The regular season is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its second season under head coach Ron Rivera. Stay up to date with "WFT Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.
Rookie wide receiver Dyami Brown might need to take on a bigger role during Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers, but Ron Rivera has no reservations on whether the former Tar Heel can handle it.
"He's a big play waiting to happen," Rivera told reporters Wednesday.
It's disappointing that Curtis Samuel, who was placed on Injured Reserve Friday afternoon, will not be on the field for the regular season opener. It's not crippling to the Washington Football Team's game plan, though. Brown is part of why Rivera's confidence hasn't wavered this past week, and that's because the third-round pick has taken big strides in the past month.
"He came in very polished," said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. "And we've talked about that just in terms of his approach in terms of how professional he is, the stuff that he learned, and how quickly he did it and then how he's able to carry it over to training camp."
Brown's biggest strength at North Carolina was his knack for winning matchups downfield. It's part of what made Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner so enamored with him. Don't try to look for a clip of him dropping one of his 49 contested targets at North Carolina, because it doesn't exist.
It took some time, but eventually he was getting open for 30- to 40-yard bombs in practice more often. Fans got a taste of that against the Bengals, when Fitzpatrick aired out a 29-yard shot to Brown down the right sideline that set Washington up for a field goal.
"I think it is just part of my game," Brown said after the 17-13 preseason victory. "It's not just showing that I can do it. I have been doing it and it comes natural."
No one had questions about what Brown could do downfield; the same could not be said for how he handled intermediate routes and operating in other spots besides the left side of the offense, where he spent almost all of his time with the Tar Heels. Brown knew it was something he needed to improve in order to be a more complete receiver, so he worked at it all offseason with his high school receivers coach.
That work, in addition to what he showed in practice, caught Fitzpatrick's attention.
"I'm not worried about him at all going out there and making plays," Fitzpatrick said. "He'll be a guy, whoever is in or out of the lineup, that's going to be a guy that's going to make a lot of plays for us this year."
Washington's offense requires its receivers to move around the field, so Brown has gotten a daily dose of playing at different spots in formations. Rivera hasn't seen Brown display any issues with it. In fact, he's been above average.
"He hasn't missed a beat," Rivera said.
Washington will need Brown's flair for making big plays against the Chargers' ninth-ranked passing defense. It can just be on "go routes," though. He'll need to be the complete receiver he's strived to become. Sunday will be a measuring stick for him to see where he's at.
"For me, it's more than just deep routes," Brown said in August. "It's on the film, so now...I have to make that short route, a deep route as well. Take a slant for 80 yards or get a curl and take it for 60 and make all routes the same."