Camp observations, 7/28: Defense has its day and lets offense know it, too

Camp notes, 7/28: Defense has a day and lets offense know it originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

ASHBURN — Montez Sweat doesn’t appreciate being blocked by anything other than an offensive tackle and, on Thursday, he reminded the Commanders’ offense about that.

“Don’t send no tight end over!” Sweat yelled loud enough that you at home might’ve heard it after one rep in which he got into quarterback Carson Wentz’s face. Clearly, he was insulted by the lack of attention he was given on the edge.

It wasn’t the only instance in which the defense was vocal, as they largely shut down the offense during the second session of training camp.

Following a later pass break-up by seventh-rounder Christian Holmes, defensive backs coach Chris Harris hollered, “It’s that type of day today!” No one could quibble with that assessment.

Here are more observations from the two-hour practice…

  • The newsiest item of the day was Antonio Gandy-Golden’s sudden retirement. The 2020 fourth-round pick from Liberty, who was attempting to transition to tight end this summer, has chosen to end that pursuit and go back to school, according to Ron Rivera. Rivera acknowledged that he was surprised by AGG’s change of direction, though he supported the 24-year-old in the move. In his career, Gandy-Golden had just one catch for three yards. 

  • Before focusing on the offense’s shortcomings, let’s highlight a few more defensive stops. Sweat was a menace against both the run and pass, Cole Holcomb corralled a tipped-by-Kendall-Fuller pass for an interception and Jamin Davis very nearly made it two in a row on the sidelines immediately after. Percy Butler, meanwhile, joined Holmes as rookies to log a deflection when he swatted one away over the middle and William Jackson III was all over Cam Sims on a go-route. 
  • Carson Wentz’s completion percentage on Thursday would’ve been rather paltry, as evidenced by all of the compliments paid to the defense above. Now, he did offer up a gorgeous floater that Jahan Dotson ran under and secured against Benjamin St-Juste and he also found Dax Milne on a sweet back-shoulder throw. However, the majority of his dropbacks were unsuccessful, and the same goes for Taylor Heinicke. The quarterbacks will definitely be trying to redeem themselves on Friday.

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  • A very plugged-in source has informed NBC Sports Washington that John Bates is still trying to figure out whether to wear gloves or not this year. At times, Bates will be spotted sans gloves, and it has previously been rumored that he does so in an effort to avoid getting his hands too sweaty. Yet this source said Thursday that Bates is a bit of an “old soul” and might be catching pigskin with only skin in 2022. You’re welcome for this update.
  • Veteran Trai Turner wasn’t participating Thursday, which cleared the way for Saahdiq Charles to line up at guard with the starting offense. Antonio Gibson was once again sidelined as he keeps working back from his hamstring injury. Here’s a clip of Gibson going through some extremely light warmups before the official proceedings commenced: 
  • The Curtis Samuel Practice Tracker is up to two practices, as the awfully-important wideout was good to go again Thursday. He unleashed a sick juke on St-Juste after hauling in a quick hook that had the offense buzzing. 
  • Bobby McCain was at the podium Thursday and was asked about communication in the secondary, which is always a hot topic for that section of the defense. It’s pretty easy to understand what successful communication is, but what does bad communication look like? As he explained, if no one’s talking that’s usually an indicator. To him, identifying anything — from motion to a tendency that someone is noticing to any other number of comments — is paramount, and if it’s quiet, that’s a concern. Rivera sounded really pleased with how McCain and Kam Curl are getting along at safety in this department.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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