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Training Camp Notebook: Benjamin St-Juste Brings The Juice

St_Juste
Benjamin St-Juste makes the one-handed interception while working against Terry McLaurin in red zone drills. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.

The rain was coming down Monday morning, but that didn't stop Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team from practicing outdoors instead of retreating to the bubble.

Here are some key observations from the second practice of the week.

-- The 1-on-1 competitions between wide receivers and defensive backs made a return on Monday. The usual matchups between Dyami Brown and Benjamin St-Juste as well as Terry McLaurin and Kendall Fuller were featured in the session, but there were also other pairings of players that don't normally appear. This was the case with Milne, a slot receiver, and St-Juste, who almost exclusively lines up on the outside. The former BYU Cougar got the better of St-Juste today, as he displayed quickness at the top of his route before completing the reception. Moments like that are why Milne has caught Rivera's attention.

-- While the skill players started the day in 7-on-7 drills, the offensive and defensive linemen were on the other side of the field running 1-on-1 pass rush drills. Matt Ioannidis, the team's best interior pass-rusher in 2019, stood out often while working against Chase Roullier and Wes Schweitzer. He showed his strength against Schweitzer with a bull rush that pushed the guard back about three yards, and later he put his hand work on display with a quick swim against Roullier. Washington's pass rush was already dominant while Ioannidis was on Injured Reserve. Having him back should make it even better.

-- There was some great synergy between Roullier and Brandon Scherff during team drills today. Antonio Gibson was running to outside and looking to turn upfield, and he finally found some room thanks to his center and guard giving some exemplary reach blocks. That gave Gibson enough of a crease to run up the sideline for a positive gain. Roullier is coming off one of the best seasons in his career, while Scherff was recently featured on the NFL's Top 100 Players of 2021. Moments like that are small, but they show why both players are two of the best offensive linemen at Washington's disposal.

-- St-Juste might have made the play of the day during red zone drills while working against Terry McLaurin. Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to lob the ball over St-Juste's head in the end zone, but apparently that wasn't in the cornerbacks plans. St-Juste leaped and made the one-handed interception before taking a knee for a touchback. St-Juste has had an impressive camp thus far and has started to get more playing time with the starting defense. What's interesting is that Rivera thinks he can get more out of the rookie. With his size and length, Rivera thinks St-Juste is just scratching the surface of what he can be.

-- Practice was a bit soggier than normal to start the day, but the deluge didn't seem to bother Rivera or the players. They actually found a way to turn the weather into a lesson. Rivera said after practice that he wanted to give his players a little experience working in the elements, because there's a good chance they'll experience some sort of external adversity during the season. It would be nice to be warm and dry in the bubble, but Rivera would rather go through a little discomfort if it means his team will be ready for the regular season.

-- There's a serious side to Fitzpatrick -- McLaurin said the quarterback is direct about what he wants in the huddle -- but the signal-caller also knows how to have fun under the right circumstances. As the team was wrapping up the final segment of the day, Fitzpatrick delivered an end zone strike to DeAndre Carter. That caused Fitzpatrick to run down the offense's sideline and meet Logan Thomas to give him a chest bump. It's been clear over the past few weeks that Fitzpatrick knows how to direct an offense, but he also knows how to have fun and build chemistry with his teammates.

-- Interceptions have started to become a regular occurrence for Torry McTyer, as he grabbed another pick against Taylor Heinicke for the second day in a row. McTyer was last playing for the Bengals in 2019 but did not appear in a game last season. He's never had a regular season interception in his career. McTyer has looked stronger every day, and the stretch he's on makes a strong case for why he belongs on the initial 53-man roster in September.

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