ASHBURN, Va. -- The majority of the offseason is behind us and the time for building the roster is moving steadily into the team-building phase for the Washington Commanders.
Organized team activities (OTAs) presented the first opportunity for us to see the new NFL players joining the veterans, and finally, we can talk about what we've seen from quarterback Carson Wentz instead of what we've heard.
Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz (No. 11) throws to receiver Curtis Samuel (No. 10) during Tuesday's OTA practice.
Washington Commanders quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Sam Howell, Taylor Heinicke, and Cole Kelley
Washington Commanders quarterback, Carson Wentz
What we saw from Wentz is about what we expected.
Improved arm talent over last year's starting quarterback was obvious from the very beginning.
As much as I'd like that to not be a slight against Taylor Heinicke, he left several passes hanging on Tuesday, behind, and off-target. All of which immediately brought 2021's offensive struggles back with a vengeance.
Sticking to the positive though, Wentz put the ball all over the field and did so with confidence. No, not everything was completed and not every pass was perfect but none are, especially on Day 1.
Coach Ron Rivera was happy with what he saw from his new starting quarterback and even threw some praise towards rookie quarterback Sam Howell, who didn't look out of place running the third-team offense.
Another positive to see on the field Tuesday was the physical presence of players who we didn't see much of at all or late last season.
Curtis Samuel was one of the first faces I looked for upon arriving at the practice field, and once I found him, I waited with anticipation to see him running drills and routes as much as possible.
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In fact, not only did Samuel participate in everything, run every route, and make plays, but he looked really good doing it.
It's clear Washington plans on picking up on the plan they had for incorporating Samuel into the offense last season, only now they figure to have a better pool of talent to go with him, in 2022.
The combination of Samuel, rookie Jahan Dotson, and second-year receiver Dyami Brown was an intriguing trio, and certainly, looks like they could become a solid set of weapons for Wentz this season.
Eventually, adding Terry McLaurin to that mix will make the group downright dangerous.
Finally, rookie camp standouts running back Brian Robinson Jr. and tight end Cole Turner didn't jump off the field the way they did among their fellow freshmen, but they didn't look like rookies in their first full practice with veteran teammates in the NFL either.
Washington Commanders coach, Ron Rivera
Washington Commanders receiver, Curtis Samuel
This first glimpse of the team is just that, a glimpse. It's a solid baseline to use when observing follow on practice sessions, which we'll do next week.
If the Washington Commanders are going to make noise in the NFC East this season, they'll start getting the band together here.
Tight end Logan Thomas (ACL) and Sammis Reyes, and centers Chase Roullier (left leg) and Tyler Larsen (Achilles) were all seen working on the side field.
Meanwhile, McLaurin remains out as the player and team continue to work towards a contract extension.