Washington Commanders linebacker Jamin Davis missed practice Monday to appeal a reckless driving conviction in Loudoun County.
Shortly after 1 p.m. March 28, 2022, Davis was cited for driving his McLaren 114 mph in a 45-mph zone on Loudoun County Parkway at Evergreen Ridge Drive. He pleaded not guilty in Loudoun County District Court to a charge of reckless driving (speeding more than 20 miles above the limit, in excess of 85 mph), which is a Class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia and punishable with up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The district court found Davis guilty. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined, and his license was suspended.
Davis, who appeared in Loudoun County Circuit Court on Monday accompanied by Commanders senior director of player development Malcolm Blacken, initially requested a jury trial for his appeal. But he withdrew that request and agreed to a plea deal with the commonwealth’s attorney’s office in Loudoun County for a maximum of eight days of active incarceration.
Judge Stephen E. Sincavage rejected the proposed deal, noting the heavily trafficked area in which Davis was speeding, the time of day and Davis’s “not terrible but not clean” record. A status hearing for further scheduling is set for 1 p.m. Thursday.
Pringle was with the Chicago Bears last year but lost critical practice time with his quarterback, Justin Fields, after an injury in the preseason. His quad strain in August led to his minimal practice time, worsened after Pringle injured his calf and was on IR in September.
Pringle brings five years of NFL experience, four of which were spent with the Kansas City Chiefs. While he wasn’t as featured in the offense as Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce, he still become a reliable weapon for Patrick Mahomes with 898 yards and seven touchdowns. Most of that came in 2021 — his most productive season — when he recorded 42 receptions for 568 yards and five scores.
The first four years of his career were spent with Bieniemy, and now they can work together again. For them, the goal is to help improve an offense that does have talented pieces but finished the 2022 season 20th in total yards per game.
“I’ve played in this system already, and I’ve played special teams as well,” Pringle said, “I feel great to have this opportunity to be here and compete.”
At 6-foot-1 and about 220 pounds, Robinson has the frame of a linebacker with the speed and lateral quickness of a receiver. He’s capable not just of running through tackles, but of dragging three, four, five defenders with him as he collects extra yards. His power has long been the hallmark of his game; he didn’t catch a single pass in his first two years at Alabama, and in 12 games last season, he had only nine receptions.
But he hopes to show more.
“The biggest thing for me, I just don’t want to be one-dimensional, and I don’t want to be just a power back,” Robinson said. “I want to be able to run routes, run down the field, catch the ball with soft hands and continue to grow my game.”
[R]unning backs coach Randy Jordan has emphasized another aspect: pass protection.
“They got to block,” he said. “I didn’t say run first. They’ve got to block, pass protect, protect the quarterback, and then they got to pass-catch, and then they got to run the ball. … The little nuance that I see in this system is the spacing, and the timing is such that if you’re where you’re supposed to be, the quarterback will find you.”
Through four practices, it’s fair to question where the passes are going — both the location, and who is being targeted — especially after Saturday’s bumpy (to be charitable) showing.
Running backs and tight ends dominated targets on a sweltering Saturday. That was primarily the case all week — the soaring temperatures and the egalitarian pass distributions — even though the bulk of Washington’s offensive playmaker investments are in the wide receiver room. (Same for fans, based on the number of Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson jerseys worn this week.)
There’s no harm in feeding others. Running backs Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson have legitimate pass catching chops. Tight ends Logan Thomas and Cole Turner offer size over the middle, as does John Bates. Both positions are more receptive to creating matchup advantages than wideouts.
Perhaps the quarterbacks are just taking what’s available. Say the defense drops two safeties deep; you throw underneath. Double-cover a Pro Bowl receiver? Target others. But that approach, if unchecked, can lead to denying your preferred plan while the defense pushes its agenda.
“That’s where the fine line is,” head coach Ron Rivera said following Saturday’s practice. “Is what you’re taking, what they’re giving you, is that enough to sustain (your offense)? That’s what’s gotta be determined.”
Bullock’s Film Room
Breaking down a clip from Commanders training camp with the offense using a 4x1 formation
Over the weekend I put out an article breaking down a clip of Commanders training camp practice on Twitter from my friends over at the Redzone In The Lab podcast. You guys seemed to enjoy that, so I figured I’d take a look at another clip they posted. If you or someone you know is going to training camp practices and takes any clips, be sure to send them to me on Twitter so I can break those down too.
The clip I wanted to look at is the third clip on this tweet from Redzone In The Lab:
This clip might be a little harder to make out what is going on because of the angle, but let me break it down and why I want to highlight it. It comes from seven-on-seven practice, so there’s no pass rush and it’s all about practicing route combinations and coverages.
What we see in this clip is the Commanders aligning in a four by one formation. This means that the offense has four of their five eligible receivers all aligned on one side of the field, leaving one receiver isolated on the opposite side. On this occasion, the Commanders do this with two receivers, Dyami Brown and Jahan Dotson joining tight end John Bates in a bunch set to the left. Running back Antonio Gibson then also aligns to the left of the quarterback, making him the fourth eligible receiver to that side of the field. This all leaves Terry McLaurin isolated to the right side of the formation.
By aligning all these receivers to one side of the field and having them run routes that don’t cross the field, the offense is forcing the defense to adjust its coverage significantly to match up. Most basic zone schemes and even some pattern matching schemes struggle to handle four receivers on one side of the field, so defenders from the other side of the field that would typically hold their spots instead have to slide across to try and help rebalance the numbers.
Loser No. 1: Rachad Wildgoose - Commanders CB
The Washington Commanders’ defense has been as advertised so far throughout camp. Jack Del Rio’s men look well on course to be among the league’s most dominant units once again in 2023, which stems from their exceptional defensive front and a secondary that looks set to make major improvements next time around.
All signs point to rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes being a true difference-maker right out of the gate. Quan Martin’s physicality covering the slot is also leaving a mark, with others such as Benjamin St-Juste, Kendall Fuller, and Danny Johnson also making their presence felt throughout the opening week of camp.
What this means for the future of Rachad Wildgoose is unclear. The third-year cornerback has been anonymous in comparison to some of his teammates, which represents a potential complication in pursuit of securing a roster spot next season.
Wildgoose performed well when called upon in 2022, especially when occupying nickel duties. However, he still represents something of an unknown quantity in terms of scheme fit within this year’s defense after two notable additions were acquired over the Commanders’ opening two picks of the draft.
Winner: Ron Rivera - Commanders HC
Ron Rivera is a man reborn.
The Washington Commanders’ head coach looks like a completely different figure to the man who had to cope with almost everything team-related over his first three years at the helm. This took its toll - especially considering Rivera’s health complications - but there’s an added spring in his step that’s been hard not to notice over the first week of training camp.
Rivera’s energy is being felt across the practice field, during his time speaking to the media, and in terms of motivating his players. The respected figure is also integrating himself more into the football side of things as Josh Harris’ ownership group looks to immediately ease the burden.
Whether this will bring about improved results when it counts remains to be seen. But it won’t hurt whatsoever and Rivera will be given every chance to prove his worth before Harris and his wealthy team of investors contemplate widespread changes.
On more than one occasion, Rivera compared St-Juste to former All-Pro cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman. Anytime you receive a comparison like that, others take notice.
St-Juste has been standing out in camp early this summer. Is this the year he gets noticed on a national level?
Jarrett Bailey of Touchdown Wire believes so, naming St-Juste to his 2023 NFL All-Breakout team.
St-Juste brings a versatility to the Commanders’ secondary that allows them to move him around and try different things. He spent extended time both on the perimeter and in the slot in 2022. Now, with Emmanuel Forbes coming in to compliment both he and Kendall Fuller, all of these guys are going to make each other better.
St-Juste finished sixth in the NFL in lowest reception percentage in 2022. With added help in the secondary, as well as a more defined role, the Minnesota product could have a breakout year.
Washington Commanders: EDGE K.J. Henry
On the surface, Henry is stuck behind one of the NFL’s most talented stables of defensive linemen. Yet, the two elite edge rushers ahead of him are in contract years. Should Washington choose not to pay both Chase Young and Montez Sweat, or if the team simply can’t afford to, a starting role opens up for 2024. This year’s training camp is not only a time for Henry to become a role player, but it’s also one where he can show he’s part of the team’s future on defense.
Henry’s 48 regular-season pressures in 2022 ranked eighth among Power Five edge defenders. He added a 78.3 run-defense grade — top 20 at the position — to form his best season of five at Clemson.
"So far, I like the tempo in which we're going with and the attitude that we're approaching practice. That's a good foundation to start with."— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) July 31, 2023
Week 2 of training camp is off to a good start
For two of the past three seasons, Washington’s defense was considered to be among the best in the league with top five finishes in yards allowed per game. Last season, the unit was third behind the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers and 12th in total sacks, despite not having Chase Young for almost the entire year.
The defense is expected to be a top unit once again, and the players have performed up to that standard so far in training camp. There’s an air of confidence surrounding the defensive side of the field, but coach Ron Rivera ismost impressed with how the players have handled it.
“I think they’re a little more mature,” Rivera said after practice. “I think it’s a group of guys that have been together for four years. There’s a lot of confidence in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. I think certain guys in key positions have matured, and I think with that, it’s okay to be confident.”
Podcasts & Videos
️Recapping Week 1 of Commanders' training camp. Thoughts on Sam Howell/QB play, Emmanuel Forbes, receiving targets, y'all reclaiming your fandom, name change, more.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) July 30, 2023
* 1-on-1 with Benjamin St-Juste
* Dyami Brown on the offense, WR roomhttps://t.co/w4sqtu76ZQ
Episode 622 - Jason Wright on Friday expressed openness to a name change. Ron Rivera on Saturday - unsolicited - brought up a name change. "Redskins" is being said a bunch. Where is this all going?— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) July 31, 2023
I also talk #Commanders' fan revival, BRob & Don Geronimo.https://t.co/ISbGP3jwB4
"They're all hungry, they all want to be great, they all want to win"— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) July 31, 2023
Sam Howell on what it's been building his relationship with the WR room ⤵️
Professionally run football in DC under Josh Harris. Bad news for the rest of the NFC East. “You can say what you want about the Sixers, but he has given that franchise every resource possible” https://t.co/OAsHrK5AAD— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) July 31, 2023
NFC East links
Blogging the Boys
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy took some time to clarify his ‘run the ball’ remark from earlier in the offseason.
It never made sense that McCarthy wanted every Cowboys game to feel like Army-Navy but that is the presentation that many have taken towards the team thanks to the initial comments.
What were those comments, you ask? Here is exactly what McCarthy said at the combine, comments that we partly about Kellen Moore’s departure and the team changing play callers.
“I’ve been where Kellen has been,” McCarthy said. “Kellen wants to light the scoreboard up. But I want to run the damn ball so I can rest my defense. Think when you’re a coordinator, you know but you’re in charge of the offense. Being a head coach and being a play-caller, you’re a little more in tune.
“I don’t desire to be the No. 1 offense in the league. I want to be the No. 1 team in the league with the number of wins and the championship. And if we gotta give up some production and take care of the ball better to get that, then that’s what we’ll do.”
It is not difficult to turn that statement into a narrative that works against McCarthy, such is life when you work for this particular organization. Many Cowboys fans found what McCarthy said to be a teeny bit scary relative to wanting to run the ball more, but if you are open-minded you can see how he is talking about an overall disposition of just being more efficient.
Whether you believe that or not, McCarthy was offered the chance to speak on this exact quote as mentioned and declined to double down.
Big Blue View
The new practice schedule
During the first couple of weeks, the Giants are practicing in three-day blocks with a day off in-between. That is a change from the schedule that the team followed last year under Brian Daboll.
The other thing the Giants are doing is holding the first two practices of those blocks in the morning, and the final one in the evening.
I like it, from the perspective of player health. It is another small, data-based tweak in the ongoing effort to combat soft tissue injuries.
We have already seen that the third practice of those blocks, which comes with a few hours of extra rest prior to it and a day off after it, will be the most grueling of the three. It is no coincidence that Tuesday’s first padded practice will be Day 3 of the second block and will come in the evening followed by a Wednesday day off.
Let’s see if it helps the Giants avoid some preseason injuries.
NFL league links
The 2023 Quarterback Tiers results are here, complete with commentary from the 50 NFL coaches and executives who were granted anonymity to share unvarnished evaluations. This year, the 50 league insiders who placed 30 veteran quarterbacks into tiers included eight general managers, 10 head coaches, 15 coordinators, 10 executives, four quarterbacks coaches and three involved in coaching/analytics.
Tier 4 (out of 4)
“Before it’s all said and done, I’ll be shocked if Brissett is not out there,” a head coach said. “Maybe they see something I did not see in Sam Howell coming out. He played out in that one opportunity (against Dallas last season).”
Howell completed 11 of 19 passes for 169 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Cowboys. Coach Ron Rivera said later Howell reminded him of the 49ers’ Brock Purdy. This puzzled voters.
“Couldn’t you pick someone better than Brock Purdy to compare him to?” one exec said.
“It’s not a good sign when they are comparing him to the guy in San Francisco,” another said.
The Commanders know Howell is less than a sure bet. That is partly why they invested $8 million in Brissett on a one-year deal.
“Howell does not have amazing physical gifts, but there are some things from a leadership and intangible standpoint that you like,” an offensive coordinator said. “It would not surprise me if he plays to a 3 or slightly above because they have one of the more talented skill groups with (Jahan) Dotson, (Terry) McLaurin, the kid from Carolina (Curtis Samuel).”
The Business Press
Following Taylor’s public trade demand, the Colts launched a counterattack aimed at tarnishing his value and reputation. A conveniently leaked report suggested that Taylor had reported to training camp with a pre-existing back issue, possibly rendering him ineligible to be paid for the regular season. It was clear that Irsay intended to punish Taylor financially for daring to demand fair treatment for running backs. The objective was to undermine his worth and diminish his chances of securing a multi-year deal or attracting potential trade suitors.
It is important to highlight the disparity between the image Irsay portrays publicly and the reality behind the scenes. While presenting himself as a laid-back, rebellious rock-loving owner, the truth is that Irsay represents the establishment. Moreover, his ascent to VP and GM positions was facilitated through his family connections, rather than his own merit. Although Irsay consistently emphasizes the Colts’ winning record under his ownership since 1997, the team’s performance during the preceding decade under his GM tenure was far from impressive. Such incompetence would have cost any other GM their job, but not a privileged individual like Irsay.
Rather than acknowledging Taylor’s legitimate concerns and empathizing with him, Irsay indulges in lavish spending on personal acquisitions, including Kurt Cobain’s guitar and Muhammad Ali’s world title belt, amounting to over $10 million. While it is his prerogative to spend his money as he wishes, the stark contrast between Irsay’s extravagance and his disregard for Taylor’s plight is undeniably myopic and callous.
Apparently, a Latino head coach and Black minority owner don’t have a problem with racial slurs still being used
How do you use a racial slur with “the utmost of respect” when the name had to be changed due to decades of it being disrespectful to an entire race of people?
If you thought the racism, misogyny, and ineptness were over when Dan Snyder sold this team, boy were you wrong. The idea that this is happening inside the building and that Rivera dared to tell the public, is proof of just how systemic and deep-rooted racism is in America — especially the NFL. Never forget that this is a franchise that still employs Jack Del Rio as their defensive coordinator — a man that was fined $100,000 in 2022 for labeling the events of January 6th as a “dust-up.”
In 1984 Rivera became the first person of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent to play in the NFL, making him a racial pioneer — he’s definitely been called a slur before. In 2020, the franchise made history when they hired Jason Wright to be the first Black team President in NFL history. His hiring took place during America’s faux “racial awakening,” which points to the racism he’s endured. And just this year, Magic Johnson’s latest investment made him a minority owner of the team — a man that’s dealt with racism for over six decades.
“As a proud black man, this is a great opportunity,” Johnson said on a recent episode of the Today Show, as he choked up when discussing what it meant to be an owner of an NFL team. “I don’t know why God blessed me with these opportunities, but I want to excel not only for myself and my family, but for all African-Americans, making sure we can see ourselves in these seats.”
It hits differently when you realize that you’re a member of the oppressed who is still actively involved in oppression. Just because you’re a minority, it doesn’t mean everyone is in this together.