ASHBURN, Va. — Washington's workout here on Monday started off a bit sleepily and Ron Rivera didn't appreciate that. After all, it was his team's penultimate chance to fine tune their bodies and minds before squaring off with the New England Patriots on Thursday.
"We don't wanna go there and get our butts kicked," Rivera said afterward in his press conference.
The energy and urgency did eventually escalate, fortunately, and it overall felt like a productive two hours for the Burgundy and Gold. Here's what and who stood out from the action...
- Kyle Allen initially hurt his ankle on July 31, the final day of activity in Richmond. He missed his first full practice on Aug. 2 once the club came back here, and he's been absent ever since, including on Monday. He's been considered day-to-day by the staff, but it's been more like day-to-day-to-day-to-day-to-you-get-the-picture. It's unfortunate for him, because if he was healthy, he'd be pushing Taylor Heinicke for the backup gig. Hopefully he truly gets back soon. Matt Ioannidis, meanwhile, was once again doing some light exercises and agility drills on the side field. He was activated off of the reserve/COVID-19 list on Aug. 3 but hasn't done much of anything after that development.
- William Jackson III had his helmet throughout Monday's proceedings, but he never participated. He also missed Friday's event at FedEx Field with a quad problem. That meant Benjamin St-Juste was working with the starters and picked up some solid experience by battling with Terry McLaurin.
- During 1-on-1s between the offensive line and the defensive line, Brandon Scherff had one of the better reps you'll ever come across. The All-Pro was matched up with Tim Settle, who tried to blast past Scherff by going straight through him. Scherff, though, shut down Settle with a vicious punch — and, honestly, it was like Scherff shut him off, too. Settle flopped to the ground and took a breath to get up. Clearly, he was a bit stunned. It was almost like Scherff found Settle's batteries and took them out for a second or two. The franchise tag situation surrounding the guard is annoying, but let's not allow that to overshadow how damn talented he is.
- While Scherff won that exchange with raw strength, Charles Leno Jr. held up against Chase Young with his veteran wit. Leno understands who he is as a tackle — he's undersized compared to most, if not all, of his peers around the league — so he knows he must rely on his quick feet and positioning as opposed to power. That's precisely what Leno Jr. did against Washington's top defender, as he let Young come to him and then bodied him out wide. Any quarterback in the world would take protection like that versus the up-and-coming megastar.
- To say that tight ends coach Pete Hoener was unhappy with his unit on Monday would be like saying an NFL field is 100 yards long. They're both simple facts. Hoener, among other things, was upset with the way his charges were firing off the ball (not enough firing, in his mind), how physical they were being (not physical enough, in his mind) and what they were doing with their hand placement (these parentheses shouldn't be necessary at this point). He doesn't demand perfection, he d.e.m.a.n.d.s it.
- It's easy to hype up McLaurin's route running, but let's give you an example of it. This video came from the early portion of the session, and obviously, McLaurin isn't trying to shed coverage or anything. Even so, watch the way he sells the route as he goes upfield. He's staring back at the QB as if he's expecting the ball to come his way. He then suddenly — yet smoothly — chops his feet to help him break out to the sideline and, lastly, he drives toward the pass instead of letting it come to him. All of those acts are subtle, but they're also why he's on a path that'll put him among the NFL's best wideouts for years to come:
- An extremely wacky interception occurred as the starters were going head to head. Ryan Fitzpatrick attempted to stick a pass into Antonio Gibson, who had set up about six or so yards in front of the right tackle. Just as the toss got there, so did Cole Holcomb, and the ensuing collision popped the ball up into the sky. From there, DeAndre Carter tried to jump up and knock the thing down, but instead, he slapped it sideways — and right into Kendall Fuller's arms. The Olympics may have just wrapped, but that had the look of a quick men's volleyball match between the burgundy jerseys and the white jerseys.
- Speaking of Carter, he had his number called on a jet sweep, but with how well Montez Sweat read the play, he's probably wishing he didn't. Sweat got around his blocker like he didn't even exist, gobbled up Carter for a sizable loss and then yelled, "What the (oops) you gonna do?" Carter chose not to respond.
- Torry McTyer continues to register McPassBreakUps at corner. He's been super competitive on the outside from the outset of camp. Pay attention to him — he wears No. 35 — in the preseason.