My name wasn't in the database but luckily the person I talked to seemed to find my name on a list. I think. Then it was a double helping of security guards, as three wholly new guards came to hassle and distract me. One broached conversation about how I was holding my pencil. Most seem nice though. Just doing their job. It's enough to make a person paranoid, especially for one with a tendency towards paranoia (what with the schizophrenia and all.)
Practice was conducted almost exclusively on the far field. Between the team and the fans was a row of out-of-pads players and personnel. It was difficult to see almost anything. I presume the purpose was to preserve the near field for this afternoon's practice, which I am also attending. We shall see.
- Before everything was far away and obstructed, the team conducted a few drills close enough to see. Quite a few involved the linebackers.
- Ken Norton Jr. doesn't seem happy with Will Herring's pad level. Once you look for it, you notice it quite a bit. In fact, you begin to notice how every linebacker crouches and how they tackle.
- Herring is very upright. He doesn't sink his hips and power up and through a tackle. He kind of chest bumps the target, to exaggerate for effect.
- Matt McCoy, on the other hand, is a classic tackler. He had a nice practice.
- Tatupu is a natural. He seemed to be participating in most drills, which was refreshing.
- If I can make a picture out of words, players like Tatupu and McCoy, and to a lesser extent David Hawthorne, crouch and their hips approach horizontal. The small of their back arcs up and they can keep their pads square while keeping their base low. Hawthorne bends in a way that his back seems arched the other way -- like double over. He has his weight over his feet and doesn't pop through his tackle.
- Joe Pawelek was out of pads again, as was Aaron Curry. I ranked that in order of importance.
- There is more of an emphasis on situational drills. I think I've mentioned this. The linebackers were working in pairings of three and coordinating on breaking towards the correct gap. Sometimes the middle linebacker would break into cover and then recover. The emphasis seemed to be on spacing and coordinating the attack. A tackle is a team effort.