Training Camp 2022 is officially over.
The Washington Commanders held a final walk-through on Thursday ahead of its last preseason game of the summer on Saturday in Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium against the Ravens.
Head coach Ron Rivera and his coaching staff have to trim the roster down to 53 players by Aug. 30. Saturday’s contest is the last chance for some players to make their final case to make the team.
There aren’t many spots up for grabs, with most of the roster pretty much set. But, for the ones still on the bubble, Rivera had a message ahead of Saturday’s game.
“Just make sure you’re ready,” he said Thursday. “This is an example of opportunities for young guys to really show us what they’re capable of. There’s two preseason games of tape for them to watch.
“There’s an opportunity to get to know who their opponent is. I would like to hope and believe that these guys are doing the extra things that they need to give themselves the opportunity to play their best.”
Rivera reiterated that the starters would see “very, very, very limited” action against Baltimore. In last year’s third preseason game against the Ravens, the Commanders’ starters didn’t play at all.
Washington fans will surely see a lot of Sam Howell as the rookie quarterback will get most of the snaps on Saturday.
“I like to see him continue with his preparation, the way he’s paid attention, and the way he’s getting into things,” Rivera said. “He’s always done that, but now is an opportunity because he’s going to play a lot, to take a little more time and really get a chance to look.”
Perhaps the final preseason game’s biggest storyline is that the Ravens have won 22 straight preseason games. They haven’t lost a preseason game since 2016.
Is this a big deal? Is it a fluky stat? Either way, it’s pretty impressive.
So, with everything on the line for some of his players, does Rivera think about ending Baltimore’s streak heading into Saturday?
“Yeah, you want to. You go into every game expecting to win,” Rivera said. “Good for them. It’s their thing. It’s what they’re doing. They come out, and they play in a specific way. Good for them.
“Our job is to go out and make sure our guys are playing, growing and getting better as football players. Like I said, you play every game to win.”