It was the hottest weekend of the summer, temperatures rose both in the air and on the field. A full on scrimmage Sunday afternoon was put on with the intent of making for a game like atmosphere and it worked, too well actually. After a pileup formed mid practice on Sunday I noticed Golden Tate running up to the pile and bending down to pick something up. My first assumption was that he was scooping up a fumble but I quickly realized he had rookie defensive back Jeremy Lane by the collar and was dragging him out of the pile.
Lane jumped right up and gave Tate a big pop to the torso. Surrounding players separated the two men and the full on brawl was avoided. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner walked Jeremy Lane away from the field and helped calm him down. It's pretty cool seeing guys that really aren't even veterans yet taking it upon themselves to mentor young players and help them find a place on this team. Lane was booted from practice according to various tweets, but Tate on the other hand stayed.
Golden Tate wasn't done getting into tussles either. On a play late in practice Sherman broke on a pass thrown to 81 and showed up a little early and with a good amount of physical contact. No flag was thrown on the play but Tate (and myself) were sure it should have, and Tate didn't waste time letting Sherman know how he felt about him. It was one shove and done but you can clearly see Tate is showing no fear this year.
The third year receiver has looked good in practices during this camp, coming down with several highlight catches yesterday and a handful last weekend as well. I'm honestly thinking the number two receiver spot is his to lose now. The front office has brought in several veterans including Antonio Bryant, Braylon Edwards and now its sounding like even Terrell Owens may join the party. I believe this is all in an attempt to keep Tate on the edge, looking over it at the end of his opportunity in Seattle. So far the approach is working.
The defense was clearly the superior unit this entire weekend. I didn't pay attention to the scoring so don't ask what the exact disparity was, but visually it seemed obvious. Gus Bradley's unit reminds you of an Oreo. It is hard to break at both the d-line and the defensive backfield but creamy in the middle. Jason Jones and Red Bryant were among those who sat out the scrimmage Sunday, though the depth of the line stepped up and made it hard to notice. Pierre Allen and Cordarro Law had QBs on the ropes throughout. Allen had both a hurry and a sack that I saw and Law came up with a couple hurries. I don't know where they will fit on the 53 man roster but I hope they find room for one or both, as I feel like they probably won't clear waivers if anyone else is seeing what I'm seeing.
Bobby Wagner didn't practice but the fellow rookie Korey Toomer showed great athleticism Sunday. In individual linebacker drills it was easy to pick him out without checking the number on the jersey as he was noticeably quicker than the others.
Marshawn Lynch looked good breaking a 70 yard run that got the crowd fired up, only to be caught from behind by none other than Bruce Irvin. That guy isn't just fast for a defensive end, he's just fast. Period. Watching him sprint past defensive backs was a pleasure. I also caught him dropping into coverage a few times. He didn't really look comfortable but he didn't look terribly out of place either, take from that what you will.
This shouldn't count as a surprise because this guy has been talked about a lot over the last year as a guy who should impress, but Kris Durham looked good today. Last weekend he looked out of it to me; he wasn't getting very good separation and therefor didn't get much action. He caught a nice touchdown early in practice and followed it up with the catch of the day. He leapt up between two defenders and cradled the ball as he came down hard. It was his last play of the day as he was injured coming down but the day was a positive one anyways. I'm very interested in seeing how the wide receiver corp shakes out.
I'd imagine we carry 5, although with how often the tight ends and running backs were out wide this weekend it's possible they keep 4. Let's say 5 though because that seems most likely. Rice, Tate and Baldwin are lead pipe locks to make the team. Ricardo Lockette has looked pretty good and at this point it's hard for me to imagine him getting cut, although it's really not all that impossible. Between all the other young players I've seen all of them make their share of mistakes while also flashing here and there. If cuts were tomorrow and I had to put my own money on it I'd say we kept:
That number five spot could really go any which way, if it weren't Durham I'd go with either Charly Martin or Lavasier Tuinei. I've really liked most of what I've seen from both of them and they both cost less than Ben Obomanu. If Obo has a great pre-season he could keep a spot as he's great on special teams.
Ben Obomanu isn't the only guy I think will be a casualty. I'm betting on Leon Washington getting the snip. They gave him a ton of work on Saturday and I'm assuming that's in an attempt to see exactly what they've got in him. He'll have to contribute in other ways that special teams as his salary is high for a guy who is turning 30 this year and didn't really do much on the ground last year.
I wrote this for my personal blog www.MyHawkSoFly.com but want to share it with FG readers as they're some of the best there are. Don't worry about heading over there, this is the entire post! Hope you enjoy my thoughts.