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.
For the Washington Football Team's rookie class, Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers will be their first real taste of being in an NFL game. They're done with the appetizer that was the preseason; now it's on to the four-course meal.
Veterans like Logan Thomas remember how he felt before his first game with the Arizona Cardinals. It's an emotional roller coaster that fellow tight ends Sammis Reyes and John Bates are about to get on. So, the captain has some advice for the rookies for how to survive the ride: don't take anything for granted.
"Don't get too high, don't get too low," Thomas said. "Definitely remember and cherish it, because you don't know how many opportunities you'll have in this league."
Thomas speaks from experience, because there were moments in his journey of switching from quarterback to tight end that he thought he had played in his last game. After completing his first NFL pass for an 81-yard touchdown, Thomas appeared in just one game over the next two seasons. It took two more seasons after he switched to tight end for him to be a more consistent member of a game day roster.
In 2020, Washington signed Thomas following a solid season with the Detroit Lions. More than 600 yards and a contract extension later, Thomas has become one of better tight ends in football.
"I'm thankful for the people I had around me," Thomas said.
Bates and Reyes likely won't have quite the same path as Thomas, but they are prepared for the official start of their respective careers. In Bates, Thomas has no reservations about what the former Boise State Bronco can do. He's settled into his role as a blocker -- a talent he consistently showed off in college.
Transitioning to the NFL is normally a tough task, Thomas said. Bates' intelligence has made things much easier.
"He doesn't have to worry about how to get lined up with what the defense is going to do on [a] play," Thomas said. "He understands all that stuff for him. It's just going out and playing and being as physical as possible, good hand placement, good feet and moving people."
Sunday will be a slightly different experience for Reyes, assuming he's on the game day roster. While Bates has years of experience to fall back on, Reyes has never been in any game that counted before. His preseason performance should provide him a confidence boost, though. In addition to making three catches, he's received props from Ron Rivera for his physicality as a blocker.
"I think it's his overall body makeup, chemistry," Rivera said. "He's a little bit of a bull in a china shop right now because he hasn't quite learned to focus his energy, but when he does, he's very powerful. He played with good leverage, he's got good core strength."
Washington wanted to revamp the tight end position this offseason. Reyes and Bates were part of that equation because of the tools that Rivera and his staff believe they can develop. Don't count on Rivera to reveal any secrets on how Washington plans to use them, but it should be reassuring to know he has confidence in them
"I like what they're doing. I think those kinds of guys are what you're looking for," Rivera said. "They each have their specific skillsets. They are really good with certain things and for them, it's just a matter of getting opportunities to grow."