Washington Commanders linebacker retires; Carson Wentz struggles


For the second time in as many weeks, a Washington Commanders player has abruptly retired. Coach Ron Rivera said Friday that Tre Walker, an undrafted rookie linebacker from the University of Idaho, told him retirement was “something [he had] think. There were some things he wanted to go back to, so he decided it was time to move on.

Rivera said two retirements in training camp were not unusual.

“It happens,” he added. “It really happens.”

While the departure of an undrafted rookie may seem minor, this one is notable. Walker had a real shot at making the roster. Since the draft, Rivera has maintained that the team isn’t chasing a veteran linebacker because they want more shots for three promising rookies (Walker, Notre Dame’s Drew White and Southern Illinois’ Bryce Notree).

But now, after Walker’s retirement and White’s torn ACL, only Notree remains. Washington has six other linebackers on the roster, with a clear hierarchy between first tier (Cole Holcomb and Jamin Davis), second (David Mayo and Khaleke Hudson) and third (De’Jon Harris and Milo Eifler). Washington ran a goal-line package on Friday with Holcomb and Mayo, not Davis, on the field, but it didn’t continue to 11-on-11.

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“Good, [this is] obviously going to make us look [linebackers]“, Rivera said.”[Walker’s] a young man that we liked, that we thought had abilities. Really good band coming out of Idaho. It’s unfortunate, but if the young man has something else he wants to do, then he will go on and do it.

Washington doesn’t have many options to improve one of its weakest positions. Dallas got one of the best linebackers left on the market Thursday by signing Anthony Barr to a one-year deal worth an estimated $3 million. If COs are targeting veterans, candidates could include Joe Schobert, AJ Klein and Reggie Ragland.

Wide receiver Curtis Samuel (conditioned), cornerback William Jackson III (hamstring), right guard Trai Turner (quads), defensive end James Smith-Williams (hip), tight end John Bates ( calf), tight end Sammis Reyes (hamstring) and wide receiver Dyami Brown were among those who missed part or all of practice.

Rivera said swing tackle Cornelius Lucas, who remains on the list of non-football-related illnesses, is “doing well.”

During individual drills, tight end Cole Turner ran across the wet grass and winced in pain after a cut, appearing to favor his left leg. In 11-on-11, safety Percy Butler hit Turner hard on a short drive, and Turner limped off, clutching his left hamstring. Turner sat in the medical tent and Bates, who has yet to practice during camp, came to sit next to him. Turner eventually returned to the field.

Sloppy attack during physical drills on the goal line

During the first camp drill on Washington’s padded goal line, the offense looked sloppy, with multiple drops and turnovers. On a fourth-and-goal situation, running back Antonio Gibson and quarterback Carson Wentz missed the rally, and Gibson fumbled. On another, a pass escaped the hands of reserve running back Reggie Bonnafon and landed in the hands of reserve corner Channing Stribling.

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In other periods, Gibson fumbled again, running back Jonathan Williams fumbled, and corner Kendall Fuller dropped a potential interception that Wentz threw directly at him. Some of the inaccuracy may be due to personnel. An example: Because so many tight ends were injured, undrafted rookies Curtis Hodges and Armani Rogers took the majority of first-team reps.

Wentz looked the whole camp up and down, and he visibly struggled on Friday. This was most evident during seven-on-seven. In past practices, Wentz has typically shone in seven-on-seven, even when he later struggled in drills with a pass rush (nine-on-nine or 11-on-1). 11). But on Friday, Wentz missed several easy throws seven-on-seven, including a short en route to Terry McLaurin that Wentz jumped behind wide.

Even when offensive coordinator Scott Turner tried to plan easier looks for Wentz, like during game action or a bootleg, he couldn’t find a rhythm. Once, as defensive end Montez Sweat was chasing Wentz on a bootleg, Sweat yelled something that could be interpreted as a taunt or real advice: “Get rid of it! Get rid of it!

Scherff downplays Washington reunion

On Thursday, Jacksonville reporters asked right guard Brandon Scherff if he felt any extra motivation to face his former team in the season opener. Washington drafted Scherff fifth in 2015 and scored him twice in the franchise before letting him walk in March.

“Actually, not really,” Scherff said. “I had a great time and a great experience in Washington, and I wouldn’t be here without all the coaches I played with…over there. For me, Week 1 is another game that I have to prepare for, and, you know, we just have to show up and get ready to play because they’re a hell of a team.

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