(Editor's note: This has been promoted to the front page!)
Well, after a COVID hiatus last year, my son (age 12) and I were excited to be able to attend training camp this year. We had attended the previous four years in a row and were sad not be able to go last year (though obviously we understood the circumstances). When nothing was announced in June this year about fan attendance at training camp, I had thought it might be a lost cause. But when tickets went live a few weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to hop on and grab some, although it looks like there are still some available. If you have the opportunity to go, DO IT! It’s a great experience, especially if you’ve never been. The staff works hard to make sure things run smoothly and make sure everyone has a great time.
What follows is a series of relatively uninformed, unorganized observations. All the usual caveats of training camp apply: lots of veterans were doing light work or no work, and it’s hard to draw any real conclusions about Waldron’s offense. Today was the first day in pads, though, and you could tell the players were excited to get a little contact in there. Finally, those of you who have been know that there’s a TON going on and you can’t focus on everything at once, so I probably missed stuff.
I didn’t see Bobby Wagner or Duane Brown on the field at all, so I assume vet’s day off for them. (Editor's note: Wagner was not there due to a family matter) I also didn’t see Gerald Everett at any point, though I’m not aware if there’s an injury issue that I haven’t heard about. The following players were dressed down, but no helmet and didn’t seem to participate at all: Jamarco Jones, Carlos Dunlap, Jamal Adams, D’Wayne Eskeridge, Travis Homer, and Pier-Olivier Lestage. There may have been a few others I missed but they would all be bottom-of-the-roster types of players.
The group taking first team snaps on the O-Line was (from LT to RT) Cedric Ogbuehi, Damien Lewis, Kyle Fuller, Gabe Jackson, and BrandonShell. Ogbuehi was presumably standing in for Brown at LT, but Fuller at C surprised me. Ethan Pocic was taking snaps with the second group, alongside Stone Forsythe, Jordan Simmons, Phil Haynes, and Tommy Champion. I don’t know if that’s been the norm and Pocic is losing his status or if they were just giving Fuller a shot with the 1s to see how he did. No comment on either player’s performance, impossible to see what was going on in the middle of the line.
The starting secondary with Adams out appeared to be: Akhello Witherspoon and D.J. Reed on the outside, Diggs and Neal (replacing Adams) at the safety slots, and Blair manning the nickel. So it looks like Blair has the edge on Amadi for the starting nickel spot.
Obviously DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett were the top two receivers. Freddie Swain was the first one in for three receiver sets, but we also saw a lot of two tight-end looks with Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson, though I imagine when Everett is available it would be he and Dissly in the top two spots.
Hard to make any sense of the D-line depth chart. I’ll say that this group might lack a top-tier edge rusher, but it seems DEEP with solid players if they stay healthy and play up to reasonable expectations. Rasheem Green was very active in the scrimmage portion and had two consecutive plays where he blew up the backfield. Cedrick Lattimore had a nice TFL on a running play. Darrell Taylor looks like an exact physical clone of Frank Clark. Bryan Mone looked quick, twitchy, and violent all day. Excited to see him take a step or two forward this year. I have absolutely no expectation for Robert Nkemdiche, but he looked really powerful in 1v1’s with the o-liners. Kerry Hyder didn’t really stand out, but I’m not worried about him. Benson Mayowa dropped a great inside swim move on Ogbuehi to breeze by him. As mentioned earlier, Dunlap didn’t work today but he was out there coaching up his brothers.
Geno Smith seems like the backup QB for sure to me. He and the second-team offense moved the ball pretty comfortably against the first-team defense. His throws were on target, he moved pretty well. Sean Mannion and Alex McGough did nothing of note. McGough did dazzle us with his shapely legs in short shorts, though - some pretty sick tattoos.
TEAM STUFF/GENERAL THOUGHTS
- The one thing that stood out to me watching offense v. defense was lots of short timing throws: quick outs, WR screens, RB angle routes, etc. The first team O was able to easily pick up 5-8 yard chunks on high percentage throws (though it was against the 2nd team D usually). Lockett, Dissly, Metcalf, and one of the RBs had some nice short grabs with a bit of YAC. Parkinson made a couple of grabs but also had a couple go off his hands, one that should have been a pretty easy catch and the other that was a bit out in front of him. Hard to fault him for that one I guess.
- Penny Hart had a nice catch on a RW3 scramble in the team session. Will Dissly showed great awareness in working back to the QB during scramble drill and hauled in a nice catch.
- Chris Carson ran really well, and Rashaad Penny looked solid as well. Alex Collins didn’t do much. At the very end Scarlett (RB who I’d never heard of) had a nice breakaway run for TD but didn’t do much otherwise.
- Quandre Diggs had a nice pick of Russ during team stuff.
Two receivers who caught my eye with several nice grabs: Cade Johnson, who blew by Marquise Blair at the second level for a nice catch and made another good comeback grab on a Geno scramble. Maybe he’s the UDFA who makes the team this year? He looked the part. Also Cody Thompson, who made one long sideline grab (though it was ruled out of bounds) and caught a short one in traffic, took a pretty good hit from Blair, and held on for a completion.
One lowlight: Aldon Smith got walled up easily by Stone Forsythe in a 1v1 and seemed to just give up when his initial move failed. Good rep for Forsythe, disappointing for Smith. Given his past, I wouldn’t be sad to see him get cut.
Finally, I’ll just say this: Jordyn Brooks has the physique of a Greek god.
Thanks for reading, and Go 'Hawks!