Former defensive end Dexter Manley popped in to the Washington Football Team's first official training camp practice Wednesday and immediately liked what he saw. And felt.
“It’s a new energy here,” Manley said. “I think they’re on the up-rise.”
Talking with Washington’s Senior Vice President Julie Donaldson, Manley got excited when the topic turned to WFT's defensive front. Washington’s defensive line has caught the eyes of many around the NFL with players like Chase Young and Montez Sweat. The two-time Super Bowl champion pointed out how many offenses already don’t know who to block Washington’s defensive line. He said if you triple-team Young, then just as talented players like Sweat or Jonathan Allen will have an advantage.
“They have a hell of a front seven,” Manley said. “That front seven has the opportunity to be better than the era I was in."
Manley recorded 97.5 sacks during a nine-year career that landed him in Washington's Ring of Fame. Washington's 1980s' pass rush that also featured Charles Mann and Darryl Grant is considered the best in franchise history and produced two championships.
Week 3 NFL Games for Washington Football Team Fans to Watch
Every game counts, and these are the biggest for WFT fans, in Week 3
Which Bills DB Should Washington Target?
Tre'Davious White is the name you know, but is he the best so far in 2021?
How To Watch: Washington at Buffalo - Defense Must Improve
Washington goes on the road for the first time this season Sunday against Buffalo
Manley, named All-Pro in 1986, said he was also impressed by receiver Terry McLaurin, in particular McLaurin’s dash to stop Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith’s near-pick six last Thanksgiving.
“He’s a complete football player,” Manley said. “He’s excellent off the field.”
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy has taken notice of Washington quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s high IQ. He even went on to compare Fitzpatrick to a former Washington great.
“Joe [Theismann] was a very smart quarterback,” Manley said. “He knew where everybody needed to be and I think this guy can do the same.”
Manley said that out of all the teams in the NFL, he appreciates how Washington embraces its current and past players.