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Training Camp Notebook: Defensive Dominance

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Torry McTyer and Daron Payne celebrate after McTyer makes an interception during Friday night's practice. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

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

After taking a day off to rest from Friday night's practice at FedExField, Washington was back in Ashburn, Virginia, for another fully-padded practice.

Here are some observations from Sunday morning.

-- Devaroe Lawrence, who joined Washington last year, had a couple solid reps during team drills. The first was near the start of practice; Jaret Patterson was working on an outside run and trying to find room, but Lawrence did a good job of working down the line of scrimmage and wrapping up the undrafted rookie for no gain. The next came when Patterson was trying to run up the middle of the defense, and Lawrence made the tackle for what looked like a one-yard loss. The defensive line is a deep group. Plays like the ones Lawrence made show why any player on the front can have an impact.

-- There hasn't been a lot of talk about Peyton Barber lately. Most of the attention has been placed on the other running backs, so here's an update on how the former Auburn Tiger has been doing thus far. He had a shifty run early in practice, evading a couple defenders who had made their way into the backfield before turning upfield for about a five-yard gain. Barber came into camp a little bit lighter than last year. He still has a physical running style, but the lost pounds give him the freedom to use more of his quickness.

-- Darryl Roberts -- a five-year veteran who Washington signed this offseason -- had one of his better practices today. He had a nice battle with DeAndre Carter down the right sideline during 7-on-7 drills and forced an incompletion. Later on in team drills, he had an exceptional interception while working against Kelvin Harmon. Washington kept five cornerbacks on the roster last year to end training camp. As the team inches closer to having to make cuts, Roberts has been standing out on a more regular basis.

-- Dyami Brown and Benjamin St-Juste continue to battle on every rep against each other. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw up a 50-50 ball to Brown in 7-on-7 drills with the hope that Brown would use some of his skills as a deep threat. He did later in practice, but not on that play, as St-Juste matched him step-for-step with the ball falling to the ground. Each has had their wins and losses throughout camp, and Brown said that they help each other get better. St-Juste is a long, physical corner, which gives Brown more of a challenge.

-- There was a great example of teamwork from Linden Stephens and Danny Johnson on an intermediate throw to Carter today. Taylor Heinicke delivered a throw to Carter on the left sideline, but Stephen was providing tight coverage on the veteran wideout. That allowed Stephens to tip the ball in the air behind him, which allowed Johnson to get the one-handed pick. Like Roberts, Stephens and Johnson have had some solid plays lately. Those performances could help both of them find a way of rounding out the bottom of the roster at the end of August.

-- Fitzpatrick and Adam Humphries were connecting often throughout practice. Humphries made five catches Sunday morning, some with him being more open than others, and their chemistry was part of what helped the starting offense play well. Ron Rivera said after practice that Fitzpatrick is starting to get more comfortable in the scheme. It's certainly been useful to have Humphries, who played with Fitzpatrick in Tampa Bay, as a reliable slot option. The two work together after practice on getting a better hold on plays, and it's been paying off.

-- Torry McTyer is another player who has been making a splash as camp soldiers on. Rivera said after Friday's practice that McTyer has done a good job of staying with a receiver, especially at the top of a route. He showed that off again on a rep against Harmon, when the receiver bobbled the ball long enough for him to knock the ball away. He's captured the coaches' curiosity, and he's earned it because of plays like that. The next step will be to see how he does in the preseason, when Washington travels to New England Aug. 12.

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