Football Team

Hailey: A lesser-known wideout continues to make strides for WFT

Football Team

This far into training camp, you start to look for who's moving up in the lineup and who's either stationary or, even worse, regressing. And during Tuesday's Washington Football Team practice, one wideout was given a chance — albeit a brief one — to work with the starters, which felt like an important step in his development. 

Dax Milne, the club's seventh-round choice out of BYU, checked into the huddle with the first-stringers as they were nearing the conclusion of the session. Again, it's not like Milne was opposite of Terry McLaurin throughout the morning, but still, it was a notable development.

Also notable was the praise that Ron Rivera gave Milne when the coach held his daily press conference. 

"He's ahead of where a lot of young guys would be at this time," Rivera told reporters.

In his preseason debut and first taste of the NFL overall last week, Milne caught two passes for 16 yards in New England and also returned a punt for 19 yards. Between that encouraging beginning and Milne's cameo with the main guys on Tuesday, he's certainly making a push to stick with the Burgundy and Gold into September.

Aside from Milne, here's what else is worth knowing about the action in Ashburn, which did not include pads...

 
  • For the second consecutive day, Curtis Samuel was held out of everything. The fields at the facility were still a bit wet thanks to some heavy rain in the area, and after coming off of PUP and doing individual drills on Sunday, Rivera chose to sit Samuel on Monday so as not to risk him injuring himself on a slick surface. So, the assumption is that was once again the case for Tuesday.
  • Ereck Flowers is doing more with the starting offense at left guard. During the earlier stages of camp, Wes Schweitzer was the one getting those reps. Rivera was asked about the switch on Monday and he didn't really address it, instead saying he's simply "happy with what we have" there. Perhaps Flowers will get the nod to open the preseason matchup with Cincinnati so the coaches can evaluate both he and Schweitzer in game conditions. 
  • Elsewhere on the offensive line, Charles Leno Jr. is kind of like the Ryan Fitzpatrick of that bunch with how often he is tutoring players on the sidelines in down moments. Like Fitz, Leno Jr. is constantly walking younger members of the roster through mock sets, hand battles and more. Rivera no doubt appreciates that leadership.
  • When Washington signed William Jackson III, they were not hesitant in claiming that they'll use him to track opposing No. 1 receivers if need be. At camp, that's mostly been the case, with Jackson following McLaurin no matter where McLaurin begins his route. Even so, there are instances where Jackson is deployed across from other targets, and he's being used on both the right and left sides of the defense; there were examples of that on Tuesday. He appears to be more versatile than the organization's most famous cornerback signing of late, Josh Norman. Let's hope he provides more return on investment, too. 
  • Kyle Allen has struggled since recovering from the ankle sprain he suffered on July 31, which is understandable, considering he did miss about two weeks worth of snaps. His accuracy has been lacking, and that's resulted in a couple of unsightly interceptions. In talking to the media after practice, Allen was definitive about appearing against the Bengals, so hopefully, he's shaken off the rust by then. There was some thought that maybe he could push Taylor Heinicke for the backup role behind Fitzpatrick, but any momentum behind that has subsided recently.
  • Fans will be happy to hear that Dustin Hopkins went 5-for-5 during a field goal period. None of the kicks were long distance — they were roughly coming from 33 to 40 yards away — but all five went between the uprights, and following the final kick, Tress Way engineered an emphatic hand slap with his kicker. If you're in the mood for "nerdy specialist talk" about how Washington's trio of Hopkins, Way and Camaron Cheeseman are looking to correct the issues they had in New England, head right here.
  • Lastly, Jaret Patterson was again spotted in the line of kick returners when it was their turn to hone their craft. On a couple of kicks, Patterson also was exposed to some work one level ahead of the return men as that lead blocker. Rivera and special teams leader Nate Kaczor are staying true to their word about wanting to get Patterson more involved outside of his duties as a running back.