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Notes from Saturday's practice
Same disclaimer as with the first set of notes. Itís just one practice, donít get huffy if I bash your guy.
They have a walkthrough of some kick returns, a couple of running and passing plays, warm up throwing, and then get into stretching.
Ryan McBean is the most agile big man out there. He moves through the stretches like a slightly oversized linebacker, flexible in the hips, good balance and agility.
Donít know who #5 is, heís not on my roster. I assume heís the new punter. Itís odd, he looks stiff in one leg and limber in the other. The right leg is thinner than the left and the left leg is stiff.
Essex and Stapleton are stretching side-by-side, and itís very apparent that Essex is far more flexible.
Dezmond Serrod is in street clothes. Not practicing.
Mike Humpal is in street clothes. I worry any time I see fringe guys like these two missing a practice. They donít have a lot of time to impress the coaches.
Once again, Ben doesnít stretch out with the other guys. While everyone else is rolling around on the ground, he is standing up and yapping with Arians. Doesnít bother me too much. Itís the privilege of being the million dollar man. Ward and Ike donít get down in the dirt with everyone either, though, they participate more than Ben does.
The running backs are split off in a group of their own in the end zone, away from the rest of the team. Theyíve become a tight-knit group. For some reason, I like that.
The new return man Drummond is Gumby. Heís ridiculously limber, to point of being double-joined.
They split the offense and the defense. I get to see one play of the offense as Iím slipping off to follow the defense. Batch tries to hand off to Mewlede Moore, and theyíre not on the same page. Either Moore ran too far outside, or Batch didnít step far enough and hold the ball out far enough. It looks bad.
The d-linemen are firing out of the chute into the sleds. Paxson hits the sled, then Kirschke hits it harder. Kirschke has better form and a bit more power than Paxson.
McBean and Martavious Prince hit the sled harder than either Paxson or Kirschke. Good to see.
Then Aaron Smith hits the thing, and I realize how far the others have to go. Thereís a loud pop and the steel on the sled really rattles, rather than there being a slap and some noise. Nice to see Smith back, but itís not a good sign for the other ends.
McBean looks to be hitting the thing second best out of the ends to Smith. Heís hitting it a little harder than Keisel. I like Keisel, but it looks like he may have some competition down the road soon.
Over on the offensive field, Reid and Bloom make a nice couple of smooth catches from the coach on some out patterns. I didnít see Bloom make that catch without bobbling it in the first practice. This time he seems to be doing better. May have had a case of first day jitters.
And they both make smooth catches on curl patterns. Again these are the coaches throwing them the ball, and nobody in front of them.
Micah Rucker catches a curl and the ball slaps hard against his hands. No soft bringing it back to his chest like the other receivers.
Back on the defensive line, coach Mitchell has them firing off the line as a set of three down linemen into a three-man sled. The first line, Smith, Hoke and Kiesel hit the sled and it turns noticeably in favor of Smith. He obviously hits it much harder than kiesel.
Jordan Reffert looks small, but he turns the sled just as much as Smith does. He hits it hard. Good form.
Nick Eason looks good on the sled, he has excellent leg drive.
Back on the offensive field, Mike Potts overthrows Gerran Walker on a ten yard out.
Dixon sticks a ten yard out right in Nate Washingtonís chest.
Ben hits Drummond in the numbers with a ten yard out.
Down the field, the defensive backs are working on their interception skills. Ike and McFadden are making the catches, but neither one looks like a receiver doing ti.
Tyroen Carter drops an interception.
William Gay catches one, and looks fairly smooth doing so.
Roy Lewis makes a nice catch on an interception over his head.
Travis Williams makes his interception, and it looks like he has the softest hands out of the Dbís who are there.
Grant Mason makes a nice catch on a ball that was behind him and on his hip.
Back over on the offensive side, Dallas Baker makes a smooth over-the-shoulder catch on a beautiful bomb from Dixon.
Potts hits Reid on a fly pattern with a perfect pass.
Back on line drills, Reffert is admonished by Coach Mitchell for having his head down when he collides with a blocker, and for not throwing him aside.
The d-linemen switch to a drill in which a double-team is simulated. As though the tackle fires out at our end, and the guard kicks out in a double-team. Kyle Clement does a great job of holding the point of attack. Even Aaron Smith didnít do it any better.
Reid makes a diving catch on a pass way behind him from Potts.
Dixon hits Baker with another sweet bomb.
Bloom and Dixon look better this practice than they did the first one. Still not as good as the starters, but they donít look like disasters any more.
In the Db drills, Roy Lewis loses his footing on side-to-side cuts. First guy to hit the grass in drills other than diving receivers.
Paxson does a nice job of holding his ground on the double-team. He even splits the two blockers.
McBean gets badly turned by the double team.
Coach Mitchell tells him to go again. He gets badly turned again.
Coach Mitchell gives him some instruction, then tells him to try again.Once again, he gets turned. Heís not getting low enough, theyíre getting into his chest. And he doesnít seem to have a lot of upper body strength.
Coach Mitchell has him go again, and this time they drive him ten yards down the field. So much for Kiesel having competition.
On the receiver versus corner drills, Baker beats Anthony Maddison on a ten yard out.
A receiver whoís wearing #13 beats his man, but drops the ball. Heís not on my roster.
Over on the defensive side, the inside linebackers are hitting the sled. Keyaron Fox is weak hitting the sled. He may be a demon in punt and kick coverage, but heís not gonna be strong at the point of attack as a LB.
Farrior gets a much higher lift on the sled, knocking it back three feet farther.
Foote hits it and is about mid way between how hard Fox and Farrior hit the thing.
Timmons drives it every bit as well as Farrior. Shows a lot of power.
Anthony Trucks hits the sled and doesnít get much of a lift. Needs some work on his form. The lift is designed to get blockers straightened up and off balance, so they are not pile-driving the linebacker. If Trucks hit a guard the way he hit that sled, heíd get rolled.
Coach Butler gives him some instruction and tells him to try again. He does it again, a little better, but not much.
Fox hits the sled again, but hits it weak.
The ILBís move to the three man sled. In this drill they are supposed to get in their stance, take a step forward, give the first figure on the sled a shot, then step back and move down the line. Farrior is clearly the best of our LBís at his. He hits it just right and rattles the steel while the others mostly slap the pads. Foote is the next best, and Timmons comes in at a disappointing and distant third. I now see why heís not in there on the running downs. This drill is designed to simulate taking on a blocker. While Farrior and Foote hit the sled with the most force they can generate without sacrificing balance, (itís like a two fisted punch to the blockerís pecs, but if you wiff, you canít get off balance). Timmons doesnít get his arms extended when he hits the sled. He is clearly quicker than the others, but his arms are bent at a 90 degree angle when he makes contact, rather than being almost completely extended. Coach Butler has him try three times in a row and appears to be showing some frustration with Timmons because heís not getting it. If Timmons hits and oncoming blocker like that, then heíll be catching the block. For now, I have to say that I agree that Foote seems the right choice for running downs.
I notice Woodley is in street clothes, taking the day off. Good for him. Letís save him. I donít see Holmes either, he mustíve gotten the day off too. No sense in these two practicing, they honestly donít need a lot of practice.
In the distance, the OLBís are going through their tackling drills, hitting the tackling sled. Bruce Davis is really, really powerful, hits the sled like a truck.
Donovan Woods looks awkward hitting the tackling sled, bends his back a bit, and doesnít get much lift from his legs.