The Washington Football Team wrapped up training camp on Thursday in Ashburn, Virginia, ahead of the final preseason game.
With the NFL playing only three preseason games this year, the opportunities for players on the bubble have been reduced by one game.
Final cutdown day on Tuesday is looming, and with most positions already decided for Washington, there are a few things to look for on Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens.
Head coach Ron Rivera has treated this week like a regular season dry run.
From practice routines to meetings to game planning, the coach wants his team to get used to the routine of a regular season. In the past, this third preseason game was also used as a dry run as far as playing time is concerned.
Will that change this year, being that this is the final game of the summer?
Rivera was noncommittal when asked about his starters.
“The starters will play what we think they need to play,” he said.
That could mean a number of things for the quarterbacks. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t do much in practice on Thursday, so that means he might not play at all. Taylor Heinicke might not play either.
Kyle Allen needs to play as he gets back from the injury from a year ago, so he might get a lot of the work, along with Steven Montez.
If Rivera is pleased with what he’s seen from his first team offense, then we might not see the likes of Antonio Gibson or Terry McLaurin either.
In the backfield, Jaret Patterson could get a lot of work along with DeAndre Carter and Jonathan Williams. Patterson has emerged as a fan favorite and has caught the eyes of coaches this summer.
His play speaks for itself and should be enough to make the roster along with Peyton Barber, Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. Carter and Williams could be on the outside looking in.
The tight end position became a little clearer on Thursday when the team released Temarrick Hemingway. Hemingway started camp strong but then had a subpar game against New England followed by an injury.
Sammis Reyes has been one of the most fascinating stories in the NFL this summer. He migrated from Chile to play basketball and didn’t begin playing football until the early 2020s. He’s a big, physical player who has a shot to make the roster.
Logan Thomas is the starter, and there’s a good chance John Bates makes the team, as well. The other spot could go to Ricky Seals-Jones.
On defense, there aren’t many question marks heading into the final week. The only surprises could be in the secondary, where there are approximately 13 guys playing for 10 to 11 spots.
Keep an eye out for Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke, Jeremy Reaves and Danny Johnson. All have played roles in the defense in past years, but there could be a couple of cuts among this group.
Coaches value roster construction differently. There are different ways to approach it, and Rivera has to weigh the options of keeping players who can help immediately, in addition to finding players who are going to take time.
“That’s one of the things that we have to take into consideration as we go through building the roster,” Rivera said. “We have some guys that are immediate players. But, you also have to say, ‘Well, as we get to the bottom part of the roster, is right now better for us or is looking to the future better for us?'”
After Saturday, the team will have two weeks to get ready for the opener. While there are questions to be answered in the finale, the main objective on Saturday night is to come out of it healthy.
A couple of other notes:
- Wide receiver Curtis Samuel and cornerback William Jackson III continue to work their way back from injury. Rivera is “optimistic” that both will be back next week.
- We know that wins and losses don’t mean a thing in the preseason, but for the Ravens that might be a little different. Baltimore has won 19 straight preseason games.