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The All Things 2022 OTAs/Training Camp Thread


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Jamin Davis is making progress. The Commanders need that to continue.

 

Late in the second quarter of the Washington Commanders’ second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, linebacker Jamin Davis saw a play before it unfolded. The Chiefs tried to deceive the defense by motioning a receiver left to right and faking a jet sweep handoff — the exact type of eye candy that, in the past, might’ve sown just enough doubt in Davis’s mind to make him mistrust his read. He might have hesitated or even taken a step toward the jet sweep, forfeiting the milliseconds and fractions of space that separate success and failure in the NFL.

 
 

But this time, Davis recognized the deception and plunged into his gap at the line of scrimmage, where he met running back Isiah Pacheco and dropped him for a minimal gain.

While the preseason is an inherently flawed sample, and while he hasn’t made many splash plays, Davis feels like he has made enough good reads and quick reactions to help shed the frustrations of what he called a “humbling” rookie year. He’s starting to recognize himself on tape again.

 

“That’s Jamin Davis,” he said of the play against the Chiefs. “You want to get consistently there and make that your foundation, who you are as a player, versus like ‘Oh, he’s showing flashes, or who he can be as a player.’ F--- that. That’s me. … That’s literally me. [I’m] just going out there to get more comfortable, and [I’m] playing ball, bro. I didn’t get this far for nothing. That’s just how I’m thinking right now.”

One of the reasons Davis has felt more comfortable is his new role in the defensive scheme. During his rookie year, the first-round pick from Kentucky didn’t have an offseason program and struggled to master the challenging role of middle linebacker, which often caused him to be a step slow and led to a lessened role in the second half of the season.

This offseason, Washington moved Cole Holcomb to the ‘Mike’ role and Davis off ball, which lightens his responsibilities and should help his brain unlock his body. Davis still possesses remarkable athletic talents. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds, jumped 42 inches vertically and has a 79⅞-inch wingspan, all 95th percentile or higher measurements for a linebacker, according to mockdraftable.com.

 

If Davis can sustain his faster, freer play, it would provide a big boost to a defense trying to rebound from a disappointing 2021, more specifically in covering opposing tight ends and running backs.

Commanders running back J.D. McKissic, who is sometimes covered by Davis in practice, complimented his performance in camp: “He like a totally different player.”

“He is playing with more certainty and more confidence,” defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said of Davis. “When he’s locked in mentally and really understands where he belongs, he’s able to come to life. … We are going to need him to play well.”

 

Davis’s growth and consistency goes beyond the box score. On one running play in Washington’s preseason opener against Carolina, Davis met a lead blocker in a gap and forced the back to bounce outside, where a teammate was waiting for an easy tackle. Those subtle plays often go unnoticed but help the defense maintain its structural integrity while avoiding explosive plays.

 

For a player such as Davis — who was only a one-year starter in college — the lower-stakes reps he has taken this spring and summer have been crucial in his ability to feel the game slowing down. And as he has become more consistent, his teammates have grown to trust him more.

Last year, Holcomb said, Davis sometimes shied away from being vocal before the snap because he either lacked confidence in his read or because, if he changed the defense, his assignment would change, too, forcing him to think through a new responsibility. This year, Davis has been more self-assured.

“I’m proud of where Jamin’s at,” Holcomb said. “He’s giving me a lot of confidence. I don’t have to worry about him. I don’t have to think about him. He’s out there, and he knows what he’s doing.”

 

When Commanders Coach Ron Rivera talks about Davis, he often returns to a play from Week 3 last season at the Buffalo Bills. On fourth and two, Davis read running back Devin Singletary running a route out of the backfield and toward the flat. Davis broke on the throw and got to Singletary at about the same time as the ball; he tossed Singletary backward to stop the conversion.

That play, Rivera noted, was in man coverage. If the Commanders let Davis use his natural skills more, he might become the player they dreamed of when they selected him 19th overall.

Davis said he hears the criticisms of fans who think he is a bust or a waste of a first-round pick. He is motivated by them and says, “Just let ’em keep talking crazy.” But he sees himself on tape, and he wants everyone else to see it too. His play this preseason has given him confidence they will.

“Now,” he said, “it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s go show the world who I really am as a player.’ ”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2022/09/04/commanders-jamin-davis-progress/

Edited by Skinsinparadise
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50 minutes ago, Skinsinparadise said:

Now,” he said, “it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s go show the world who I really am as a player.’ ”

Nice puff piece, but until he backs it up on the field in meaningful games, it’s just that, a puff piece.  Hopefully he can put it together more this season.

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12 hours ago, Rex Tomb said:

Nice puff piece, but until he backs it up on the field in meaningful games, it’s just that, a puff piece.  Hopefully he can put it together more this season.

 

He had a good camp and good preseason accoriding to most.  So its not a pure puff piece.  But agree it needs to bleed into the season.  LB can be a slow burn spot t -- some LBs kill it from the jump but plenty don't and develop into really good players. 

Edited by Skinsinparadise
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Listened to some of Keim's latest podcast and an interview with Paulsen on Bram's show.  And Jay on the Junkies.  My takeaways.

 

Keim's podcast: Hailey and Parras and to some extent Keim are less optimistic after watching camp.  Hailey is in the 7-9 range.  Keim 8-10 -- said he used to think 10 but now thinks 9.   Fortier 8-10. Keim's concern is depth on the secondary.    Hailey who was once a these guys will win 10 games predictor thinks it more likely 8 and if he had to guess if they exceed average or do worse than average -- he thinks it more likely it goes worse.

 

Logan Paulsen is worried about the chemistry-coordination of the D line unit -- he doesn't think they look in sych, just like last season which creates rushing lanes, they mis time blitzes which exposes the secondary, etc.   @KDawg has pointed that out as a concern and he coaches defense.  Paulsen sees it the same way.  Keim also mentioned this as a concern.  Ditto Pete Hailey who thinks the D line is a bit overrated by the fans. 

 

Paulsen likes what he's sees from Jamin.  He thinks the CB-secondary will be improved.  

 

Jay really likes the weapons on this offense.  For starters he thinks it will be too much for Jax to handle in week 1.  Though he does think his 2016 roster had a better roster on offense versus this one. 

 

 

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I'm still surprised that the coaches made such a predictable and frustrating mistake with Jamin by starting him at MIKE last season.  Everyone knew his only real shot at early success was to play him in a run and hit weak side role, and his successful development should have been a priority from the beginning of last year.

 

If we are going to take the next step and go from 7 win team to 10-12 win team, then the coaches have to do a much better job in player development.  Right now it feels like Matsko and Hoerner were the only two doing a good job with development the first two years.

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1 hour ago, Going Commando said:

I'm still surprised that the coaches made such a predictable and frustrating mistake with Jamin by starting him at MIKE last season.  Everyone knew his only real shot at early success was to play him in a run and hit weak side role, and his successful development should have been a priority from the beginning of last year.

 

If we are going to take the next step and go from 7 win team to 10-12 win team, then the coaches have to do a much better job in player development.  Right now it feels like Matsko and Hoerner were the only two doing a good job with development the first two years.

 

This coaching staff has made many mistakes, so I'm not surprised at all.   

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1 hour ago, Going Commando said:

I'm still surprised that the coaches made such a predictable and frustrating mistake with Jamin by starting him at MIKE last season.  Everyone knew his only real shot at early success was to play him in a run and hit weak side role, and his successful development should have been a priority from the beginning of last year.

 

If we are going to take the next step and go from 7 win team to 10-12 win team, then the coaches have to do a much better job in player development.  Right now it feels like Matsko and Hoerner were the only two doing a good job with development the first two years.

 

As you might recall I spent a lot of time on Jamin before that draft.  I know you did too.  I liked Jamin's potential but he wasn't who I wanted at 19.  Like you, I wanted JOK.

 

Jamin to me screamed weakside LB.  Sideline to sideline speed and good open field tackler.  And had the atleticism to cover.  People loved to cite that play when he ran 20 yards down field with Kyle Pitts and stayed with him step by step.  I also thought he was a sneaky good (not great) pass rusher on the rare times they used him that way.  And I thought it was interesting to hear one of his Kentucky coaches thought about making him an edge rusher. 

 

But he was raw and wasn't strong at shedding and play recognition.  And he didn't call plays in college and he only had one year of experience.  So the idea of him becoming a Mike from the jump in the pros and calling plays struck me a bit crazy.  I gather they thought lets make it real hard on him from the jump where everything else would feel easier later.  But IMO the process can destroy a player's confidence.  I am gathering the move was born from arrogance.   I get the impression that was from Del Rio judging by comments this off season. By arrgoant meaning that I don't think it escaped them what Jamin's strengths and weaknesses were but I think they thought they can mold him into a Mike because both Del Rio and Rivera played LB.

 

I agree that was mismanaged and I said so months back.

 

As far as assistant coaches, the other one with a big rep is Ken Zampese.  I recall reading about him at the time of Jay's hire.  And he has a big rep in the league.  He did pretty well with Heinicke, undrafted FA, considering his talent.  Andy Dalton wasn't the same once he left Cincy.  Sam Howell according to some observing camp really evolved as camp progressed.  Should be interesting to see what he does with Wentz.   The DB coach, Harris, has been under consideration for defensive coordinator spots on other teams.  He has a good rep.  In camp, he's boisterous as heck.  Will see though how that unit does this year.  His first year they were good.  Last year nope.  This year there is some optimism again.  Will see. 

Edited by Skinsinparadise
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I watched some of that Kerrigan press conference, comes off to me very impressive.  Talked about working with each D lineman about their individual upcoming matchup with the O line.

 

I recall Chase Young saying Kerrigan was a tremendous help to him during his rookie season.  Keim speculated that the D line missed Kerrigan's mentorship last year.

 

I think this can end up a really good hire. 

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I hope Kerrigan can effectively coach the linemen especially at swatting down passes. To me he was one of the best at getting his hands up and even picking some off. 
 

Kam being hurt is worrisome but if he’s gonna miss a game it may as well be against Jacksonville. Evan Engram is their starting TE and he stinks so Forest should be able to cover him. Kirk is their slot and Kam isn’t an ideal defender against him because of his speed. I could see Percy on him instead of St Juste who’s not quick enough. 

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I laughed when they said the D-line might be overrated by the fans, when in my memory over the past two season, it's been the fans trying to temper expectations about the D-line down as it seems like while they've been good in spots, they've never lived up to being the *unit* people forecast them to be.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, skinsfan93 said:

Evan Engram is their starting TE and he stinks so Forest should be able to cover him.

Welp, now I fully expect our defense  to get lit up by him in critical moments of the game.  The jinx is real, especially with this team.

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This D-line has been playing together long enough now that I don't understand why the same "not playing as a unit" issue persist.  Is it a lack of coaching or just players that think too high of their own ability to out there and just do what they want on any given play? A combo of both?  I can understand how rookies would play like that, especially pass rushers coming out of college, but this D-line isn't a bunch of rookies anymore.

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10 minutes ago, NoCalMike said:

This D-line has been playing together long enough now that I don't understand why the same "not playing as a unit" issue persist.  Is it a lack of coaching or just players that think too high of their own ability to out there and just do what they want on any given play? A combo of both?  I can understand how rookies would play like that, especially pass rushers coming out of college, but this D-line isn't a bunch of rookies anymore.

I think it’s everyone but Jon Allen. Having said that, how is he not getting all over his fellow linemen if they start playing hero ball and stop doing their jobs?

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4 minutes ago, Rex Tomb said:

I think it’s everyone but Jon Allen. Having said that, how is he not getting all over his fellow linemen if they start playing hero ball and stop doing their jobs?

He is.  Why do you think he and Payne got into a fight in Dallas?  Jon is the only one holding his own and disciplined.  Everyone else on that D line has an ego the size of King Kong.  The fact that the D line has been such a massive underachiever is so freaking predictable.  It's so, so Redskins.   If they exhibit the same issues this year and it doesn't get fixed, it's seriously time to start trading a player or two.  

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22 hours ago, Voice_of_Reason said:

"Hand Picked implies that Ron REALLY wanted Wentz and Wentz was the plan all along. 

 

Given that definition, I don't think Wentz is Rivera's hand picked QB.  I think he was the best option available out of a bunch of worse options.  

 

I doubt very much, in fact we KNOW, that Wentz wasn't plan A.  Wilson was plan A, we know they offered a Godfather deal for Winston, and the Seahawks STILL said no.

 

Wentz was just better than Trubisky, Mariota or any of the other FA QBs, at the time Ryan wasn't available (we checked), and Baker wasn't either (the Watson trade hadn't happened yet.)

 

So, it was either Wentz or go into the draft and hopefully find a guy.  Clearly they weren't that high on any QB in the draft.  And the league in general wasn't that high on the QB class either. 

 

Having said ALL that, I think Jax is a must win game.  Jax and Detroit picked #1 and #2 in the draft.  We SHOULD be better than both of them.  THAT'S why it's a must-win game more than anything else.  


Im not saying what I thought. I’m saying what they’ve been saying.

 

And when holding people to account, I’m going to use their actual words. 🙂

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2022/09/04/carson-wentz-commanders-jaguars/

 

Rivera made it clear Wentz was “wanted” and not just the latest quarterback Washington settled for.

 

“I can tell you we really kind of looked under every rock in that situation and evaluated every possibility of a guy who even might move,” General Manager Martin Mayhew said. “So we did our due diligence, and Carson was the guy that we had consensus on.”

 

 

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