A football-only recap of what transpired at Commanders minicamp


Here are Pete Hailey's observations from the past three days of watching the Washington Commanders at their mandatory minicamp. And guess what? It's all about football. Like, real, actual football...


  • Antonio Gibson and Curtis Samuel were both (mercifully) back in action after they each missed last week's final round of OTAs. Though Gibson might have been held back a tad — Brian Robinson Jr. saw a lot of work with the starters — he was a part of the mix after recently pulling a hamstring, while Samuel didn't seem all that bothered by the general soreness that was an issue a week ago. For this offense to be successful in 2022, those two need to play in the majority of Washington's contests.
  • Jeremy Reaves was all over the place in the secondary, and at one point, someone from the sidelines yelled that he is the "PBU king," referring to his penchant for pass breakups. Reaves, who was at the center of a Ron Rivera OTAs tirade for playing too recklessly and nearly injuring Dyami Brown, was more under control on Tuesday — yet still plenty involved. He had a diving deflection on a Taylor Heinicke rollout and jarred another ball loose after Antonio Gandy-Golden initially secured it. Perhaps Reaves' best highlight, however, came when he was strolling back toward the facility when the practice had concluded. The last time he did so, he had to review his run-in with Brown. This time, no such breakdown was required. "I kept it clean today!" he said to reporters.
  • Following a fake handoff, Cole Turner corralled a short pass on a throwback screen in 11-on-11s and rumbled onward for a massive gain. The fifth-round tight end isn't the most graceful runner — no one will mistake him for Jordan Reed, for instance — but it was an impressive sequence regardless and showed he can be an effective option outside of the red zone as well as inside of it. 

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  • A very subtle strength of Kendall Fuller's game is diagnosing quick hitters to wide receivers and breaking them up, which is something he accomplished once more on Tuesday. Alex Erickson was the intended target on the play and was supposed to get the ball immediately after the snap, but Fuller realized what was coming, wiggled around the traffic that was developing on the edge and prevented a completion. He'll do that on a couple of occasions in 2022 and it's a testament to his intelligence and preparedness at corner.
  • Undrafted linebacker Tre Walker intercepted Sam Howell on what was more of an unfortunate read by Howell than an outstanding one by Walker. Even so, there is room on that section of the depth chart for someone to sneak on the 53-man roster, so Walker ought to feel good about forcing the turnover.
  • Logan Thomas, who is such a solid dude, had his first presser of the offseason and provided updates on his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered versus the Raiders in December. Thomas wouldn't delve into whether he thought the block that led to his injury was a dirty one but indicated that many on Washington weren't pleased with it. The veteran was rather open on his rehab and his excitement about how the Commanders' offense is shaping up: 



  • Welp. Curtis Samuel was inactive on Wednesday after his aforementioned Tuesday return. Ron Rivera wasn't asked specifically about Samuel but did mention in his presser that he's aiming to be careful with a couple of veterans as this chapter of the NFL calendar nears its expiration. Hopefully that was why Samuel was helmet-less. Dax Milne was also on the side field, and Chase Young was spotted pulling sleds and jogging around over there, too. 
  • Antonio Gandy-Golden is absolutely popping more at tight end than he ever did on the outside. Now, that's not saying much of anything, but AGG had what was probably the snag of the day on Wednesday for a touchdown over Kam Curl and held on to another lower pass later on. Rivera also shouted out Gandy-Golden's blocking technique while acknowledging that the technique must lead to results when the pads come on in late July. Maybe this experiment will pay dividends.
  • After clawing onto the roster last year, Jaret Patterson might be aced out this time around due to the arrival of Brian Robinson Jr. Patterson isn't going down without a fight, though, and on Wednesday, he contributed as a last-resort receiver on a handful of 11-on-11 reps. He wasn't doing an exact imitation of JD McKissic, but it wasn't a bad attempt, as he displayed reliable hands and post-catch agility. 
  • Carson Wentz and Jahan Dotson would be able to find one another in a basement with no power, but Wentz's chemistry with other options is still shaky. Cam Sims, Dyami Brown and the rest of the supplementary first-teamers don't appear to have much of a feel for Wentz and vice versa. Not having Terry McLaurin or Logan Thomas in the huddle is a factor in that, of course, and come training camp, others (ought to) emerge. So far, Dotson is Wentz's clear-cut favorite.

  • Marken Michel, who was a practice player for Washington for almost all of 2021, has made a decent case to be the last wideout for the Commanders if they want to keep six of them. McLaurin, Samuel, Dotson, Brown will all be a part of the crew, and Milne is more likely to be than not. In the race for sixth place, Michel might be creating some separation — just like he's doing against the defense, including one instance on Wednesday when he made an intermediate reception versus the starting unit in a two-minute situation.
  • Chase Roullier expressed optimism that he'll be able to play, at least to some extent, when things restart at the end of next month. Roullier fractured his fibula against the Broncos just before the bye in 2021 and, as he said, has faced difficulties since. Between him and new members Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner, the interior offensive line is going to have gelling to do in the preseason: 


  • It's not atypical for teams to cancel the final get-together of mandatory minicamp, but Ron Rivera didn't want to. "Why not [practice]?" he said when asked Thursday for the reasoning behind keeping the session as scheduled. Coaches did trim a lot from their script, but there were a couple of 11-on-11 segments where Sam Howell and undrafted quarterback Cole Kelley got their shots to lead the offense.
  • Curtis Samuel wasn't a participant Thursday, meaning he missed three of the six open-to-the-media events of the OTAs/minicamp stretch. Rivera told the media Thursday that Samuel had a promising late-spring/early-summer run and that Washington didn't want to push it any further with him. Rivera also said that the caution they're showing with Samuel isn't really related to the groin injury that derailed his 2021, it's more so about merely keeping him healthy overall.
  • The assistant coaches had their opportunities to chat with reporters on Thursday and while the bulk of their quotes will show up in stories on this website next week, here's a brief rattling-off of the highlights. Randy Jordan is giddy about Brian Robinson Jr.'s "uncoachable" ability to manipulate linebackers as he's heading toward the line of scrimmage, Drew Terrell had a strenuous time searching for negative plays on Jahan Dotson's college tape, Ken Zampese appreciates how Carson Wentz is "building bridges" with his fellow Commanders and Sam Mills thinks there's even more to Jonathan Allen's skill set to unlock.
  • And with that, the next chance to see this roster suit up will be in late July at training camp. Things surrounding the organization will surely be dead silent until then (nottttttt):