Formal wear replaces shoulder pads at football training site
Fred Jeter | 8/11/2022, 6 p.m.
The Bon Secours Training Center sits mostly silent these days with the most action likely to occur is a frilly weekend wedding.
Newlyweds’ “I do’s” have replaced grunts and groans from football players blocking and tackling under the hot summer sun.
From 2014 to 2020, the Bon Secours facility at 2401 W. Leigh St. was the NFL Washington franchise’s early training camp each year.
The newly named Commanders (formerly the Washington Football Team) are sticking closer to home this go round at their own training facility in Northern Virginia’s Ashburn community.
The divorce between the NFL team and Richmond was primarily because the two sides could not agree on financial terms.
Under third-year coach Ron Rivera, the camp in Ashburn will run through Aug. 18.
The first exhibition game will be Aug. 13 against Carolina 13 at FedExField. The regular season starts Sept. 11 with the Commanders hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Let’s get started:
Get well soon: Two premier players – tight end Logan Thomas and pass rusher Chase Young – opened training camp on the PUP/Physically Unable to Play list.
Young, the Defensive Rookie of Year in 2021, was injured in Week 10 last year and is still recovering from ACL recon- struction.
Thomas also is still on the mend from knee surgery. In 2020 the former Virginia Tech quarterback caught 72 passes for 670 yards and six touchdowns.
New name, old problem: The QB position has been jinxed in D.C. Starters Robert Griffin III (in 2011), Alex Smith (2018), and Ryan Fitzpatrick (2021) all suffered catastrophic injures that torpedoed their careers.
Next up is Carson Wentz, who was obtained in a trade with Indianapolis. Wentz offers plenty of upside (No. 2 overall draft pick in ’15), but he fell into disfavor with both Philadelphia and the Colts. Few cried when he left.
Worse, perhaps, is his medical history. Wentz missed considerable time with injuries in 2012, ’18 and ’20 with the Eagles.
Dual threat: When it comes to combining rushing and receiving, few are more capable than Antonio Gibson, in his third season out of Memphis.4
Gibson rushed for 1,037 yards and caught passes for another 294 in 2021. Ten times he found the end zone. In two seasons he has 1,832 yards on the ground and 541 via the airways.
He has a chance to be Washington’s top backfield threat since Clinton Portis (2004-’10).
There is a downside, however. Suffering from slippery fingers, Gibson has fumbled 11 times in two seasons.
Bottom line: Washington has gone 7-9 (plus a playoff loss in 2020) and 7-10 in Rivera’s two editions. This year’s team is generally picked third in the NFC East behind Dallas and Philadelphia.
Thanks for the memories: Thousands of fans visited Bon Secours since 2014 for close-up looks, autographs and photos of their gridiron heroes.
No more. Visitors these days to the impressive North Side facility may want to wear their black tie or after-five gear, so as not to feel under dressed.