5 takeaways from day 18 of Washington training camp

Washington is now four days away from its preseason finale against the Ravens. Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s practice.

Washington was back on the field Tuesday for day 18 of training camp. With the preseason finale just days away, head coach Ron Rivera is treating the entire week as a normal game week in the regular season.

Washington faces the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, who enter the game on a 19-game preseason winning streak.

While Rivera respects the Ravens, he didn’t appear too impressed with their preseason winning streak.

The coaches are in the middle of preparing for Washington’s Week 1 opponent, the Los Angeles Chargers, while also working on getting multiple players plenty of action in this weekend’s game against the Ravens.

Here are five takeaways from Tuesday’s practice.


WATCH: Washington coach Ron Rivera is a mic’d up at a recent practice

Watch Ron Rivera as he is mic’d up at a recent practice.

Ron Rivera is one of the most beloved — respected — coaches in the NFL.

At a recent practice, the head coach of the Washington Football Team was mic’d up, and you can see multiple examples of why Rivera is so beloved and respected.

At the beginning of the clip, Rivera is seen running onto the field toward running back J.D. McKissic. Rivera puts his hands on McKissic and says,” let’s practice, a little excitement.”

This led to a playful back and forth between McKissic and Rivera.

The featured player in the segment is young fourth-string quarterback Steven Montez. After one throw, Rivera tells Montez to stop aiming the football, to “just throw it.” The coach tells Montez he has a good arm to use it.

After encouraging Montez on his next attempt, Rivera pulls him to the side and praises him.

Finally, we see Rivera interact with defensive end Chase Young. Rivera sees Young coming off the field and tells him, “nice series, you set things up when you practice like that.”

Young responded, “yes, sir.”

It’s a good, albeit brief look, into a Rivera practice.

Check it out.

Kyle Allen says Washington sees Antonio Gibson in Christian McCaffrey role

Washington’s coaching staff drafted and coached Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey. Kyle Allen says coaches are pushing Antonio Gibson for a similar role in Washington’s offense.

[mm-video type=playlist id=01eqbykgy681k112p8 player_id=none image=https://washingtonfootballwire.usatoday.com/wp-content/plugins/mm-video/images/playlist-icon.png]

Washington quarterback Kyle Allen knows Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey well. Allen spent the first two seasons of his NFL career with the Panthers handing the ball off to McCaffrey.

Allen saw McCaffrey rush for over 1,000 yards in those two years and catch over 100 passes in 2018 and 2019. McCaffrey also scored 32 touchdowns during those two seasons.

After Tuesday’s practice, Allen met with the media and was asked about Washington running back Antonio Gibson and how he is different from his rookie season in 2020.

Allen’s answer should make Washington fans — and fantasy football fans — very happy.

You saw Christian McCaffrey in this offense a couple of years ago. Obviously, one of the best players in the league, but I think that’s where we’re trying to push Antonio to go. And he’s improved a ton. Just think, last year, he was a receiver coming in as a running back. This year, he has a year under his belt, where he played very well, 10-plus touchdowns, and he’s gaining a lot more confidence, playing a lot faster, he’s understanding it, he’s making decisions quicker. The more reps he gets, the better he gets. He’s just been continuously getting better.

A former college wide receiver, Gibson became a full-time running back for the first time in his rookie season in the NFL in 2020 — and thrived. Gibson rushed for 795 yards and 11 touchdowns, despite missing time late in the season with a toe injury.

Throughout this offseason, coaches have said they want Gibson more involved in the passing game. He proved in college he was certainly capable of making big plays as a receiver.

Finally, someone asked Allen if Gibson can have similar production to McCaffrey in Washington’s offense.

Allen’s response:

“I think we try and use him that way,” Allen said. “I’m not trying to compare him to him (McCaffrey), but that’s the way we’re trying to go with it. I think he has the potential.”

If Gibson receives a similar amount of opportunies as McCaffrey does in Carolina, he could be one of fantasy football’s top players in 2021.



5 takeaways from day 16 of Washington training camp

Here are some takeaways from day 16 of Washington training camp.

The Washington Football Team was back on the field for day 16 of training camp on Wednesday, and so was the heat.

Washington had received a bit of a reprieve with the weather recently, especially on Monday when the team practiced in the rain.

When Washington began practice Wednesday, the local media was a bit surprised to see rookie tight end Sammis Reyes on the exercise bike. As it turns out, Reyes was now in concussion protocol.

What else happened on the practice fields in Ashburn?

Here are five takeaways from day 16 of Washington training camp.

Washington coach Ron Rivera says Dustin Hopkins is ‘our kicker’

Ron Rivera is sticking with Dustin Hopkins as Washington’s kicker.

[mm-video type=playlist id=01eqbykgy681k112p8 player_id=none image=https://washingtonfootballwire.usatoday.com/wp-content/plugins/mm-video/images/playlist-icon.png]

Dustin Hopkins has been the Washington Football Team’s kicker since 2015. And, according to head coach Ron Rivera, that isn’t changing anytime soon.

Hopkins missed two field goals in Washington’s preseason opener on Thursday in New England. Afterward, Rivera explained to reporters it wasn’t as simple as Hopkins just missing wide.

“It’s not necessarily simple when he misses,” Rivera said, per Peter Hailey of NBC Sports Washington. “There’s more to it.”

What Rivera is referring to is Washington has a new long snapper in 2021. Rookie Camaron Cheeseman replaced veteran Nick Sundberg, who was with Washington for 11 seasons. Anytime you replace a long snapper, it takes time.

“You take a look at the timing, and you can tell right now they don’t have the rhythm,” he said. “Their timing is off.”

Rivera is right. You can’t put all the blame on Hopkins this time. The problem is Hopkins has had these issues before — with Sundberg as the long snapper.

After practice on Sunday, Rivera continued to stick by Hopkins when asked why he didn’t bring competition in to compete with Hopkins.

“He’s our kicker,” Rivera said.

Hopkins has had plenty of good moments with Washington over the years. What he sometimes lacks is consistency. Now, with a team expected to compete for a playoff spot, Hopkins can’t miss 40-yard field goals.

For now, his coach is sticking by him.


Washington releases 3 players, including wide receiver Kelvin Harmon

Washington began trimming its roster on Sunday by releasing three players. Every NFL team must be down to 85 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

The NFL rules for roster cuts are a bit different in 2021. Every NFL team must trim their roster from 90 players to 85 after the first preseason game.

The Washington Football Team cut the following three players on Sunday: wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, running back Lamar Miller and defensive back Chris Miller.

Only Harmon was a bit of a surprise. And, his release really isn’t a surprise. I haven’t included Harmon on any of my 53-man roster projections all summer.

A former sixth-round pick from N.C. State in 2019, Harmon caught 30 passes for 365 yards as a rookie. He played in all 16 games. Unfortunately for Harmon, he suffered a torn ACL last summer and missed the 2020 season — and a chance to impress head coach Ron Rivera and the new coaching staff.

The release of Harmon shows how much depth Washington has at wide receiver now. There will be other players cut who can play, which is a good problem to have.

The competition at wide receiver is stiff right now with DeAndre Carter, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Steven Sims Jr. and Dax Milne battling it out for what is likely one roster spot.

Lamar Miller is a 30-year-old running back who signed with Washington late in the season in 2020. A former Pro Bowler with the Texans, Miller was never making Washington’s roster in 2021, barring injuries.

Chris Miller was claimed off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals in May.

After releasing three players, Washington is down to 87 players. Defensive end David Bada’s roster spot doesn’t count against the 90-man roster as he is in the International Pathway program.


Washington wide receiver Curtis Samuel activated from PUP list

Washington activated wide receiver Curtis Samuel from the PUP list. He was on the practice field Sunday morning.

The Washington Football Team activated wide receiver Curtis Samuel from the physically unable to perform list on Sunday.

Samuel, who began camp on the list after injuring his groin in OTAs, also spent time on the reserve/COVID-19 list this summer. Now, Samuel is free and clear to begin practicing with the team.

Samuel was back on the field at practice on Sunday morning. He did position drills, but not full-team drills.

Samuel, 25, signed a three-year deal with Washington in March. He had a career year with the Carolina Panthers in 2020, catching 77 passes for 851 yards and scored three touchdowns.

Samuel also rushed for a career-high 200 yards and scored two touchdowns on the ground.

It will be interesting to watch if the team plays Samuel in either of its final two preseason games.

Washington claims tight end Caleb Wilson off waivers from Philadelphia

Caleb Wilson was actually waived by Washington last summer, only to be claimed off waivers by the Eagles.

The Washington Football Team claimed tight end Caleb Wilson on waivers after the Philadelphia Eagles released him over the weekend.

Wilson, a seventh-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2019, was released that summer. Arizona then re-signed Wilson to its practice squad. Later that season, Washington signed Wilson to its active roster.

Wilson would spend the 2020 offseason with Washington before he was released on Aug. 3, 2020. The Eagles claimed Wilson off waivers from Washington, and he would spend all season going between Philly’s practice squad and active roster.

Wilson would appear in five games for the Eagles in 2020.

So, how does the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Wilson fit in with Washington?

The Football Team already has some competitive battles at tight end behind starter Logan Thomas. Rookies John Bates and Sammis Reyes each showed promise in their preseason debuts on Thursday, while veteran Ricky Seals-Jones and Temarrick Hemingway are also battling to make Washington’s 53-man roster.

Head coach Ron Rivera did say Hemingway was in concussion protocol on Sunday, so perhaps Wilson is filling his spot temporarily.

Or maybe Washington likes Wilson from previously having him in the building.

Regardless, it would appear Wilson has an uphill battle to make Washington’s 53-man roster.

How to watch, listen, stream Washington vs. Patriots in preseason Week 1

How to watch, listen and stream Washington’s preseason debut at New England.

The Washington Football Team opens up the 2021 preseason on Thursday with a trip to Foxboro to face the New England Patriots.

Washington enters the preseason opener intending to play its starters. Head coach Ron Rivera didn’t say how long the starters would play, but he detailed what he was looking for from his quarterbacks.

“Is he going through the checks, the processes he needs to?” Rivera said Tuesday. “When I’m done, I’m going to take a look and see what the playbook tells us, whether or not we spread the ball around properly and we used all of our assets out there.”

While most of Washington’s roster is set, there are still several battles to be won this preseason. Wide receiver, defensive back, defensive end, and the offensive line are some positions to watch for Washington on Thursday night.

The Football Team will be playing Rivera’s former franchise quarterback in Carolina, Cam Newton. Washington will also see plenty of New England’s first-round quarterback, Mac Jones.

Here’s how you can watch the Washington Football Team and the New England Patriots preseason battle:

How to watch, listen, stream Washington at New England

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts

TV: NFL Network

Radio: SiriusXM channel 380 for Washington’s broadcast and channel 381 for New England’s broadcast.

Stream: FuboTV (try it free).



Ryan Fitzpatrick talks playing in the first preseason game

Ryan Fitzpatrick discusses the preseason, his leadership role and Washington’s weapons.

Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is set to make his debut in Week 1 of the preseason on Thursday against the New England Patriots.

Head coach Ron Rivera said earlier this week the starters would play and set expectations for what he wants to see from his team, specifically the quarterbacks.

For Fitzpatrick, who is entering his 17th NFL season in 2021, you’d think playing in Week 1 of the preseason would be something he wouldn’t like. However, in an interview with Kim Jones of the NFL Network, Fitzpatrick spoke of why the preseason is important, especially being on a new team:

I think it’ll be good. It’ll be good to get out there and go through the process with the guys. I’m new, I‘m trying to get a feel for some of these guys. But even just the communication, in and out of the huddle, getting out there and looking at a play clock again, communicating with the line on pass play and run plays. That kind of stuff, it’s good to get a little dress rehearsal, so I’m excited to get out there a little bit.

Rivera wanted to see Fitzpatrick show basic command of the offense in his first start, which shouldn’t be an issue for the veteran passer.

Throughout the offseason, you’ve seen teammates praise Fitzpatrick and show genuine excitement about him running Washington’s offense. Wide receivers, especially, know that Fitzpatrick will give them plenty of chances to make plays down the field.

Fitzpatrick was asked about his leadership role with Washington and played it down.

In my position, with them all looking at me, listening to me on every play, it’s a position of natural leadership, where guys have to stop, look and listen. I don’t think the experience hurts either. I just try to come in and meet everybody, form those relationships, be myself, and it usually works out.

Speaking of those teammates, Fitzpatrick seems almost giddy when discussing his weapons.

It’s been great so far. It’s been fun working with all of them. There’s a lot of different guys you have to defend in this offense. Even a guy like Logan Thomas, what a target he is, it’s a good luxury to have.

Washington fans are certainly excited to see Fitzpatrick for the first time in the burgundy and gold on Thursday evening.