I wasn't sure I was even going to this practice, but the afternoon was so gorgeous, that I couldn't stand to stay in.....and I wasn't disappointed. I actually got there only a half hour late, so I did get to see them stretch....like watching paint dry.
HOWEVER once they got that stuff out of the way, it was the most spirited and aggressive practice that I've seen. If there had been ANY thought that BB might begin to let up a bit, it went right out the window. Making me wonder if Randy Moss was questioning his decision to try 2 practices in one day.
THere were several group drills to watch. The one closest to the stands was RBs vs ILBs. First doing blitz/protection, then later pass coverage There were several nice plays made on both sides. On the offensive side Moroney and Taylor were stand outs. Lawrence didn't miss a block on protection and made me think he'll have more chances to catch the ball than in previous years. He looks so much more comfortable catching the ball this year. As to Taylor he also blocked very well, and when he missed one he was pissed. But what surprised me was his catching the ball. I had been led by Andy Hart to think that he couldn't, and...as usual, Hart is wrong. Taylor caught the ball well and looked comfortable doing it.
On the defensive side Guyton and Alexander and Mayo, all made occassional plays. This is a drill weighted heavily to the offense, I think that Alexander will be used as depth as a pass protecting LB both on the inside and outside. BTW, I should mention that Tank Williams also was with this group and he too made some plays. Later in team play, Tank looked especially good in underneath coverage
On the other fields you could see several other battles taking place. The OL/DL were at it. The TEs and OLBs were at it. Different DB/WR groups were at it. Those were on the other field so I couldn't make out individuals, but you knew there was competition going on.
Then after some special teams work, KO returns and punts, the team spent the rest of the practice doing a lot of situational offense/defense. BTW Box good news for you - Ventrone was with the first punt group in the Izzo Roll.
Catch of the day was once again Greg Lewis going up between two defenders to snatch a ball away from a well defended pass. He doesn't see as many balls as the rest of the regulars, but when he gets his chances be makes the most of it.
OK Binky lovers, today was your day. Julian Edelman spent most of the day working with the 1's because they were doing a lot of 4 wides today, and the 4 wides were Moss, Galloway, Welker and...... Julie. He caught a couple, missed one, and by and large, looked like he belonged.
Brace looked like he started to hit a wall. He wasn't getting nearly as much play as he has had the last several practices. Jarvis was back, but still he was almost exclusively on the outside. The few times I was looking at him, he looked sluggish. I can't understand why, give that it was their 12th practice, and they haven't been there a week.
This might be a good time to discuss the difference between acceleration and speed....and which is more important. IMHO there is no debate, clearly its acceleration, or explosiveness, whatever you want to call it. It is why 4.6 RBs like Sanders and Emmit Smith were so good. Because within that 5 yd square, THEY could go from zero to top speed faster than the next guy. Its what makes Welker so effective. Its why Vince Redd isn't here. He was fast, but not explosive.
To that end, 2 guys that showed some explosiveness today were the old guys, Joey Galloway and Fred Taylor. Taylor and Moroney showed a lot of that zero to top speed today, and Galloway made amove on Lee Boddin and had a 2 yd cushion on him going deep. Unfortunately the ball by Brady was late and Boddin caught up with him in the back of the endzone and batted it away. Good play, but it was great to see that ZOOOM
Slow day for OConnell, with Walter and Hoyer getting most of the non-Brady snaps...with Hoyer getting the most. Again you can see that Walter certainly has an NFL arm. You can also see that he is most Brady like in his speed. He IS NOT like Cassel or OConnell as an athlete. Did I mention he was BIG....
BB seemed to take control of the offense today at the end of the practice, and practice lasted about 15 minutes past its usual end. I know in other reports. BB was supposedly pissed, but I didn't see it that way. I think he just had these situations that he wanted to see played out on the field, caught on film, and it just took longer than he thought. Happens all the time.
Just a note on another new kid, #45, the OLB the no name LB they signed to replace Vince Redd. Well he might not end up being that much of a no name. Nick (and that's as far as I can remember of his name), seems to have some pass rush ability both from the 3-4 OLB AND as a 4-3 DE. He is also being worked in on special teams. Check him out, you might be pleasantly surpised.
Finally, IIRC most people thought that if any rookie was going to make an immediate impact, it was going to be Patri...excuse me, Pat Chung. Well so far he hasn't, continually working with the 2's and special teams. Its not that he seems to be doing anything wrong, in fact his underneath coverage on pass defense has been pretty good, IMO, but at this point he's not getting much run with the 1's...but its early.