ASHBURN — With the Commanders' true No. 1 receiver sitting out of OTAs as he waits for a new contract, a new No. 1 target is emerging. And fittingly, he's wearing... No. 1.
Jahan Dotson was involved quite a bit on offense at Wednesday's workouts, Washington's second open session of the offseason. He and Carson Wentz are displaying impressive chemistry for a pair that barely knows each other, and Dotson's renowned hands have definitely made their way to the NFL.
Here is a handful of observations from the day's action, beginning with the highlight of Dotson's output...
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- During 9-on-9s, Wentz connected with the Commanders' first-rounder on a post route for six points. On the play, Dotson broke in from the left side and cut toward the middle of the end zone, where Wentz's ball flew into his grasp, just ahead of Bobby McCain's outstretched arms. Dotson should thrive in space in the NFL, but on that touchdown, he showed he can produce in crowded areas, too. It was a Sunday-quality pitch and catch.
- Chase Young, who returned to the team on Tuesday after being absent for last week's OTAs, made his way onto the field as Wednesday's practice wound down. Young, who wasn't wearing any sort of brace or padding on his surgically-repaired knee, did his usual rounds of chatter with members of multiple position groups on the sidelines, something he's often spotted doing. Afterward, he told the media that he has no intention of rushing his recovery but did acknowledge that "everything's going as planned." Right now, he's healthy enough to run and squat "a substantial amount of weight."
- Montez Sweat and Cam Sims joined Young on the list of players who were missing in the first round of OTAs but were back for this set. Seeing Sweat with a helmet on and Young in person were two encouraging sights.
- The running backs competed in a new (at least to this particular blogger guy) drill early on in their position-specific period and it was entertaining. Maybe not Top Gun level-entertaining, but fairly close. Instead of trying to describe the borderline chaotic thing, though, allow this video from JP Finlay to sum it up:
- Brian Robinson Jr. got a handful of reps alongside Wentz in the backfield. That isn't to suggest he's coming for Antonio Gibson's job or about to significantly eat into what JD McKissic is responsible for, but it was noticeable nonetheless. Think about it: While McKissic has been a running back in the pros his whole career, he still entered as a wideout, much like Gibson did a couple of years ago. Robinson Jr. is the only true ball-carrier of the bunch, and this unit could use a traditional threat like him to go along with all the versatility.
- Darrick Forrest announced his presence when he popped Kelvin Harmon on a jump ball in the end zone. The collision was so sudden and powerful, in fact, that it was a bit surprising that there wasn't any sort of post-play jawing or shoving. Ron Rivera probably wasn't thrilled to see so much physicality without pads on and with Week 1 so far away, but for Forrest, he needs to stay relevant at safety in whatever possible way.
- Kendall Fuller picked off Carson Wentz on a pass that Wentz threw a little ahead of his intended man. It was classic Fuller: when he's at his best, he's instinctual and sudden. Fuller, who generated just one interception a year ago, logged four in 2020. Hopefully, he can get closer to that number in 2022. Related, but not really related: Fuller and Curtis Samuel appeared to be the only players wearing pants on the sizzling grass. Everyone else wisely opted for shorts.
- Daron Payne once again excused himself when the Commanders began going offense vs. defense at game-like speed. Like Terry McLaurin — who was absent on Wednesday — Payne would like a fresh contract. That said, it's not like he stormed off into the facility and slammed a door as he did so; he remained on the side field with trainers and even notched a few hill sprints as the rest of the squad went about their duties. To his credit, he was still grinding, albeit individually.
- Jamin Davis, who must be better in 2022 at linebacker after a non-impactful rookie campaign, ceded a couple of reps to David Mayo at one point of the practice, meaning it was Mayo and Cole Holcomb with the rest of the starters. Now, Davis slotted in alongside Holcomb for a handful of snaps as well, though it'd be nice if he could fully separate himself from Mayo as soon as possible.
- Lastly, Jacub Panasiuk, an undrafted defensive end from Michigan State, possesses a crazy mohawk. He better have applied numerous of layers of sunscreen to the sides of his head, or else he's going to face heavy consequences later on: