The Washington Commanders had their first day of training camp in Ashburn as they prepare for the 2023-24 season under new ownership from Josh Harris and his investment group. Today’s practice was roughly 90 minutes, but that time will increase starting tomorrow when fans will have their first opportunity to watch the team practice.
Ron Rivera was pleased with what he saw on the field during today’s practice. He said all three QBs looked good, but acknowledges there is still plenty of work to do before the season starts. Rivera fielded more questions about Josh Harris buying the team, and the changes that have already started. He’s been through this before in Carolina, and knows he will be evaluated this season as the new ownership group assess the franchise from top-to-bottom.
Chase Young and Logan Thomas were both recovering from ACL surgeries last season, but Young’s injury required a reconstruction and multiple surgeries. Both players had been wearing knee braces during offseason activities, but they are now practicing without them which is a great sign for their recoveries. Rivera said Young looked good today, and he has been monitoring his progression throughout the offseason as the former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year worked out away from the team during OTAs.
LIVE: Coach Rivera speaks to the media after Day 1 of training camp https://t.co/m0zPki1K5l— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) July 26, 2023
Ron Rivera addressing the media. He thought all three quarterbacks played well and did some good things. There was a lot to build off of, and he's excited for that development as camp progresses #HTTC— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) July 26, 2023
“Well, I’ll be honest, I thought all three guys did some good things, made some good decisions out there. The one thing that’s impressive is really how the defense really picked things up right back to where they were. I mean, defense had a good day today, put a lot of pressure on our receivers in the route running and put a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks. I thought the quarterbacks handled that pretty well. Just a lot of good things that we can build from. And again, as far as the quarterbacks are concerned, I’m happy with what we saw initially.”
Rivera reiterates that he was "really pleased" with practice today. Picked up right where they left off from OTAs and minicamp. It'll be important for them to see how they respond throughout camp— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) July 26, 2023
“I liked the tempo first and foremost. I thought the guys picked up right where they left off from OTAs and minicamp. I thought the energy was what we needed. It’s one of those things that you’re trying to see if their retention is where it needs to be as well. And there were some really good things going on out there. So, not a lot of mistakes, that’s a good thing. We’ll see how they are in about three or four days when they get a little tired, a little fatigued to see how they handle it. But for today, very pleased with what we saw out there.”
Dealing with the heat at practice:
“Well, one of the things is we do the water breaks and the longer practices will start going, the more breaks we’ll have. We’ll increase those. We’ll hold the guys a little bit longer. You know, we have a cooling tent out there. If anybody starts to feel it, we’ll send them into the tent to try and keep them down. We’re constantly trying to get them to hydrate and get them focusing on hydrating prior to practice and post practice, so we’re really trying to stay ahead of that. Last year it got us. Last year was one of the hottest summers that this area has ever recorded, I guess in a long time. We had something like 10 straight days over a hundred and so we were trying to stay proactive. Stay ahead of it, so we don’t have the soft tissue injuries we had last year.”
On Chase Young, Rivera said he showed up ready to roll for the first day— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) July 26, 2023
Ron Rivera said he was "pleased" with Chase Young's showing today.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) July 26, 2023
Said he kept up with 99's summer on social media but Young also sent the coach workout videos.
“I was very pleased with it. I mean, he had a good offseason, I do know that. I followed him on social media and every now and then, he’d send me a little text to show me what he’s been doing. Like I said yesterday too, one of the nice things was I know he went back and saw his old coach, his college coach, Coach Johnson who he’s got a tremendous relationship with. I know they worked on some of his things too as well, so he showed up ready to roll as were most of our guys. I think our guys came back in great shape and as I said, I was really pleased with the tempo in which they practice with.”
Josh Harris introduced himself to the players today, and Rivera said it was a cool moment for the players to hear from him on his vision and standards going forward— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) July 26, 2023
“I think first and foremost, I really appreciate talking about the culture building. It’s something that I was brought here to do. It aligns very well with the message that we’ve been trying to get across to our players. I love the fact that he talked about inclusive and equity and being an equal opportunity. I think that’s important too, that people understand that from where we are to where we’re going, we still have a lot of work to do. We’re gonna take it one day at a time. But having somebody that’s come in and said, ‘Hey, we’re making the commitment to being supportive, giving you the tools that you guys need going forward.’ That is a very positive sign for us.”
Rivera said the Commanders are "looking for a competition" at kicker with the signing of Michael Badgley.— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) July 26, 2023
“We’re looking for competition is what we’re looking for. You know, Mike [Badgley]’s kicked in this league. He was a hundred percent last year in extra points. I think he was 24-of-28 field goal attempts and a couple of his misses were from 50 yards, so he’s got a record. He’s a very accomplished player, so I’m expecting competition. I’m expecting to bring the best out of our guys. I mean, that’s what we’re expecting. That’s what we’re expecting Jacoby [Brissett] and Sam [Howell] to do is push each other so we can get the best out of him and again, everything is going forward. I mean, this is an exciting time for us. You know, it’s a change. It’s an opportunity for us to go forward.”