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Behind Enemy Lines: Washington hoping Ryan Fitzpatrick has some magic left

Washington is betting quite a bit on Ryan Fitzpatrick, but there are also plenty of young players to look out for.

Washington Football Team v New England Patriots Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

The Bengals are getting set to travel to Washington to take on the Football Team. With that in mind, we caught up with Andrew York from Hogs Haven to get his perspective on this Friday’s game.

Patrick Judis: A couple of players that Bengals fans would probably want updates on are William Jackson (former Bengal) and Samuel Cosmi (a prospect the fan base fell in love with). How have they looked so far?

Andrew York: William Jackson has had a pretty quiet camp so far; I would describe it as solid, but unspectacular. He’s one of the players I’d really like to assess by watching in preseason games to see how well he fits. It sounds like he was best utilized as a man cover corner in Cincinnati, but Rivera runs a very zone-heavy scheme. It’s tough getting a feel for how well Jackson was playing in practice, because most of the reports we see are based on 1-on-1 drills (which favor the WRs) and Jackson was mostly lined up against Terry McLaurin. McLaurin seems to have won most of those matchups, but Jackson still made good plays, and it’s hard to say how much of him getting beat was simply McLaurin making great plays.

Sam Cosmi had a bit of a rough start to camp, but has really improved as time goes on. He has been moved from left to right tackle, so that transition naturally took some adjustment as well as the adjustment to the higher level of NFL play. He has started drawing rave reviews in the last few weeks of practice though and played really well in our first preseason game against the Patriots, earning an 81.8 PFF grade (the highest among tackles that week). He plays with a lot of strength, but also good technique and understanding of responsibility, as shown picking up a DT stunt here. Overall, I’ve been very happy with him so far, and I think he’ll be a good starter.

PJ: What are some battles you are looking forward to seeing play out in this game on Washington’s roster?

AY: Washington’s starting roster is mostly set, but one position group that is still in flux is the linebacker group, which is the weakest group on the defense. Jamin Davis, Washington’s 1st round pick in this year’s draft, is battling with journeyman veteran Jon Bostic for the MIKE LB spot. Most Washington fans would be very sad to see Bostic win that battle, but a lot hinges on how well Davis can process the field and call the defense.

Other than that, the biggest battles will be for backup spots. The backup WR and DB spots are completely up in the air, so watching the 2nd and 3rd teams there could reveal who makes the roster and who gets cut.

PJ: Was there a player from last week who played well that surprised you to keep an eye out for?

AY: The first player to come to mind is TE Sammis Reyes. He’s a former basketball player who used to play for the Chilean national basketball team, but decided in 2019 to end his basketball career to play football. He joined the NFL through the International Player Pathway Program and actually made front page news in Chile when he was signed by an NFL team. Reyes is an athletic freak with a football body, but is essentially having to learn the game (not just his position) from scratch. He has looked good in practice, but he’s exactly the kind of athletic, raw player who might practice better than he plays, so how he’d do in an actual game with hitting involved was very much a question.

Reyes really shined last week against the Patriots (albeit with the 3rd team). He wasn’t only fast and fluid, but also physical, showing decent routes and good, physical blocking. He’s still very raw and is a developmental prospect, but if he keeps performing like that, I don’t think the team can risk trying to stash him on the practice squad.

Chase Young and Sam Cosmi also stood out as having a particularly good game too, but I didn’t find that too surprising.

PJ: How happy are you with the Ryan Fitzpatrick show possibly seeing its last act in Washington?

AY: Well, he certainly makes this team more competitive and will be an upgrade over the disaster we’ve had at QB the last couple of years. He should also be fun to watch, although part of the roller coaster that is Fitzpatrick means enduring the lows as well as enjoying the highs. Overall, I’m happy we have him. He will make the team competitive and fun to watch, which will make things more fun as a fan. He might not be the long term solution, but his play hasn’t seemed to deteriorate just yet, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this year isn’t even his last act.

PJ: Who is one player you are rooting for to have a good outing to help make the roster?

AY: I’ll be rooting for RB Jaret Patterson. He’s going to have an uphill battle making the roster as the 3rd or 4th RB, but he’s a dynamic player in the Darren Sproles mold of a RB. He’s also a great kid, grew up in the DC area, and is a huge fan of the team, so it would be his dream come true to play for them. He should be a great returner as he’s shifty and dynamic in space and I think that would be his best path to making the team, but they haven’t been trying him out as a returner, so his chances may be slim.

Thanks again to Andrew York for taking time out to answer our questions. If you’d like to see more of his work or Washington Football Team coverage, check out Hogs Haven.