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Training Camp Notebook: Competition At Its Finest

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Chase Young makes a leap to knock down a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

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

If there was a theme for Washington's third practice of training camp, it would be competition. 

Sure, the players are trying to compete every day, but that point seemed to be emphasized Friday morning with wide receivers battling it out with defensive backs during 1-on-1s as well as the offensive and defensive lines trying to get the upper hand.

It's important to point out, though, that the motivation was still to help each other improve. The offense and defense had their positive and negative plays, but everything was used as a teachable moment to prepare for the season.

Here are some observations from today's practice.

-- As mentioned above, Friday morning offered the first opportunity for fans to see receivers and defensive backs matchup in 1-on-1 drills. Several of the wideouts came down with the ball, including Kelvin Harmon, who made a leaping grab and held the ball in the air to prove he made the reception, getting some cheers from the crowd. Terry McLaurin got the better of William Jackson III on a slant, and Dyami Brown ended the drill matched up against Kam Curl. Troy Apke provided solid coverage, but the rookie still managed to haul in the pass.

-- It can be difficult during this period of camp to appreciate how well the defense is playing outside of a big play. Hitting is not allowed, so many of what would be tackles can't be played out until next week. With that being said, there are moments like the first interception of the day that are great examples of teamwork. Cole Holcomb tipped a pass from Kyle Allen, which allowed Cole Luke to grab the pick and sprint to the end zone. As usual, it got the now-expected congratulations from Chris Harris, who sprinted across the field to give Luke some props.

-- Ron Rivera brought up after Thursday's practice how Chase Young likes to interact with everyone, regardless of what side of the ball they're on. A small example of that came during one team drills, when the defensive line tipped a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Young stayed in the backfield for a moment and said something to the quarterback, who smiled and dapped him up before jogging back to the huddle.

-- McLaurin was putting on a show during practice and getting the better of defensive backs from start to finish. It started during 1-on-1s, but it continued in team drills when Fitzpatrick hit McLaurin on a deep shot against Jackson, who threw his hands up in frustration after the wideout made the over-the-shoulder-catch. Later on, Fitzpatrick found McLaurin again after he beat Curl in the middle of the field. Taylor Heinicke said that seeing McLaurin run his routes was "a thing of beauty," and it's hard to argue with him after today.

-- Troy Apke recently made the move to cornerback with all the offseason additions at safety, and it looks like he's fitting in well. He broke up a pass over the middle to end a team drill, which earned a "I see you, Trap!" from Harris. Apke had an even more impressive player in a separate drill, when he recovered after losing a step on Harmon and knocked the ball away.

-- It was clear throughout practice that Young and Charles Leno Jr. were giving each other everything they had during reps against each other. On one particular play, it looked like Young had an advantage over the veteran, who nearly lost his footing. But he quickly recovered and kept Young a safe distance from the quarterback. The play is reflective of how Young approaches practice; he believes he needs to go as full speed as possible, which helps himself and his competition.

-- The offensive line appears to be improving its chemistry together. The defensive line tried to execute several twists and stunts during team drills, but the group was able to pass players off and maintain a clean pocket regardless of what was thrown at them. It wasn't always perfect; Daron Payne knocked a ball away at the line scrimmage as practice started coming to a close, but it is evidence that the group is working well together.

Each day during training camp in Richmond, Washington is featuring a different 2021 season home game and giving you an exclusive deal on single game tickets to that matchup. Follow this link to get the deal of the day.

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