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Pictures, videos, news, and notes from the Washington Commanders rookie mini-camp

The rookies are in town and practicing!

The Washington Commanders drafted 7 players last weekend. They also signed 12 UDFAs and had an additional 35 tryout players in Ashburn today for rookie mini-camp.

Ron Rivera

Commanders 2023 schedule:

Speed and technique:

Emmanuel Forbes:

“There was a couple of coverages that I sat there and did go back on a couple times. One of ‘em was he went into a hinge technique and basically what he did was he put himself in to be able to play the high, the low, and the ball was thrown to the high and he was able to turn, and with that burst of his speed, that length, he was able to tip the ball outta bound, so you could see that and that was one of the things that caught my attention. Another one was when he jumped a route quick SL on the inside was able to beat the receiver to the spot and make the interception. I mean, those are the kind of things, the great anticipation, but then you kind of wonder where it comes from. I was sitting behind him and watching him in meetings and then I was sitting back watching him during the walkthrough today and then I watched him with Coach Vieselmeyer and as coach was explaining something to him, you can see how attentive he was. The questions he was asking, I thought were really well thought out. There are some things that kind of lead to why I think, or I believe that’s why he makes those kinds of plays because those little detail things I think don’t get away from him.”

Rookie minicamp:

“First of all, first opportunity to see them in a football environment, you know, on the field. I’m looking forward to that this afternoon. More so than this morning because this was really just walkthrough, installation, try and get these guys familiarized with some of our basic stuff so that they can go out and perform quickly. For us, we really wanna watch how they react to what they’re seeing, how their retention is and then just some guys making plays in terms of some of the receivers, some of the defensive backs. We wanna see some quickness as far as some of the defensive players, defensive line in particular and then with the offensive guys, we wanna see them using their techniques that that’s being taught to them today. We’ll see how that goes today and tomorrow in terms of their retention and how are they adapting to the techniques that we are teaching as well.”

If in the draft they were looking for a running back that can do certain types of runs:

“I would say we were looking for a back that fit what we wanted to do and the way we wanted to do it. I know Eric really liked Christopher, so that was one of the pluses for when he was available when we were picking. Secondly, I still liked what we saw as far as the growth was concerned with Antonio. I’d like to see Antonio get a few more tries, obviously last year, but Antonio’s shown tremendous growth and we’re pretty excited about who he could be. This is a guy that played wide receiver at one time coming out and one thing that he did have was every nine touches resulted in a touchdown, so we’re looking for some production from him as well and we’re looking to see that he does fit in into the scheme of things as far as what Eric Bieniemy wants to do with the offense.”

Kazmeir Allen:

“Well, there are a couple guys out there, but one of the more notable names, and I’m gonna have to look it up and so I can say it properly, but he’s a young man we got out of UCLA. He’ll wear number 10 out there, Kazmeir Allen. He played some slot for them, some wide receiver for them, some running back for them and then he returned both kickoffs and punts for them, and he did ‘em in the bowl game in the All-Star games as well. So he’s a young man that most certainly has gotten our attention and he’s a young guy that we went out and tried to make sure we were able to recruit and bring him in as a free agent.”

Teaching players about gambling:

“Lesson will be very blunt. It’ll most certainly be one of the ones that we will use in our player development program. You know, I think Malcolm has done a tremendous job with that and that’ll be one of the things that will most certainly be emphasized with them. When we did find out about the Shaka Toney thing, we called the league and asked the league if they could send us some information that we could use and do a presentation with. We presented to the team. Malcolm led that for us and the whole team, everybody that that’s in that building that’s associated with us was in that room. We presented it. We talked through it. Malcolm will follow up with these young guys and, and it will be presented and they will talk through it with him as well.”

Finding talent from the XFL and USFL:

“I believe you can and again, the good part of it is these guys have film and quality film for us to take a look at. We’ll get a chance to see where some of these guys are and how good some of ‘em move. It’s just like anything else. It’s just as if you were watching college tape but it is some of these guys are talented and someone just need an opportunity.”

What he wants to see from the undrafted/tryout players:

“Scouting and drafting and signing college for agents, it’s a difficult thing. It’s not a proven 100% science. Some guys are gonna slip through the cracks and maybe this is an opportunity to find one of those guys but again, you’re looking for somebody that will stand out depending on his position and whether or not he was making plays. If it’s a receiver or DB, is he running good routes and making catches, or is he defending receiver as well? If it’s an offensive line, how’s his technique, how is his pad level and by that I mean, is he in a good body position. With offensive lineman, it’s about technique and body position and that that’ll tell you whether a guy has a chance.”

Eric Bieniemy:

“This is a little different this year having Eric Bieniemy out there. I would say it’s kind of twofold as far as the offensive guys. We want to really be able to feel comfortable about a lot of these guys have assimilated to what Eric has brought and has installed as far as our offense and what we’re gonna use this season and then it’ll be about the retention. Just how muchof what we’re doing, do they learn how much of it they’re gonna retain and that’ll be important for when we get started that first week of training camp, so right now it’s about learning the X’s and O’s of what we’re doing. And then the second thing, more so anything else, is did they show some growth in their abilities, their techniques, their base fundamentals. Did they improve that way? And again, we’ll see that by the end of Minicamp and OTAs and then we’ll get a flavor for where they are the first week of training camp.”

Learning curve for coaches:

“I think it should be very good. I think for the most part everything that they’re gonna be installing has been everything that they’ve been working on. One of the things that I’ve alluded to with some of the questions I’ve gotten is just how early they get started. Typically you come in, everybody starts at eight o’clock, but with Eric and the offensive staff, they start at 7:00 AM. They go through everything. And then the thing that’s been impressive is how he’s worked with each one of these coaches individually for their specific positions, whether it be the offensive line, the tight ends, the running backs, wide receivers and he’s with the quarterbacks daily. But he’s constantly with these coaches and constantly going through little detail things, so it’s been real interesting to watch the way he handles things.”

Expectations for drafted vs undrafted/tryout players:

“Well, I think with the draft guys, you have an anticipation and the expectation of them coming in and really doing things well. Some of these younger guys that hadn’t been drafted, there may be some limitations or some things that they’ve gotta work on and that’s, that’s probably why they didn’t get drafted, but they still have a skillset set, you know what I’m saying? They still show a burst. They still show some quickness. They still show some strength and power which is all the more reason to want to keep some of these guys because you could always exchange a guy for somebody that you’ve already signed. If somebody flashes like that, you sit there and go, wow, we need to really think about this young guy and if you change him out, you do and if you don’t, he’s most certainly be on a short list if something were to happen, he’s a guy that you would want to bring back.”

Mason Brooks:

“Well, he’s a guy that played a lot of football. He may not have started a lot, but he played a lot of football. He’s shown some position flexibility more so anything else, that’s always something that we always feel is an important thing. There was a general toughness that we liked and that we thought, this is a guy that could come in and help us out. If you can get a guy like that as a undrafted free agent, you gotta see and take a shot.”

Roster Moves:

Day 1:

Adam Raine:

Ricky Stromberg:

Chris Rodriguez:

Emmanuel Forbes:

WRs coach Bobby Engram:

Jalen Sample:

Juan Castillo:

Emmanuel Forbes INT:

Eric Bieniemy: