WFT camp notes: Two stars remain sidelined while the kicking unit has a hiccup

Hailey's notes: Two stars remain out and kicking unit has a hiccup originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

As their date with the seriously-streaking Ravens looms, Washington put in another 90 minutes worth of work at their home facility on Wednesday. 

Though the starters on both sides of the ball still got their fair share of action, the backup and third-string units were also heavily involved. Perhaps that is a hint of what’s to come from Ron Rivera’s squad at FedEx Field this weekend.

As for a review of what the coach’s bunch did on Wednesday, head right this way…

  • Here are a few items that have become routine at camp for Washington: The quarterbacks wear yellow jerseys, the sun never gives up and Curtis Samuel and William Jackson III trot over to the side fields for agility and light exercising once practice begins. Samuel came off of the PUP list on Aug. 15, but after doing individual drills that day, he hasn’t practiced in any capacity since. Jackson III, meanwhile, has a leg issue that’s preventing him from gelling with the rest of the secondary. “We’re pretty optimistic that some time next week we’ll have them out there,” Rivera said in his daily presser. Sure, Week 1 is still 18 days away, but that number is shrinking more and more and the receiver and corner just keep missing out. Maybe their absences won’t prove to be a huge deal come the opener, but it feels like there will at least be some level of consequence because of them.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick opened his afternoon up by dropping a deep shot right into the arms of Terry McLaurin, who came down with it in between Kam Curl and Torry McTyer. Back in late July, McLaurin told reporters that he’d like to get back to registering those game-changing catches he became known for as a rookie. Of course, there were many factors at play in 2020, but his yards-per-catch average did dip about three yards (from 15.8 to 12.9) from his rookie campaign to his second one. He and Fitz have linked up for their fair share of 40- and 50-or-so yarders this summer, so betting on McLaurin to raise his YPC in 2021 appears to be a smart bet.
  • Now, in the interest of transparency and accurate recapping, Fitzpatrick had a later throw that zoomed right over the head of Dyami Brown and directly to Bobby McCain, who converted the QB’s mistake into an interceptionJust prepare yourself now for a couple of those this fall and winter, because they’re coming. 
  • In a mid-session kicking period, Dustin Hopkins went 4-for-6 on his field-goal attempts. He hit the right upright on his first try, which came from about 40 yards out. After that, he was good from 35, 40 and 33. His next kick came from 43, which he once again banged off the right upright. However, Camaron Cheeseman’s snap was a low one that Tress Way had to battle with before placing it down. Hopkins then finished by hitting a 45-yarder. The trio of specialists handled their three short kicks in their most recent preseason outing, but this particular stretch wasn’t their best. Hopefully, they once again take care of business against the Ravens on Saturday.
  • With Steven Sims in Buffalo now, the remaining punt returners are DeAndre Carter, Dax Milne and Isaiah Wright (Jaret Patterson seems to be relegated to just serving as a kick returner for now). Carter and Milne might be neck-and-neck as they contend for that last receiver spot, with Wright probably a step or two behind them. But still, any sort of highlight — or lowlight, for that matter — in the Baltimore contest could be a deciding factor when it’s time for Washington to trim its depth chart down for the regular season. While all three got reps at returning on Wednesday, they’re only asked to field the punt and take a couple of steps forward. There is no simulating the real thing at camp.
  • With Casey Toohill still not healthy enough to suit up, could Daniel Wise sneak into a backup defensive end role for Washington? The 25-year-old Kansas product has yet to log a meaningful minute as a pro but he has spent time with the Cowboys and Cardinals franchises in the past and he’s standing out a bit with the Burgundy and Gold (NBC Sports Washington’s Mitch Tischler thinks Wise’s rise has been going on for a couple of weeks now). He took the field early on versus Cincinnati, recovered a fumble and does hold his own in 1-on-1s with the offensive linemen in Ashburn. The exhibition finale matters quite a bit for his future, but at a minimum, he seems like a logical fit for the practice squad.
  • Coordinator Jack Del Rio was awfully complimentary of what McTyer’s done at camp, explaining to the media that the reserve corner has pleasantly surprised the staff with his consistent performance. It was the type of praise that came across as more significant than your typical presser remarks.

Tune into NBC Sports Washington at 5 PM on Saturday for Washington Football Kickoff Live starts as the WFT takes on the Baltimore Ravens in the final preseason game.

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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