ASHBURN, Va. (DC News Now) — While the Washington Commanders roster hasn’t had too much turnover this offseason, at their voluntary organized team activities, the team senses a new feel.

“I don’t know it just feels different, so I’m excited,” Commanders defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said. “You never want to get too excited before the season starts because every year every team is zero and zero and we have a lot to prove and a lot to improve on, but I like where we’re starting at and we’ll see what happens.”

Many players noted that new offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Eric Bienemy is a big part of that new feel.

“EB is everything they said he would be,” Commanders running back Antonio Gibson said. “He just expects perfection from us and you can see it out there, the way he coaches, the way he gets on us about our details.”

Alongside head coach Ron Rivera, Bienemy is clearly making his presence felt.

“EB is a high energy, high impact guy,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “He doesn’t pull any punches, he’s very direct with the players which has been good.”

Other notes:

  • QB1: Expected QB1 Sam Howell continues to get acclimated into his new role as he worked with the first team. Howell made some good throws, but looked shaky at points – he was intercepted twice in drills.
  • M.I.A.: For the second straight day, defensive ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat and left tackle Charles Leno were both not present at the team’s voluntary practice. The Commanders did not express much concern. Rivera said after practice: “You always would like to have your guys here but again it’s voluntary and we understand that.” Rivera noted he’s been in contact with all three players and said, “when it all comes down to it, we’ll see them when they have to be here.”
  • UDFA continues to impress: Undrafted rookie wide receiver and return man Kazmeir Allen out of UCLA looked flashy on the field. He is shaping up to likely be in a serious battle for a roster spot with third-year wide receiver Dax Milne.
  • Injuries: Ron Rivera said before practice that second-year tight end Armani Rodgers suffered a non-contact Achilles injury on Wednesday. Rodgers will likely miss the rest of the season. Rivera also noted that Jamin Davis underwent a minor cleanup on his knee recently and was only walking through Thursday’s practice. Rivera said he is not worried about it. Tight end Logan Thomas, who has dealt with injuries in the past, looked notably healthy.