RICHMOND, Va. — Here’s a little too much information for you to start this edition of practice notes: My notebook is covered in sweat because the Richmond sun decided to really pop off. However, everything is still legible, thankfully, so let’s get right into a recap of Thursday’s session…
- Ron Rivera complimented Ryan Fitzpatrick for never looking over his shoulder when it comes to competing with Taylor Heinicke, and so far, Fitz shouldn’t feel like he has to. Heinicke draws some of the most applause of any dude in Burgundy and Gold, but he’s been a bit erratic through two days of action. While Fitzpatrick isn’t lighting it up on a consistent basis either, he’s still off to a comfortable lead in the race to be QB1.
- As far as the quarterback rotation goes, Heinicke was sprinkled in a tad on snaps featuring the likes of Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas, though the offensive line wasn't exactly the starting group, so it's hard to say it was true starting reps. Kyle Allen, meanwhile, is still uninvolved in the battle, but Rivera made sure to mention at the podium that Allen is still an important part of the depth chart.
- As outlined on Wednesday, the McLaurin vs. William Jackson III battles is supremely fun to monitor. On Thursday, Jackson III logged an interception (off of Fitzpatrick) when McLaurin slipped on a comeback route, but later on, No. 17 out-jumped No. 23 for a 20-or-so yard reception. As boring as it is to say that Player X and Player Y are going to make each other better, McLaurin and Jackson III are going to make each other better.
- Since the guys aren't in pads, things can only get so intense on the field. Even so, we almost had our first fight, as Ereck Flowers and a backup defensive lineman got into each other's face after a play in 9-on-9 drills. At best, the interaction could be labeled a "skirmish," but it oddly felt normal and like a camp rite of passage to watch two football players get mad at each other.
- Jeremy Reaves came on late in 2020 to contribute at safety and he had a standout practice on Thursday. Rivera has explained that last summer, cutting Reaves after camp was one of his most difficult decisions, but he noticed how Reaves continued to improve on the practice squad and then took advantage of his late-season opportunity. Because of how crowded the position is, at least one, if not multiple, NFL-caliber safeties will be eventually let go and Reaves is doing his best to ensure he's not one of them again.
- With Cornelius Lucas on the COVID list, Sam Cosmi is getting lots of work at right tackle — and that means he's getting lots of work against Chase Young. Young, unsurprisingly, is handling the rookie lineman with ease, which ultimately should make Cosmi a better pro. That's Young's goal, at least, as he told reporters on Thursday he wants to "destroy" Cosmi whenever he gets a chance to. As aggressive as that sounds, Young has good intentions and Cosmi surely appreciates it.
- Special teams boss Nate Kaczor had to channel his inner elementary school teacher at one point during a drill as he hollered, "Hey, guys in the back, please pay attention!" No word on if he threatened to take away anyone's recess. By the way, following Kaczor as he runs his portion of practice is extremely entertaining, because he's highly energetic and cares A TON about the details.
- One of the final sequences of the get-together featured Allen trying to hit undrafted running back Jaret Patterson in the end zone on a wheel route, but since Patterson was covered so well, Allen had to essentially offer the ball up as a 50-50 shot. Problem is, Patterson is by far the shortest member on the club, so the ball predictably fell incomplete. If we ever get to the point where that pair is trying to execute that play on a Sunday, then 2021 is not going the way any Washington fan wants it to.