrick, Rivera saw the 38-year-old start getting more comfortable running the offense. Fitzpatrick mentioned at his press conference on July 29 that the scheme was not the easiest to learn, although he's been able to get a better feel for it over the past few practices.
Heinicke has more or less picked up right where he left off, Rivera said. There is some inexperience, but Rivera loves his competitive attitude. It's a "never die" approach, and his teammates feed off his energy level.
Regardless of who was under center, the offense has continued to improve on getting in sync. Here are some other observations from Monday's practice.
-- Montez Sweat took some time to remind people that he's still one of the fastest players on the field with his 4.4 speed. It looked like J.D. McKissic was going to run away from the defensive end down the sideline after a dump off pass from Fitzpatrick, but Sweat used his 4.4 speed to hawk him down and give him a slight push out of bounds. When McKissic got up and jogged back to the huddle, Sweat said, "You know I had to tap you."
-- Dax Milne has done a great job at catching passes away from his body. During a particular team drill, Milne stretched out to his right and completed the pass before falling out of bounds. His BYU receivers coach Fesi Sitake has mentioned how the former walk-on has some reliable hands, and that has been apparent over the past couple practices.
-- There continue to be more and more examples of Chase Young supporting his offensive teammates. With Kyle Allen on the sideline today, Steven Montez received more reps during segments. As Montez called a play in the huddle, Young could be heard saying, "Let's go, big Steve." Montez finished the play by completing a pass to Kelvin Harmon, which caused Young to say, "That was a dart, six."
-- Players like Lamar Miller and DeAndre Carter continue to stack good practices together. Miller caught a pass during the second segment, and it looked like David Mayo was going to catch him. But Miller accelerated with the ball in his hands, turned upfield and ran down the sideline. Carter continued to impress during red zone drills by beating his man and catching a pristine pass from Heinicke.
-- It's clear that Fitzpatrick has a group of players that he targets more than others; that list includes Terry McLaurin, who made a leaping grab near the middle of the field near the end of practice, Logan Thomas and Adam Humphries. However, Fitzpatrick is willing to give any of his pass-catchers a chance to make a play. Temarrick Hemingway, who's coming back for his second season with the team, is one such player who has benefitted from how well Fitzpatrick has distributed the ball.
-- William Jackson III and McLaurin have squared off against each other a lot throughout camp. Jackson, who matched up against McLaurin while playing for the Bengals, said the third-year wideout has gotten "way better" at getting open at the line of scrimmage as well as his releases. It's also been fun working against McLaurin because the two will often exchange tips on how each other can improve as they compete.
-- Antonio Gandy-Golden had a couple of nice back-to-back completions in the second half of practice. The first came while working against Jackson; he got some separation at the last second on the left sideline before completing the pass. The next had a higher degree of difficulty while matching up against Benjamin St-Juste. The throw was heading out of bounds, but Gandy-Golden laid out and secured the pass.
-- In special teams news, Danny Johnson was added to the rotation of players catching punts. The original group included Milne, Steven Sims Jr., Isaiah Wright and DeAndre Carter. Special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor mentioned how he's looking for consistency and explosiveness from his returners, and Johnson was Washington's best option on kickoff return, averaging 22 yards on 26 kicks.