RICHMOND -- Fans hooted and hollered during a Saturday practice with pleasant weather and lots of free swag, but the real action came on the field with perhaps some clarity starting to emerge at a major position of need.
The top of the wide receiver position is not up for debate - that belongs to Terry McLaurin - but the bottom of the position group has questions. And maybe an answer.
- DeAndre Carter - Washington signed the speedster returner this offseason in a move most viewed as a camp invite. Well so far Carter has made the most of his chance. Ron Rivera said Carter "looks good with the ball in his hands" and has shown the ability to run good routes combined with good hands. A big bonus is Carter can return punts and kicks, so if he can make the roster, he can fill those glaring holes from the 2020 season. Think about this - last year as Washington's primary punt returner Stephen Sims averaged 6.7 yards-per-return. In the same role for two teams, the Bears and the Texans, Carter averaged 8.4 yards-per-return. In his three years in the NFL Carter has averaged 9.3 yards-per-return. If you don't think special teams coordinator Nate Kazcor notices that, then you should look into buying the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Cole Holcomb - Even though Holcomb got yelled at by Rivera for hitting Taylor Heinicke, the linebacker was all over the field on Saturday. He displayed good athleticism and great hands on a sideline interception and showed his speed in repeated bursts during 11v11 drills. He's a starter, and maybe the second-best LB on the roster after rookie Jamin Davis.
- Landon Collins - This is Collins' second time on the Stock Up list and that should tell you plenty about his camp so far. He's been everywhere. On Saturday he grabbed a diving goal-line interception off Ryan Fitzpatrick and the whole sideline exploded. Collins' busted his butt to work back from Achilles surgery and seems poised for a good bounce back year in 2021.
- Troy Apke and Danny Johnson - It was about halfway through practice when defensive backs coach Chris Harris started screaming to Apke and Johnson that they were out of position seconds before the offense snapped the ball. About seven seconds later, Harris had run about 20 yards down the field to yell at Apke and Johnson for blowing the coverage and giving up a big gain down the seam. Not a good scene for two guys brought in by the previous administration trying to fight for roster spots.
- Brandon Scherff - He's the team's best offensive linemen and now he's on the COVID-19 list. That doesn't really need much more explanation but it's not great.
- Backup QB - Heinicke was not impressive on Saturday, or really at any consistent point this week, and Rivera revealed that Kyle Allen tweaked his ankle during practice. The same ankle he dislocated and had surgery on last year. So yea, not great for the backup QBs.