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Daily Slop - 20 Aug 23: Nagging injuries linger for Commanders heading into the final week of the preseason

A collection of articles, podcasts & tweets from around the web to keep you in touch with the Commanders, the NFC East and the NFL in general

Commanders links


Training camp notebook, Day 19 | Dyami Brown believes there’s ‘no limit’ to what Howell can accomplish

That’s a wrap on the Washington Commanders’ training camp.

Although the Commanders will technically practice throughout the final week of August, Saturday’s practice was the official “end” of camp. For the next seven days, which includes the Commanders’ final two preseason games, players will make a final push to either secure a roster spot or improve their position on the depth chart.

Several receivers are still in contention for the final roster spot at the position, and Brycen Tremayne had one of the most impressive catches of the day when he managed to keep his knee in bounds in the end zone on a pass from Jake Fromm.

Kazmeir Allen is another player trying to make his case for a roster spot. Allen’s ability as a return specialist is his best trait, but he will also need to show that he can contribute on offense if he hopes to be on the initial 53. He took a step towards that today, as he made three catches in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills.

Commanders Wire

Commanders Jonathan Allen battling Plantar fasciitis

Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said Saturday that Jonathan Allen is battling Plantar fasciitis.

Rivera then added that it is not serious.

Plantar fasciitis can quickly become very limiting, very painful and become a major issue if not treated properly early enough.

A man of Allen’s weight (300 pounds), and having to push off with his feet every single play, this could quickly become a serious issue if Allen does not get enough physical therapy and rest.

Plantar fasciitis was for a long time thought to be an issue primarily of inflammation. However, in recent years, studies on the tissue of those suffering from Plantar fasciitis have found it to be a matter of actual tissue death.

Commanders Wire

Ross Tucker sees big things for Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr. in 2023

Tucker also works for The 33rd Team and recently named five second-year players who could break out in 2023.

Quarterback Sam Howell and wide receiver Jahan Dotson are popular picks for the Washington Commanders. However, Tucker went in a different direction: Running back Brian Robinson Jr.

Brian Robinson Jr. is probably the most obvious candidate on this list because of the unique circumstances surrounding his rookie campaign. He missed the first four games last season while recovering from gunshot wounds after an attempted carjacking last August.

Still, he found a way to play in 12 games as a rookie, rushing for almost 800 yards at 3.89 yards per carry. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t improve, possibly significantly, on those numbers.

“From the time I stepped back on the field, I was dealing with all kinds of things going on in my body…,” Robinson said when discussing last season, “…there wasn’t one time I felt like Brian Robinson.”

Talk is cheap, but given Robinson’s comments regarding how he feels compared to last year and combining that with being the lead back in new offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy’s offense, you have a perfect candidate for a second-year leap.

Under Bieniemy, Robinson is Washington’s No. 1 back, although Antonio Gibson will see plenty of time, particularly as the third-down back. The Commanders will run the ball with Bienemy calling plays. And with an improved passing game, that should create more openings for Robinson and the run game.

Riggo’s Rag

4 Commanders players under pressure to perform in Preseason Week 2 vs. the Ravens

These Commanders players need to show out on Monday Night Football.

K.J. Henry - Commanders DE/OLB

While there isn’t any immediate pressure on K.J. Henry’s roster spot next season, the rookie pass-rusher won’t want to be buried down the depth chart in 2023. Something that looks entirely possible depending on how he performs over the final two preseason games.

The Washington Commanders thought enough of Henry to trade up and acquire him as a fifth-round selection during the 2023 NFL Draft. His production throughout the preparation period has been solid if not spectacular, but others such as Efe Obada are clearly ahead and the recent emergence of seventh-rounder Andre Jones Jr. casts further doubt on the Clemson product’s role.

Jones is far exceeding expectations currently and is even getting work with Washington’s dominant first-string defense. This could end up with the Commanders getting another Day 3 draft gem, but it won’t do Henry’s chances of immediate involvement on the rotation any good whatsoever.

Getting plenty of reps into the defensive end would be wise over the next two preseason contests. The Commanders would get a broader indication of what they have in the player and can then mold a plan to maximize his first year in a professional environment as a result.

Drafting Henry was always done with the long-term in mind. But the edge presence needs to start producing the goods with others around him shining.

Sports Illustrated

Commanders’ QB Sam Howell On Jacoby Brissett: ‘Super Thankful’

Washington Commanders quarterbacks Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett have built a strong relationship.

Despite the two competing for the same position, Howell has built a strong relationship with the veteran quarterback.

“He’s awesome,” Howell said of Brissett. “I definitely got really lucky to have a guy like that in my corner. He came here to compete. He’s done a really good job not only for him coming here and competing, he’s here trying to help me. He’s been an awesome guy to have. He’s been an awesome friend to me. We have a great relationship, so I’m just super thankful to have a guy like that in the locker room.”

“There’s been so many guys here that have helped me and my development in my career that ultimately led to me to the position I’m in today,” Howell said.

Having Brissett as the backup and a mentor will only help Howell, who has only made one start in his NFL career. Brissett has started 48 games through his seven-year career, including 11 for the Cleveland Browns last season. The veteran quarterback’s presence can give Howell a perspective and insight that some coaches can’t.

Riggo’s Rag

4 critical observations from final open Commanders 2023 training camp practice

Saturday’s practice marked the end of fan involvement at Commanders’ training camp.

Commanders atmosphere shift

It was only fitting that the buzzing atmosphere continued to conclude the Washington Commanders’ public training camp sessions. A bumper crowd descended on Ashburn to mark the occasion, which also saw the team giving out free ice cream and other goodies to those in attendance throughout.

Players spent considerable time signing everything from shirts to Bye Dan beer cans after practice. There is a real sense of belonging and community across the Commanders these days, which is a stark contrast to the sparse audiences and complete disillusionment that enveloped the franchise during the previous owner’s 24-year reign of terror.

This feel-good factor might not seem like much, but the knock-on effect this might have cannot be ignored. The players look energized, head coach Ron Rivera is walking around with an extra spring in his step, and influential figures within the organization know exactly what their roles are under Josh Harris’ ownership group.

Again, that hasn’t always been the case. But this improved infrastructure might be enough to tip the scales in Washington’s favor during a make-or-break campaign for many.

Having fans back in their numbers was a refreshing change of pace. They had good reasons for staying away, but it’s clear their unrivaled passion for Commanders football never wavered.

Now, the important thing is giving them a product to be legitimately proud of.

Sports Illustrated

Will Commanders’ Logan Thomas Be Ready for Week 1?

Washington Commanders tight end Logan Thomas is currently dealing with a calf injury.

[W]ith the regular season approaching, how much time does Thomas need to ramp up before appearing in a game?

“The biggest thing with Logan’s going to be more about conditioning than anything else,” coach Ron Rivera said. “He’s been doing what he can as far as trying to keep himself conditioned. He’s been working in the weight room with the strength conditioning guys as well. He’s sharp. He’s already up to speed on what we’re doing offensively. And then once we get him back on the field it’ll be about getting his timing with the rest of the guys on the offense, especially with the quarterback too.”

Thomas caught 72 passes for 670 yards and six touchdowns in 2020, his first season in Washington. However, since then, he’s struggled to stay on the field. A calf strain cost him three games in 2022, which followed up a 2021 season where he was limited to just six games because of a hamstring strain and an eventual torn ACL in his left knee. Draft Sharks estimates that Thomas has an 80 percent chance to get injured in 2023, and projects that he’ll miss 3.31 games this season.

Commanders Wire

Rivera not happy with the way cornerback Danny Johnson was injured

For the first time Friday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera addressed how Johnson was injured, and he wasn’t happy.

“I’m upset with the way it happened,” Rivera said. ‘It’s just unfortunate, too, you know? And to what extent, we don’t know yet, and we won’t know anything until, well, they might know something now. I just haven’t had a chance to talk to [Head Athletic Trainer] Al [Bellamy], but you know, it’s unfortunate that did happen at all.”

Johnson re-signed with the Commanders in March and is a key reserve while maintaining his role on special teams.

We wonder if Rivera expressed his displeasure with Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

Sports Illustrated

RGIII Reacts to Commanders Move: ‘Slingin’ Sammy Howell!’

“Slinging Sam Howell,” RGIII writes ... and yes, we are going to work on the assumption that Griffin is aware of the greatness of “Slingin’ Sammy Baugh,”” arguably the greatest player in Washington franchise history.

After the Commanders announced Friday that Howell will be their Week 1 starter, Griffin posted a message on social media that the “kids nowadays” might not get.

“Slinging Sam Howell,” RGIII writes ... and yes, we are going to work on the assumption that Griffin is aware of the greatness of “Slingin’ Sammy Baugh,”” arguably the greatest player in Washington franchise history.

Baugh was Washington’s first-round draft pick in 1937, and he played 15 years with the team, leading the franchise to two NFL titles and becoming part of the very first class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Is that Howell’s destiny?

Podcasts & videos

Locked on Commanders: Washington Commanders Rookies Emmanuel Forbes and Quan Martin Looking to Bounce Back | Sam Howell


PHOTOS | Training Camp, Day 19
The Washington Commanders wrapped up camp with one final practice in front of the fans. Check out the best photos from Saturday morning.

Emilee Fails and Joe Noyes/Washington Commanders

NFC East links

Blogging the Boys

NFL’s emergency QB rule and how it could affect Cowboys roster decisions

The league’s allowance for an emergency third quarterback comes with stipulations that could affect someone’s job security.

Effective this season, NFL teams can designate an “emergency” quarterback from among their inactive players on game day. This player must already be on their official roster and not a call-up from the practice squad. He is only allowed to enter the game if the starter and backup are pulled for medical reasons. If one of them is cleared to return, QB3 has to go back to the sideline.

So, to be clear, the rule only allows teams to select their emergency QB and not have him count against the 46-man active roster for games. But he would still count against the official 53-man roster limit.

In a recently-released roster projection, Grier’s presence on the 53 left some readers perplexed. They cited the new rule as why, assuming that he was allowed to serve in this emergency role from the practice squad. But the rule is clear that the player cannot even be called up that week from the squad, having to be carried on the active roster to even be eligible.

You might have thought this rule already existed, and you’d have been right in the past. It was around about a decade ago but was eventually nullified by the NFL. So this provision is actually just reinstating a past rule after recent issues with QB injuries brought it back into league-wide discussion.

Bleeding Green Nation

Eagles vs. Browns: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Highlights and lowlights from Philadelphia’s second preseason game.

The record is irrelevant. What is relevant is how woeful back-up quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Eagles’ second offense looked in the first half. They should have taken a cue from Bruce Springsteen and called out sick.

“I was sloppy, I could do a better job of getting our guys operating cleaner and more efficiently,” said Mariota, taking accountability in assessing his performance. “That’s what preseason is for, getting some of that stuff ironed out, clean off some of the rust and find ways to get better.”

Mariota does not feel he has any mechanical issues. He said he missed throws. That was it.

The Eagles’ threes and fours put in a better effort than the twos. It is preseason, though it does not matter when poor play occurs. It is still poor play, which is never tolerated by any coach at any level of football at any time of the year.

The Eagles, with some exceptions, have not been close to seamless this summer. They did not play well in Baltimore last week, did not show well in the Tuesday joint practice against the Browns and in the first half against Cleveland.

The glaring, saving grace has been rookie quarterback Tanner McKee, who by the way he has played this training camp looks far, far better than Mariota.

2023 NFL preseason, Week 2: What We Learned from Saturday’s games

Overshown’s injury overshadows game. On a night when Deuce Vaughn juked his way into the end zone again and other young talents Jalen Tolbert and Rico Dowdle made noise, it was the loss of a rookie that will most likely reverberate into the season. Third-round linebacker DeMarvion Overshown’s knee injury, which appears serious and should require an MRI, occurred early in the first quarter, sidelining him for the rest of the game. Dallas will hope it’s not for the rest of the season. Overshown had shined in camp, per beat reporters, and could have seen time alongside Damone Clark and Jabril Cox. If the former Texas standout is done for the season, it removes a speed element from Dallas’ second level — and sidelines a high-ceiling player before his first season even kicks off.

Pro Football Talk

Reports: Cowboys fear DeMarvion Overshown tore his left ACL

Cowboys Nation held out hope it was a minor knee injury for Overshown since he walked off the field and later walked to the cart on the sideline.

But the Cowboys fear a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee of the rookie, according to multiple reports. Overshown will undergo an MRI on Sunday to confirm the initial diagnosis.

Big Blue View

Giants-Panthers ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review: Daniel Jones, Darren Waller edition

Which Giants played well, and which did not

Kudos to...

Kayvon Thibodeaux — The second-year edge defender had a sack, a tackle for loss, and a quarterback hit while playing just two series. He made the kind of play the Giants need him to make in the second quarter. With the Panthers at the Giants 10-yard line and knocking on the door of a game-tying touchdown, Thibodeaux sacked quarterback Bryce Young for a 7-yard loss. Carolina eventually settled for a field goal.

Wet Willies to ...

Matt Peart — Playing left tackle in relief of Andrew Thomas, Peart committed a pair of holding penalties in pass protection. One negated a 14-yard pass play. The other negated a 17-yard run by Jashaun Corbin. I don’t know what Pro Football Focus will think of Peart’s work. I just saw it as typically inconsistent, making him a difficult player to have faith in.

Fourth-quarter defense — The Giants gave up two fourth-quarter drives for touchdowns, turning a 21-3 lead into a tight 21-19 victory. Most of the players on the field for the Giants during those two drives won’t make the roster because, well, they played like they don’t deserve to make the roster.

NFL league links


Patriots-Packers game suspended after New England CB Isaiah Bolden carted off with injury

With 10:38 remaining, Bolden collided with teammate Calvin Munson on a short completion to Packers receiver Malik Heath. Medical personnel immobilized Bolden before placing him on a stretcher and transporting him from the field on a cart.

Bolden had feeling in all of his extremities, the team said in a statement after the game, and was taken to a local hospital in Green Bay for further tests and observation. The Patriots DB will be held there overnight for further observation.

With both teams gathered near Bolden on the playing surface at Lambeau Field, Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Packers coach Matt LaFleur met and agreed to end the game prior to the end of regulation. Officials made the announcement during the pause in action, suspending the game and effectively ending the contest at that point with the Patriots leading 21-17.