Went to practice alone today which was actually sort of nice since I didn't feel like talking much given the heat. I also enjoyed following the chatter from my adjacent twelves. There were a few misconceptions here and there but for the most part I was pleased with how much people knew about the team. If you were sitting near the 50 yard line and had a random stranger explain to you that Alan Bradford is now a linebacker or that not turning for the ball isn't necessarily pass interference, then you have probably met me. Fun times.
I considered wearing pads to practice so I would have an excuse to complain to you all about how hot it was today. Luckily I thought better of it. Do you think that the offence ever feels slighted for having to wear navy blue every day in the heat? Shouldn't they trade off or something? In other news, the Blue Angels buzzed us a few times. Then a bald eagle landed next to me and cracked an ice-cold Budweiser. It felt pretty American.
- Kris Durham had an excellent start to practice with several nice grabs. He capped it off with a sensational leaping catch down the sideline on a pass from Matt Flynn. Unfortunately he came down hard on his hip and had the wind knocked out of him. He didn't return but he should be fine. It was a phenomenal catch.
- Jeremy Lane and Golden Tate had their practices cut short after an incident during the first half of the mock game. Lane matches up against Deon Butler and drives him into the ground after the whistle on a Marshawn Lynch run. When Lane tries to get up, JR Sweezy tells him (with his hands) that he will be staying on the ground. A big scrum ensues and eventually Golden Tate drags Lane, roughly, out by his shoulder pads. Lane loses it and throws a punch at Tate. I was happy to see Richard Sherman put his arm around Lane as he was leaving the field to impart some wisdom.
- Braylon Edwards made some impressive catches today. His chances to make the roster are looking up. Concerning his hands, they're softer than I expected. I think his drops mostly stem from un-synchronized arms as he reaches outside of his frame. He doesn't possess that ability to pluck the ball out of the air.
- Ricardo Lockette's hands are frustrating. At times he'll make catches as effortlessly as anyone. At other times he'll drop consecutive passes. This seems like a concentration issue but I suspect that his sheer velocity is also to blame. As in, concentrating on the ball is more difficult when you're moving so damn fast. I sometimes think this is why Earl Thomas hasn't had more interceptions.
- JR Sweezy played RG with the ones today. John Moffitt played center with the twos. Sweezy has natural leverage in run blocking with his short stature and long arms. I saw him wall off his man to help spring Marshawn on pair of long runs to the right. On the other side of the coin, he's a major work in progress as a pass blocker. Alan Branch handled him pretty easily in that department. My knee-jerk pass-pro evaluation is that he reaches too much and doesn't possess a particularly powerful punch. Moves his feet well though.
- Matt Flynn played with the twos and didn't perform well most of the day. The defence was creating pressure but apart from a TD to Charly Martin on a busted coverage, he made some poor decisions and inaccurate passes. He threw a pick to Mike Morgan trying to force a pass high on an out-route to Sean McGrath in a goalline situation. On his next series, he lead Cameron Morrah too far down the seam and into the outstretched arms of Jeron Johnson, who couldn't quite hang on. Then Phillip Adams almost made a diving interception after reading Butler's out-route.
I was hoping to see Flynn bounce right back after throwing the pick. Almost throwing two more immediately after is concerning. He finally brought it around though and finished his day driving the length of the field for a fourth quarter touchdown in the mock game. The drive included a QB scramble for about 20 yards to spring the offense from their own redzone. Soon after that he bought some time and placed a perfect pass to McGrath on a crossing route. Running play for the touchdown.
- Tarvaris Jackson lead the ones and performed pretty well. Nothing outstanding but he definitely fit in with the "we can win with him" sentiment. On one play, the pocket collapsed almost immediately (Cordarro Law I believe) and Jackson fled for the hills (backward). Tom Cable had to take evasive action as Bruce Irvin pursued T-Jack toward the sideline. Jackson had the awareness to throw the ball away, which is encouraging. This is the type of play I wish he would make more often. Jackson was definitely the best QB today.
- The defense looked pretty stifling across the board in the mock game. Marshawn ran really well though, and was easily our best offensive weapon. He would have had an ~80 TD if Bruce Irvin hadn't run him down around the ten. Bruce has great hustle to go along with his elite speed.
- This was the first day that Jaye Howard made a real impression on me. Twice he anticipated the snap count and blew the play up in the backfield. He needs to add strength but his future ass a pass-rushing 3-tech looks promising.
- I was somewhat surprised, and pleased, to see that Clinton McDonald was the one to fire up the third string defense in the final two minutes as Russell Wilson tried drive the field for the winning field goal. Wilson succeeded with a nice pass down the seam to Phil Bates. McDonald has a cast on his right hand. Not sure what that's about but he's played a lot in nickel packages.
- The Bandit package showed up a few times against the spread in the mock game.
- Winston Guy hasn't done anything too amazing so far in camp but he's very steady and seems to already conduct himself like a pro. From what I've seen, I would feel comfortable with him as our Big Nickel. He should contribute on special teams as well.
- I'd say that Cordarro Law is shaping up to be the Doug Baldwin of 2012. He's been very active in the backfield and with a strong preseason, he'll almost certainly make the team.
- Korey Toomer seemed more comfortable this weekend than last. Improvement is all we can really hope for from most of these rookies.
- Sherman drew some of the loudest cheers of the day for his dance to You Dropped the Bomb on Me. It's a good song for him.
Well, my brain is telling me I'm done. Time for a margarita. This was the last training camp day I'll be able to attend. It was a fun experience. Thanks for the comments guys.