It might have been the best weather day for a training camp practice in a long, long time: overcast with a nice breeze and temperatures in the high 70s for Monday morning’s session.
Day Five of Commanders training camp saw the return of running back Antonio Gibson to team drills. And for the third straight day, wide receiver Curtis Samuel missed part of practice.
Curtis Samuel working out on side field
After playing only five games a year ago because of a groin injury, and touching the football only 10 times, wide receiver Curtis Samuel did not practice Monday and was working out on the side field.
“This is all about the plan,” head coach Ron Rivera said.
“I know he and [head athletic trainer Al Bellamy] talked a little bit and there was some concern as far as just his overall football conditioning in shape. You can train all you want, you can condition all you want, but coming back and doing some of the things that we want him to do, we gotta be smart with it. Al and his guys have a plan with Curtis. We’re gonna stick to the plan.”
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Rivera insists that this has nothing to do with last year’s groin injury, and there is still plenty of time before the opener. But it’s hard not to completely ignore the fact that he isn’t practicing fully everyday and was complaining about his hamstrings and lower back being sore and tight, according to Rivera.
“One of the things that we wanted to do is we wanted to make sure that we brought him back the right way,” Rivera said. “What’ll happen is you’ll see, they’ll ramp up and they’ll slow it back down. They’ll ramp up. There’ll be times when he’s interacting, getting some of the 11-on-11 work,
stuff like that. But it’s all part of the plan with the ultimate goal is really the regular season more than anything else.”
Samuel signed a three-year, $34.5 million contract before the start of last season.
Antonio Gibson back in team drills
After “ramping up” for the first four days of practice, Antonio Gibson returned to 11-11 team drills on Monday.
“I feel great,” he said. “Finally good to be back. Just worked my way into it.”
Gibson has been nursing a hamstring injury that he suffered in the spring. He enters Year Three and reports to camp about 10 pounds lighter. After rushing for 1,000 yards in his first two seasons, Gibson hopes the weight loss will help his explosiveness.
“Mostly, just wanted to eliminate the injuries,” he said. “I’ve been battling with that for two years. This year, my goal is to get through the season injury-free. But the explosiveness — of course if you are lighter, you are more tone fit. You can get in and out of cuts quicker, you can go to distance.”
The head coach agreed about the weight loss.
“With him it’s about quickness,” he said. “Part of it too is I think it helps him in terms of his conditioning and getting in shape a lot quicker as well. Today he came out and looked pretty spry.”
Not a great day for the quarterbacks
Carson Wentz and the quarterbacks didn’t have the best of days, throwing five interceptions during team drills on Monday. On one series, Wentz threw picks on back-to-back passes as Kendall Fuller and Kam Curl intercepted the quarterback.
Taylor Heinicke threw an interception two plays later to rookie Percy Butler.
Rookie Sam Howell also threw an interception in red zone team work toward the end of practice.
Not taking anything away from the defense, which has had a really good start to camp.
Plus, the pads aren’t even on yet.
Ryan Kerrigan, the coach?
After signing a one-day contract and retiring as a member of the Washington Commanders organization over the weekend, Ryan Kerrigan was back on the practice field Monday.
No, he was not playing but could be getting his feet wet as a coach.
Kerrigan mentioned that he might want to try and get into coaching, so Rivera said they put together a plan to help with the defensive ends for a couple weeks to see if it’s something that he wanted to pursue.
The coach said, “See what the grind is all about, see if it works for you.”
Pads come out on Tuesday
Tuesday marks the sixth practice of camp and the first day the pads can be put on.
“The intensity is going to be high because it always is,” Rivera said. “We just have to be smart in terms of making sure that we’re careful to do things the right way. We don’t want to get anyone hurt.”