Numerous veterans were not on the field Saturday for the second of two practice sessions. This P.M. practice session was not as intense as the early practice. The team focused more on positional drills and less 11-on-11 team drills.
Despite the lack of team activity, there were some interesting moments and outstanding efforts to be seen on the field during this session.
- In defensive back drills where a player has to run, plant, cut , sprint back and catch the ball, safety Brodney Pool along with CB's Brandon McDonald, A.J. Davis and Damon Jenkins were the most fluid and quickest in-and-out of the cut.
- Blocking drills between receivers and DB's became intense and increasingly competitive. Kellen Winslow packed the biggest punch, when he stonewalled safety Steve Cargile, pushing the safety back three yards. Other players blocking well were Travis Wilson and Steve Sanders. Safety Nick Sorensen and rookie Gerald Lawson did not fare well, as neither player was able to get off the blocks set by the receivers.
- In line drills, "inconsistency" was probably the session's watchword. LT James Lee was beaten badly by the inside moves of LB Shantee Orr and Alex Hall. Lee began the drill rather lethargically, did not get into his set quickly and lacked a strong base off the left leg and punch. As Lee started to show signs of life later in the drill, Orr again beat Lee, only this time bull-rushing through the young lineman.
- Rookie OG Nathan Bennett is perceived to be a long-shot to make this team due to the depth along the line, but he isn't playing the role of roster-filler. Bennett has been fairly active and better than adequate in positional drills. This rookie sets with a quick and reasonable movement and does not get over-powered at the point of attack easily. He was solid against OLB's David McMillan and Chase Ortiz.
- Veteran OLB Antwan Peek garnered additional reps with the first-team with Willie McGinest sitting out the session. He quickly left his mark. Lined up opposite starting RT Kevin Shaffer, Peek at one point used his speed and quickness to get around the tackle, on another occasion he quickly pushed the LT far into the backfield. Later in the same drill, Peek smoked backup Issac Sowells with a shoulder dip off the edge.
- Speaking of Sowells, outside of Peek getting past him, he again was much better lined-up at right tackle in drills. McMillan beat him with a speed move outside in 11-on-11 drills, but was solid throughout. A tendency Sowells has is to overcompensate in his set, which he did against McMillan and Peek earlier, he gets his weight leaning far off the right leg, leaving himself exposed to the inside move.
- In passing drills with receivers, some outstanding routes and throws made for an encouraging session. WR Braylon Edwards continues to catch everything thrown his way. With CB Brandon McDonald draped all over him, Edwards managed to haul-in an over-the-shoulder reception, with McDonald swatting at the ball throughout. The reception was not the outstanding aspect of the play, it was the sharpness of the route run by Edwards, along with the excellent coverage of McDonald.
- WR Travis Wilson beat CB Jereme Perry to the post with a subtle hand move in the drills which gave the third-year receiver the room to beat the CB and haul in the reception.
- Lined-up against veteran CB Terry Cousin, TE Kellen Winslow spun Cousin around with a double-move, which left the CB 10-yards behind the receiver. As Winslow hauled in the pass, he ran by the fans slapping hands with a couple happy youngsters in attendance.
- Rookie WR Lance Leggett hauled in the most difficult reception of the session. Lined-up opposite rookie CB Mil'von James, Leggett and James battled down-field, with Leggett out-stretching an aggressive and well-positioned James for a ball thrown to the corner of the end-zone. This was simply a play in which the receiver was able to remain focused with a CB all over him. The effort by both players was fantastic.
- In 11-on-11 drills, CB A.J. Davis defended out-patterns against Winslow and Edwards well, but the timing (Quinn) and accuracy (DA) of the throws provided the CB an opportunity to make plays on the ball.
- Winslow torched LB Leon Williams in the drill. Williams was late in picking up the TE off the line and Winslow simply ran past the stationary LB.
- Later in the session, Winslow was in the process of hauling in a pass when Brandon McDonald popped the TE. After the impact, Winslow laid on the field for a few moments, as a silence fell across the fans in attendance. As trainers bolted out to check on Winslow, he got to his feet and walked back to the offensive side of the field. Nothing major on Winslow, he had the wind knocked out him.
- WR Donte Stallworth worked with the team, but did not participate in the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 team drills. The veteran is expected to get back into the swing of things in the team drills on Sunday.
- Rookie WR Paul Hubbard was working in his receiving skills. Much like days of the past, a member of the staff was feeding the ball machine, which was spitting out darts at the rookie.
- Many members of the team were carted around following the session to sign autographs for the 2,500-to-3,000 fans in attendance.
- Sometimes, I'm not sure how much I like being part of the media horde. While training camp is to get the team is shape, it also helps the fans reconnect to the team. What bothers me is how some which cover this team seem to feel entitled. During the session late on Saturday, young children were lined-up watching the session in the section off Beech Street. Foam advertising barriers separate the fans from the field, and these barriers end approximately 20-yards before the sideline, thus giving visitors and mostly, children, a nice view.
Needless to say, some in the media simply plopped their collective backsides down, leaving the youngsters without the ability to see the players they adore. Nice job, there, guys. Remember you may be there because it is your job, but don't forget you were once wide-eyed youngsters yourself. Be considerate!