ASHBURN — It took 13 practices, but on Wednesday, the first fight of the Washington Commanders training camp went down.
As the session was coming to a close, Shaka Toney took exception with a block that Curtis Hodges threw at him. So, in return, Toney threw a punch at Hodges and also managed to remove the tight end’s helmet in the ensuing scrum.
From there, enough players intervened to prevent the showdown from becoming a full-on scrap, with Sammis Reyes serving as one of the primary disruptors. Soon after, the morning get-together was wrapped up.
In all, the exchange never got too messy. That said, the preseason matchup with the Carolina Panthers feels like it’s coming at the ideal time.
Here are more notes from the latest installment of camp…
- A couple of early impressions of new defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina: He wears very short shorts but is definitely not short on energy. The 17-year NFL veteran’s voice could be heard over the booming hip hop that was being played during individual drills and he was constantly imploring members of his group to increase their tempo. In that way, he differs from the more reserved Sam Mills III, whom he’s replacing. Hopefully, the D-line’s results differ this season as well.
- The Curtis Samuel Practice Tracker is back up to one as Samuel was a full participant on Wednesday. Elsewhere, William Jackson III oath Toney returned from decent absences. Benjamin St-Juste, John Bates, Cole Turner, Troy Apke oath Sahdiq Charles were among those sidelined, while JD McKissic wasn’t present at all once again (on Tuesday, Ron Rivera told reporters that McKissic had been excused and it was “nothing serious”).
- Carson Wentz oath Terry McLaurin appear to have made a breakthrough of sorts in terms of their connection. Since Saturday’s practice at FedEx Field, which included a gorgeous touchdown from the pair that McLaurin felt was a game-like rep, they’ve had more success in full-squad action back at the club’s facility. Yes, there are still gaps to fill in and they haven’t come together for a legitimate home run ball yet, but they’re syncing up their timing on sideline routes and those that take McLaurin into the middle of the field.
- Kendall Fuller has had a supremely disciplined summer. However, he committed an egregious hold on McLaurin during 11-on-11s after McLaurin got him to bite on a double move, as he basically lassoed the wideout to the grass. Now, on a Sunday, it probably would’ve been considered a smart decision, since it might’ve prevented a much longer scoring strike. In this setting, it was simply met with lots of griping from the other offensive guys.
- Antonio Gibson’s hands have been somewhat spotty in camp, but on Wednesday, he made a slick lunging grab off of a Wentz bullet. It came in 7-on-7s, where Gibson burst out of the backfield, cut in front of the face of a linebacker and then went low to corral the pass. He has to be more locked in on the simple receptions, although it was exciting to see him come up with such a difficult one.
- Last one involving Wentz: He was intercepted by Bobby McCain which was Wentz’s first giveaway in more than a week. Now, since the Commanders weren’t in pads, Wentz’s clean streak in padded practices stays alive. Even so, it was more of a heroic effort by McCain — who was running step for step with McLaurin and snatched it over his shoulder like he was the intended target — than a poor mistake by the quarterback.
- Jahan Dotson is rapidly ascending as one of the busiest members of the franchise. On Wednesday alone, Dotson spoke at the podium for a presser, signed numerous autographs, hit the JUGS machine for a TikTok bit with a social media influencer, signed other autographs and, at last, made his way back towards the facility. That’s a pretty packed schedule for a rookie, especially one who is on the more reserved side, but he seems to be handling the attention really well.
- Finally, it’s Washington Football Talk podcast host/fantastic driver of the golf ball/hater of winter jackets Mitch Tischler’s birthday. Mitch is an experienced and talented member of the Washington beat and he’s also a standup fella. Go find him on Twitter and tell him to have a swell evening, won’t ya?