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Cole Turner thriving as a pass-catcher, but blocking remains a work in progress

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Turner thrives as pass catcher, blocking work in progress originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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Ashburn, Virginia — Washington Commanders rookie Cole Turner was a bright spot during the first week-plus of training camp.

The 6-foot-6 tight end was a frequent target for the new quarterback. Carson Wentz, as they formed a strong bond that goes back to OTA and minicamp. This summer, Turner was also part of the Wentz meeting in Los Angeles. With both Logan Thomas and John Bates injured, Turner took first-team representatives and made the most of them.

However, there is one area of ​​Turner’s game that still has room for growth: blocking. The fifth-round pick struggled at times as a blocker throughout camp; his technique and footwork were inconsistent. It’s clear that Turner’s blocking work isn’t done yet, given that he’s a former wide receiver who went all out in Nevada.

Turner is far from the only tight end of the Commander, who also had no luck as a blocker. Both Armani Rodgers, a former Ohio quarterback, and Curtis Hodges, a former quarterback, are also relatively new to the position. Blocking is an area that all three know they need to improve on.

“I spent a lot of time [on it] during the OTA, as well as Armani and Curtis,” Turner said on Wednesday. We spent a lot of time with [tight ends] trainer [Juan] Castillo, the extra time to watch the movie is only working on the basics of the lockdown.”

Turner stressed that when it comes to blocking, “tech will save you.” Turner knows, like other tight ends, that from time to time he will have to block defenders who are bigger than him. This is why proper technique is so important.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday after training, head coach Ron Rivera also emphasized how important it is to have the right technique for Turner and the rest of the tight ends to succeed as blockers.

“I think I understand what it means to him when we talk about leverage, knowing that, ‘Hey, the runner is coming here. I have to make sure I’m in that location,” Rivera said. “When he approaches the edge, I tell the attacking line that the tighter, the better angle I will create for myself. Understanding the angles you can use to cut guys off.”

In addition to having good leverage, Rivera has pointed out the various ways Turner can use his body to become a defender.

“I think he can improve hand placement a lot,” Rivera said. “The body position is knee-bending, hip-bending, so I’m explosive when I go for blocking. Probably the most important thing, really, is just to understand the placement of his hands and where to put his hands. people and, again, how to create that leverage.”

Commander pass rusher Montes Sweet had occasional difficulties during the first week of camp. On the second day of camp during team practice, Sweet beat Rodgers in one rally to reach Wentz in what would have been a sack. Pot then yelled, “Don’t put a tight end on me!”

But since then, Sweat has noticed an improvement in the blocking ability of the tight group. In fact, he even gives the group a few directions.

“They are getting better every day and I can feel it,” Pot said. “I feel like it’s my job to get them ready for when we really start. knowledge is disabled because I know they will be able to use it in the future.”

For Turner, the rookie admitted that proper footwork was the most difficult part of the blocking game. The former outstanding player from Nevada knows that once he masters this aspect, he can become a top blocker much faster.

“Once you get over that, you can start playing fast and block,” Turner said. “Part of it is just the mentality of wanting to do it and wanting to excel at it. So I think every person in our room has this and they have [the] Struggle. It’s half the battle.”


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