Practice Notes - August 14

I arrived early and found the field they were going to use for the scrimmage. Five minutes before the scrimmaged began, I made my way to the east side of the field near the canal. Now here's what I saw up close.

First of all, I'm am extremely glad that it is windy and Coach Kehoe makes that same comment to his offensive line group. As the team is stretching, Kehoe is involved with Sherko Haji-Rasouli in a discussion about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sherko is defending his team and Kehoe's says, "they are the worst franchise ever". Then, Sherko begins to something, but one of the other coaches gets him to get focused and he does.

Next I focused on the WR's and got to speak to Devin Hester. He had a sleeves shirt on that showed his tattoo on his left arm. The guy next to me asked him if he would be cleared to play soon, Devin said, "tomorrow I will be cleared and be able to practice". Off to the side of the WR group was Andre Johnson. He was doing a series of slow drills that was focusing on his hamstring. He looked good to me as he got really close and as I was going to ask him when he was going to practice, his Uncle Keith shows up. Keith, then asked his nephew if he was okay. Andre said, yeah, I'm okay and I will be practicing tomorrow. These two by chance encounters I thought was the best thing that could have happened to me but there's more.

At the start of the scrimmage Dorsey, Crudup, and Ortega all started really rusty. Dorsey threw two interceptions in his second time with the first team. He threw one to Maurice Sikes in the middle of the field about 15-18 yards from the LOS that Sikes in game situation would take to the house. The next interception, Dorsey did one of those Marino step up in the pocket were he just avoids the tackler but threw to the left side of the field where the receiver was doing a curl route. Al Marshall cut in front and Dorsey's pass and made the interception. Jason Geathers took a hand off from Dorsey to the right but made a nice cut back Ala-Portis and got an eight-yard gain that was sure to be a loss. It seemed that at the start the defense was absolutely dominating the run and pass. The passing was more of the fact that our QB's were not loose yet. As for the running backs their lack of five or more yards production was due to our D-line.

In Crudup's second rep, he threw a nice pass to Eric Winston for eight yards that he received rather nice in stride and then turned up field into three or four tackler's (they didn't bring him down). On the very next play, Crudup makes a nice throw to Roscoe Parrish who was on a slant but dropped it. Two plays later, Parrish redeems himself on a down out route that he receives from Crudup and turns up field, Marshall on the coverage. On the next play, Johnathan Vilma, uses his right hand to deflect, an otherwise nice pass by Crudup, intended for Brandon Sebald. Crudup seems to get more confidence with each throw; he is very polished from a year ago. I'm definitely feeling very comfortable with Crudup as our back up this year!

On Dorsey's third rep, he makes a strong throw to left sideline and David Williams jumps up to make a great catch. On the next play, Dorsey hits Kellen Winslow in stride on a crossing pattern that he turns up field. Kellen catches the ball away from his body and with such soft hands, that, it reminds me of Shockey. Right about now, Dorsey is getting hot and seems to get on a roll. I sense a little competition in Dorsey, as it seems he is answering to Crudup's prior performance.

Buck Ortega comes in for his rep and makes a nice throw to Brandon Sebald who makes a nice catch. On the next play, he gets sacked as he held on to the ball to long. It was a coverage sack all the way. As far as his development, Buck is where Derrick was at the start of last year. Again, he is very athletic and as of right now he is the number three QB on the depth chart.

Tight Ends Brandon Sebald and Eric Winston seemed to be about the same height and about the same width (Eric might be just a tad wider on the shoulders). I feel that Brandon just needs to work on making longer strides and getting his knees higher off the ground. Some track drills that focus on getting his feet off the ground higher would really help. It seems to me that he will be prone to getting tackled easily by his feet. If he can correct those two deficiencies in his running, I think he is solid enough with his catching ability to help the team in case of injuries. Eric Winston, on the other hand, seems as if he's had one complete year of college football experience. He definitely has athletic ability for his size but only time will tell if he grows any bigger. Kellen Winslow is absolutely a WR in a TE's body. He is very polished in route running, receiving the ball, and with his speed and quickness.

On his fourth rep, Dorsey throws an excellent pass to Parrish, over his right shoulder that he leaps forward to receive and makes a beautiful catch! Next play, McGahee runs off right tackle and breaks off one tackler as pumps his legs for an eight-yard gain. The whistle blows as William Joseph and Cornelius Green reach Dorsey. Great penetration on both of them! Dorsey, then makes a nice throw to Quadtrine Hill in the flats to the left of the field, but misses and gets upset. Seemed he lost concentration for a moment like he was thinking of turning up field before he received the throw. Excellent throw though! The next few plays were running plays to McGahee. He ran one of center which he worked hard to get pass the LOS. Then, he received a tall sweep to the right, but there was nowhere for him to run not even any cut back lanes. Again Green and Joseph were involved in stopping the tall sweep, just too much speed on the outside. Now I've seen it all, "Big Daddy" Vince Wilfork, on the snap, does a swim move through his gap making it untouched to Crudup as he's handing the ball off! Wow! This whole series was practically dominated by the defensive squad.

In this series our running backs make a couple of nice runs. Talib Humphrey gets a couple of reps, as he starts with a run through a big whole opened up by Carlos Joseph and then gets hit by the LB's Johnathan Vilma and DJ Williams. Then, Roger McIntosh makes a tackle on Geathers as he's trying to cut the corner. Jason Geathers then takes a hand off from Crudup and makes a cut back off tackle into the secondary. Talib Humphrey makes a nice reception over his left shoulder for a ten-yard gain. Quadtrine Hill makes a nice run off tackle for a good gain. Last, Mark Guillon makes a nice throw to Nate Smith on a fly pattern on the left sideline. Nate had to dive to catch it and got a roar from his teammates. All in all, I think our players are starting to get there legs under them now and practices are only going to get better. One more thing, I saw Jarrett Payton running with Frank Gore. A good sign for Payton, because he was running with his shoulder pads on.

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