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Training Camp Notebook: Ryan Fitzpatrick Building A Bond With His WRs

Ryan Fitzpatrick motions to one of his receivers during practice. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)
Ryan Fitzpatrick motions to one of his receivers during practice. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

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

Another day, another practice in the books as the Washington Football Team inches closer to its second preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Here are some observations from Tuesday's practice.

-- Jon Bostic hasn't received as much attention as the other two starting linebackers, but he had a nice play during goal line drills, when he rushed through a gap in the offensive line to put pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick. He didn't record a sack on the play, but he did speed up the quarterback's timing, so much so that Fitzpatrick missed on a throw to Logan Thomas. Aside from Bostic's performance, Rivera has praised how well he works with Jamin Davis and the other young linebackers by fostering a strong atmosphere at the position. Those are the kind of things Rivera wants to see from his veterans.

-- Jaret Patterson’s quickness showed itself again while working with Taylor Heinicke and the second offensive group. On one particular play, Patterson made a couple of jukes on a run up the middle and followed his blockers en route to a score. As Rivera mentioned last Friday, Patterson also got some work on kickoff return duties and looks solid reading his lanes. After practice, Rivera said Patterson has taken advantage of his opportunities, and after putting up 70 total yards against the Patriots, it looks like he'll be getting more.

-- Dax Milne is another player who has been getting more attention lately. The seventh-round pick has been working with the second group for the most part, but today he was given a handful of reps with the starting offense. Milne caught 2-of-4 targets for 16 yards against the Patriots and had one punt return for 19 yards. That production is starting to turn heads with Rivera saying he's ahead of where a lot of young players would be at this time. For someone who's fighting for a roster spot among Washington's talented receiver corps, Milne has put himself in a strong position in the last half of camp.

-- While Rivera would like Fitzpatrick to develop a bond with as many receivers as possible, he throws the ball particularly well to Thomas, Terry McLaurin and Adam Humphries. There's a lot of things that go into those relationships, some of which are hard to put into words, but it mostly hinges on repetitions and time. The result is that more difficult throws start to become second nature, which is what happened on Fitzpatrick's first throw against the Patriots, which resulted in a 22-yard gain from McLaurin. Not only did Fitzpatrick trust that McLaurin was going to be open in the spot where he threw the ball, but McLaurin also trusts his quarterback not to throw him into traffic.

-- One of Fitzpatrick's goals during training camp has been to establish a working relationship with Scott Turner. Doing so allows him to get a feel for how Turner calls games and how he approaches certain situations. Fitzpatrick wants to adapt to that style, but there are also some moments where Turner will do the same for his new signal-caller. There are some concepts that Washington didn't run as often last year that match Fitzpatrick's style, so those are incorporated more heavily into the game plan to help the veteran direct an offense that he called dynamic because of the amount of skill players.

-- After spending two weeks off the field recovering from a tweaked ankle, Kyle Allen will be playing in a game atmosphere for the first time since his injury against the Giants last season. The practices, Allen said, have been more useful with the timing of his throws, but there is some benefit to getting some in-game experience. It'll be an opportunity to test his ankle, but he also gets to go through the motions of preparing for another opponent and adjusting to a different defense. Those things will be important for Allen to evaluate as he returns to the rotation at quarterback.

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