DC Defenders Week Two UFL Training Camp Report

DC Defenders Week Two UFL Training Camp Report

The DC Defenders are now officially two weeks into UFL training camp in Arlington, Texas. The past seven days have been non-stop for DC, whether on the transaction wire or on the field.

As we approach the midpoint of training camp, it’s time to check in on how the Defenders are handling business during such a pivotal time. If you missed my breakdown on week one of DC Defenders training camp, be sure to check it out before diving into this week’s edition!

The Pads Come On

The Defenders suited up in full pads for the first time to start off week two of training camp.

While practice footage is limited, we were given this highlight interception by safety DJ Swearinger, picking up the scraps of a feisty one on one between WR Keke Coutee and CB Adam Sparks on the outside.

During the commotion of pads coming on, the Defenders made quite a few changes to the then– active roster:

Signed:

TE Kaden Smith
WR Mike Harley Jr.
WR Vyncint Smith
WR Isaiah Coulter

Released:

WR Preston Williams
DL Fadol Brown

Moved to Injured Reserve:

TE Shaun Beyer
DB Sam Kidd

Trade:

Birmingham Stallions receive: OLB Chauncey Rivers

DC Defenders receive: OT Jahmir Ross-Johnson

Check out my page on Pro Football Newsroom’s website to read more about those previous transactions!

Media Day

The UFL held two separate media days, splitting the eight teams into two groups. DC held their media day on day one, showing off the 2024 Under Armour UFL jerseys. With the UFL moving forward with UA, the USFL teams were forced to make a few changes to their uniforms, while XFL teams mainly kept the same.

The players seemed to enjoy the bright sets that the league laid out for them. We should continue to see the finished product throughout the season on broadcasts.

 

Scrimmage vs. Michigan Panthers

Earlier in the second week of training camp, I reported the news of the DC Defenders scrimmaging the Michigan Panthers later in the week, prior to first cuts.

All UFL teams played their scrimmages on Saturday, one day before first cuts from 75 to 58 players. Scrimmage content was mim throughout most of the day, but Michigan’s social team continues to show out and posted this compilation of plays from the scrimmage.

Defenders Cut Roster From 75 to 58

The UFL announced all eight team’s cuts from 75 to 58 players on Sunday, March 10th. The DC Defenders were tasked with cutting 15 players to get down to 58 players.

The following players were subject to waivers:

#28 Elijah Blades, CB
#70 Adonis Boone, OT
#87 Ben Bresnahan, TE
#16 Isaiah Coulter, WR
#82 Mike Harley Jr., WR
#83 John Hightower, WR
#95 Donovan Jeter, DT
#85 CJ Johnson, WR
#71 George Moore, OT
#77 Chidi Okeke, OT
#79 Jack Plumb, OT
#11 Boogie Roberts, DT
#84 Trea Shropshire, WR
#22 Adam Sparks, CB
#35 Tabyus Taylor, RB

Most significant move: The Defenders released defensive tackle Boogie Roberts, a move that frankly is only a slight surprise, especially considering Roberts’ late round availability during the dispersal drafts. Roberts played for the Pittsburgh Maulers in 2023, producing 32 tackles, 8 TFL, and 3 sacks. His release comes at the expense of extreme depth along the defensive line, which will also be moving forward without DT Donovan Jeter. The interior defensive line continued to strengthen throughout the offseason for DC, setting up difficult decisions for Defenders brass.

Wide Receivers Set?: The Defenders waived a total of five wide receivers on Sunday, including Isaiah Coulter, Mike Harley Jr., John Hightower, CJ Johnson, and Trea Shropshire. Now with seven on the roster, is it safe to assume DC’s WR room is set? After skimming through the roster, there appears to be a feasible way for the Defenders to keep seven wideouts. Recent addition, Vyncint Smith, remains on the 58-man roster after impressing in his brief time at camp. Smith’s speed sets him apart from other DC wide receivers. Expect no more than one receiver to be released, unless DC decides to sign a wide receiver off waivers.

What’s Next: With two weeks of training camp remaining, DC has until March 23rd until UFL rosters must be set to 50 players. Expect a heavy dose of transactions over the next two weeks, as teams sort through the waiver wire and begin finalizing their final roster.

DeJuan Neal Placed On Suspended List

Following the UFL’s announcement of roster cuts, the league announced DC Defenders CB DeJuan Neal was added to the Suspended List.

Soon after the announcement, I reported the news that Neal did not previously report to training camp due to injury, causing him to be placed on the UFL’s Suspended List. Neal is not listed on DC’s 58-man roster, but the Defenders will retain his player rights moving forward.

Final Thoughts

Over the next few weeks, DC will likely be doing a plethora of installment, concerning the game plan for week one and preparation for weekly travel. Even with the roster cut to 58, the evaluation period will not stop for Reggie Barlow and company as eight cuts remain.

What do you expect from the DC Defenders in 2024? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!