Thursday Practice Report

It was a pretty sharp overall practice Thursday morning, with the defense probably having more moments than the offense. Anthony Barr, of course, was impressive, but cornerback Anthony Jefferson continues to have a good spring...

Coach Jim Mora said Thursday's practice was the best of spring so far, and we'd have to agree. The quarterbacks, as a group, were the sharpest they've been, both in individual and team drills. The one-on-ones, both the passing and OL/DL, were spirited and impressive, and the team periods, for the most part, had some very good moments on both sides of the ball. If there were some flaws to the day it was too many snap issues, and there was a bit of chippiness that led to a couple of fights.

On offense, the receivers were without Shaquelle Evans for another day, but that gave Devin Lucien another opportunity to compete for a starting spot. He probably had the best day among the receivers, in one 7-on-7 catchng three of four consecutive balls and looking dominant, even though a couple of possessions were against the second-string defense. The problem, however, for Lucien is that Jordan Payton, the guy slotted at the starting spot that Lucien would take, also had a good day and was pretty close in terms of performance. In a goal line, Payton snatched a ball over cornerback Ishmael Adams, while also making a few nice catches down the field. Kenny Walker also had a few good moments, on one team rep getting behind his man dep and catching a very well-thrown ball from T.J. Millweard.

The quarterbacks, as we said, as a group, were more consistent. Millweard, for another practice, probably fared better than Jerry Neuheisel, and is making a case to be the #1 back-up behind Brett Hundley.

The snap issues were mostly coming from Carl Hulick, who was working as the second-string center. The snaps weren't horrible, but probably coming too hot. To his defense, too, there were a number of snaps just plainly mishandled by the quarterbacks, Hundley in particular.

The offensive line is still a makeshift proposition, but it appears that, at least for spring, the lineup is starting to be established. Thursday, Xavier Sua'-Filo was at left tackle (and took man reps there with the 2s, also), Ben Wysocki was at left guard, Jake Brendel at center, Kody Innes was at right guard and Torian White and Simon Goines mostly alternated at right tackle. In one-on-ones, Sua=-Filo, of course, was the best, but Hulick actually had a pancake on Sealii Epenesa, and Alexandru Ceachir looked strong and hard to move.

In redzone offense, the coaches utilized Anthony Barr as a wideout, and he caught a touchdown pass over the top of his defender.

In the one-on-one blocking drills for running backs against linebackers, Paul Perkins did very well blocking, able to keep bigger defenders in front of him well.

The defense probably had an overall better practice than the offense, with some very noteworthy defensive moments. Barr probably had the most, with a few batted balls, a couple of virtual sacks, and some very nice pursuits. A close second would go to Anthony Jefferson, who is having an eye-opening spring at cornerback. He made a number of nice plays, a couple of batdowns and one very well-timed close on a receiver that dislodged the ball. He, also, looked good in staying with receivers deep, which has been a bit of his bugaboo as he's been coming back from his long-time injury.

With Eric Kendricks out, it has to be noted that Ryan Hofmeister has filled in admirably at the inside linebacker spot, being very good at holding down his assignments and being around the ball. The linebackers, overall, have been a definite strength, and Aaron Wallace put together another very nice performance, shuttng down a couple of receivers in coverage. He also got a pick on a tipped ball. Kenny Orjioke, too, had a good day, being among the quickest in the passing one-one-ones, and one of the best in coverage (which he probably should, since he was a one-time safety), snagging a pick. Isaiah Bowens, back from the ACL, isn't participating in team drills, but he's looked good in individuals, especially in one-on-ones where he was good staying with receivers. Barr went up against Jordon James in passing one-on-ones, and that was probably the only situation where Barr looked a bit over-matched, unable to stay with the small, shifty James in space.

Stan McKay worked entirely at one of the starting safety spots, alongside Randall Goforth. Up front, Brandon Tuliaupupu got some run with the 1s at nose guard, giving Epenesa a break.

Practice ended on a chippy note. Barr and White got into it on one rep, and they continued their pushing match on the next rep. The practice then ended with what looked like a defense-versus-offense pushing match.


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