The Washington Commanders visited the Baltimore Ravens for two days of joint practices. They will meet again at FedEx Field on Monday night for the second preseason game. Head Coach Ron Rivera said Sam Howell did some good things today, but he wanted his young QB to speed up his internal clock and be quicker. getting the ball out. Howell has confidence in the huddle and has been building up a good rapport with WR Terry McLaurin during camp. Rivera thought the offensive line play was better, but it could have been :a little bit more stout”.
There were several fights that ended quickly during today’s practice, and Rivera he talked to Ravens coaches before and after about the “chippiness”. He said both teams are there to learn and get better, and fighting does neither.
LIVE: Coach Rivera speaks to the media after Day 1 of joint practice at Baltimore https://t.co/k13g8ooY10— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) August 15, 2023
Chase Young was dressed but did not participate in team drills. Logan Thomas was working on side field, Rivera said it was a big step for him— George Wallace (@GWallaceWTOP) August 15, 2023
Oh no, this is a step for him. This is a real good step for him. And you know, he’s been running, you guys haven’t seen him, but he’s been running in the ultra G and underwater treadmill. Just taking some of that weight off of it right now. So he’s trying to get his conditioning back before we get him out there.
Offense solid vs the Ravens:
Ron Rivera addressing the media. Thought there were some good moments and the offense played pretty solid— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) August 15, 2023
Rivera on Howell: thought he did some good things, would like to see him the get the ball out quicker at times. But overall a solid day— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) August 15, 2023
I thought Sam did some really good things. There are a couple things — I’d like to see him speed his internal clock up a little bit. I thought he could have gotten rid of the ball a couple of times when he didn’t. But for the most part, he made some really good decisions, good throws. I really liked the way that the offensive tempo was. I thought it was an upbeat practice, which is what we need to do, especially against a good team like Baltimore.
If Howell needs to be quicker with the balls stems from competing against other teams:
Yes. Because again, I think the security of the whistle is now off. And I think he’s gotta understand that. And he started to later in practice. Early on, he held the ball a little bit more than I think he should have. And I’d like to see him get rid of it quicker.
Howell developing more rapport with Terry McLaurin during training camp:
Well, I would say yes. And there’s a couple other guys I think that he’s developed pretty good rapport with. But you know, Terry’s just one of those guys that for a young quarterback, you’re gonna go back to who you think is a good completion. And that’s what Terry is. And I think that’s why you saw some of those things today.
How Howell has grown in commanding the huddle:
Well, you see it because when you get in the huddle, it’s about the confidence in which you put the play out there. Uh, it’s about your body language and how you handle and react to things that happen out on the field. He’s gotten really good with that. I really appreciate the way he’s handled himself. I think stepping up and getting in the huddle and calling the huddle plays, making eye contact with each group when he talks to it, that’s important. And then getting to the line and then how he’s handled the sequences that he’ll go through, gathering the information, making the calls, and then going on with the play.
Rivera thought the offensive line played stout at times. Would like to see some things cleaned up, but there were some positives— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) August 15, 2023
I thought the line play was better. There were a couple moments I think we could be a little bit more stout. They do some things, some pretty good stuff with their pressure packages and their stunts. And so we just gotta be better with it because again, this is an established team and that’s when you practice against teams like that, there’s a tone, there’s a tempo that these guys always do things and there’s a reason why Coach Harbaugh has been here 15 years.
Fights at practice:
It was really good. It got a little hot a couple times. It gets a little chippy and we can’t take it personal. This really is not about me against you. This is about us trying to develop and work together as teams.
It can’t be chippy. It can’t be about yourself. It’s not personal. You get beat, you get beat, let’s just move on to the next thing and let’s focus in on what’s happening, what’s important. You know, we’re trying to practice. Everybody’s trying to get better, but that chippiness you just can’t have because it doesn’t make sense.
He’s been solid. I mean, he’s a guy that gives you a little versatility as well. Not just an outside guy, but he’s also a three technique on passing situations. Does a good job with his rushes.
What he wants to see more from DEs Casey Toohill and James Smith-Williams:
Well, they gotta continue to be explosive off the edge. I mean, we need guys like that to get vertical and get into the quarterback more than anything else. And again, it’s a good opportunity for them to work against somebody different.
Ricky Stromberg at guard:
Good. I mean, I really like what we’ve seen, especially on tape. I thought there’s some really good positives. I think the thing about it again is the position flex is gonna help us and it’s gonna pay dividends down the road.
LIVE: DT Daron Payne speaks to the media after Day 1 of joint practice at Baltimore https://t.co/hAnFwwCo7S— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) August 15, 2023
Daron Payne up next. It’s always fun to new guys and new techniques, he said. Added that the practices feel like extra preseason work. The reps feel like game speed, he said— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) August 15, 2023
It feels like extra preseason work, honestly. When we are going up against the ones, it feels like game speed to me. I get to get my steps down and we get to work together as a team and get our communication more.
What they were trying to accomplish today:
We just look at it as another practice, man. We got some things that we did good and some things that we can work on, but I feel like everybody just came out here with the right mindset and just go try to work harder tomorrow and do some things better tomorrow.
Benefit of facing a mobile quarterback like Lamar Jackson:
Just being able to see him in the pocket and have awareness of him. Just knowing that the dline we got to rush as one, as a unit and all contain them and not be on our own mission. We gotta all be together.
Fights at practice:
Training camp fight:
LIVE: WR Terry McLaurin speaks to the media after Day 1 of joint practice at Baltimore https://t.co/8WyInqZgUI— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) August 15, 2023
Practicing with another team:
Terry McLaurin addressing the media. Said he had fun competing against a different team. It’s a good measuring stick for where he and the rest of the offense is at— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) August 15, 2023
Yeah, it’s fun. I love competing man. And it’s fun going against a different team too. You go against each other for so long, you kind of get familiar with your teammates. They get familiar with what you do, when you come out here against another team, It’s good to have a measuring stick of how you’ve made it up until this point in camp.
This is my first one, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but you know, you come in ready to compete and I’m always ready to compete. So it was definitely fun for my first one.
Fights in practice:
McLaurin vs Humphrey. Draws the flag. Makes the catch. “And 1!” pic.twitter.com/zjN7wy0pGK— John Keim (@john_keim) August 15, 2023
McLaurin said Howell sees the field well. Did a good job of improving and had good timing with the receivers— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) August 15, 2023
Yeah, he’s really poised man. I think he sees the field really well and he’s going to give us chance to make opportunities on the perimeter, which has been great. His timing I felt like was really good with us today. As soon as we were getting out of our breaks, all of the receivers, the ball was right there and it gave us a chance to run with it as well. So, I think he did a great job even when he had to improvise and roll out a little bit to still keep his eyes downfield and continue to give us the chance to make plays. So he’s been the same guy since we started camp, since he stepped in at the last game last year. He’s just really poised.
Connection with Howell has taken another step:
You know, I definitely think it has. We’re still in the middle of camp and we still got some preseason to go, but I feel like we’re building a little bit of that trust where you get some one-on-one opportunity, he’s gonna trust me to come down and make that play and, as myself, I just wanna continue to give him that trust. You know, when you’re going against a great corner like Marlon Humphrey and you’re backside one-on-one, you gotta win those reps so he can have that confidence in you.
Practicing against Marlon Humphrey vs Kendall Fuller:
Definitely. I think Marlon and Kendall, they both are two vet corners who are really good at what they do. They’re really good technicians and I think Kendall is a different style of corner than Marlon is. So it’s, it is good to go against a guy like Marlon where he’s gonna be a little bit more firm at the line. He’s gonna be a little bit more handsy, you know what I mean? And it forces you to really use your technique and be physical because you know he’s gonna be physical at the top of the route. He’s gonna be physical at the line and he’s gonna try to punch the ball out. So when I’m going against him, I just wanna match his physicality, but also be clean with my feet, you know what I mean?
At the end of the day, when you’re a receiver, they stop when you stop, so you got to be efficient. So getting to work against Kendall has been great as well because he really forces you to be efficient in and outta your brakes because he’s so patient and sometimes if you’re not running or you’re opening up your stride, he’s gonna squat at the top of your route. So it really forces me to make sure I’m always selling a vertical route. So going against two veteran guys is only gonna help me and the other receivers.
Fights at practice:
At the end of the day, you just wanna protect everybody that’s out here. Obviously, they’re trying to make plays, we wanna make plays, but at the end of the day, we’re gonna protect our teammates and that’s what happens in camp. Sometimes things get a little physical, but it didn’t get too bad. So, at the end of the day, it’s just guys competing, but at the end of the day, we want to look out for each other’s careers and make sure we’re not doing anything that’s too over the line.
Advice to younger teammates going into practice tomorrow:
No, definitely. I think one thing that was really impressive was offensively I feel like our tempo was really good. It kind of really shows why we practice at the high intensity that we practice at. And I feel like we were really got to a place where we were just very efficient. But it’s still the little details that are coming up for us, you know, the procedural things. Eric Bieniemy says those are mental errors, you know what I mean? We can handle the make sure the spacing’s right, make sure you’re running the right route, but the mental errors we got to cut back on myself included, you know what I mean? So those are the little things I’m looking for.
I’m going to try to be critical of myself and just encourage the other guys and the young guys especially, focus on the film today, but tomorrow’s a new day. It’s a new opportunity and the plays that you didn’t make, you have opportunity to come out there and change the narrative tomorrow. And I think you just gotta have a next play mentality but always be in a competitive spirit, competitive mindset because that’s how the ebbs and flows of a game goes. The defense gonna make plays, you’re gonna make plays and it’s the team when you gotta get to the end of practice, you get a little tired, that’s when the team is gonna have the most success of who’s gonna execute and be on top of the little things.
Routes or concepts that he was happy with the timing and spacing:
Yeah, I mean I feel like I said, our quick game has been great. I don’t want to give away too much of what we’re doing, but I just think we’re just really trying to be on time with the quarterback, you know what I mean? When we’re getting certain looks, whether it’s press man or a little off technique, we still wanna be in the spot that Sam’s gonna expect us to be in because this offense is really predicated on a lot of the spacing and the timing. So, if we’re taking too long in and out of our breaks, that’s throwing off Sam. It’s hurting the quarterback. It’s hurting the o-line. So, EB’s really made an emphasis of everybody doing their job and I feel like as receivers making sure we need to be where we need to be there is what we need to focus on.
Emmanuel Forbes Jr.:
He’s gotten better each and every day. Honestly. You know, I’ve always tried to encourage him because he’s a guy who really likes to learn. He’s a sponge and I don’t like to lose reps, so I’m gonna give it to him every time I get the opportunity but he’s a competitor as well. And I think he’s really good at getting back in phase when he may be a little bit behind. He may get beat off the line but he has really great make makeup speed. He’s good at the catchpoint, so it’s really forced us receivers to be good at the catchpoint as well, where our hands are a little higher on a deep ball because he’s good at getting his hands in there and kind of throwing you off your route.
So, I really like what I’ve seen from him from a growth standpoint and you can tell he’s definitely getting more confident within the system. You could tell he’s learning from Kendall and being more patient and understanding route concepts and we’re gonna need that. And I think one thing that’s a strength of his is his ball skills. So, you could definitely see he’s getting his hand more on balls from interceptions and PBUs which on defense, I know they’re emphasizing that.