Commanders move from training camp to regular-season mode as opener looms

Commanders coach Mike Riley talks with receiver De'Marcus Ayers during Thursday's practice at Central Catholic High School. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders coach Mike Riley talks with receiver De’Marcus Ayers during Thursday’s practice at Central Catholic High School. – photo by Joe Alexander
For the first time since the roster was cut down to 52 players, the San Antonio Commanders hit the practice field at Central Catholic High School on Thursday morning.

The season opener Feb. 9 at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet is just over a week away. The Commanders braintrust is transitioning from deciding who will make the team to who will be the starters.

“It’s interesting. All of a sudden there’s a lot less bodies out there,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said. “But it is, like a told them today, it’s like a new beginning.

“We had a great training camp. We’ve received great hospitality here in San Antonio. It’s a great to have this as our home city. We love that part of it. This feels and is a new beginning heading into the regular season.”

Riley said the coaches have seen enough to have a good idea of who the key players will be. That will be settled in the very near future.

“We’re close. We could actually do it right now today,” Riley said of deciding the starters. “But we don’t need to yet. We’ll probably have that pretty well set starting our game week next week.”

The most visually obvious change at Thursday’s practice was that the number of bright yellow jerseys – worn by the quarterbacks – was down from four to three. Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams and Logan Woodside took an equal number of reps in practice. Dalton Sturm, the fourth quarterback in training camp, is not on the 52-man roster.

Although Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston said on Thursday that Vaughan is currently the team’s No. 1 quarterback, Riley hasn’t named a starter yet.

“That position is certainly a key element in what anybody does in football,” Riley said. “We are fortunate to have three guys. We really had four. Dalton was a really tough cut. I think he’s a good player. I hope he resurfaces with the Commanders some day. But we’re in good hands I think with our quarterbacking.

“We haven’t named a No. 1 quarterback yet. We’ve let them all play almost equally as we’ve gone. (Vaughan) was the first pick and he probably got the first reps all through camp and into the (practice) game the other day.”

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