Sobo Looks at Day One

The huge degree of change will make things very interesting on the offensive line this year. Draft and offensive line analyst Brent Sobleski examines the first day of Camp Mangini, with a focus on the rooks and offensive line...

- Early rust continues to slow the progress of the quarterback play. None of the signal callers looked especially effective. Brady Quinn, in particular, struggled as the team's first-team figurehead. On multiple occasions the Notre Dame product missed wide open targets on deep routes. Derek Anderson did sneak a few repetitions in with the top unit and did nothing of particular consequence. Brett Ratliff is interesting when watching his technique closely with a short, compact, and quick release.

- The merry-go-round known as the offensive line changed drastically from this morning's starting lineup. What consisted of Thomas, Steinbach, Fraley, Womack, and St. Clair on first-team reps in the initial practice later read Thomas, Hadnot, Mack, Tucker, St. Clair. The most interesting aspect of this combination was the presence of Steinbach at left tackle with the second team throughout this second installment. Though the incumbent starting left guard did not take a single snap at said position, veteran Hank Fraley did. The line as a whole was often seen moving in space and pulling much more today than anticipated. Rex Hadnot, in particular, had the pleasure of planting cornerback Corey Ivy on a nice pull block.

- Nose Tackle Shaun Rogers was hampered most of the day with what appeared to be a bad ankle. He was later overheard complaining about his cleats as the culprit, as he said they were hurting his feet. But it is hard to overlook the heavily-bandaged right ankle he is currently sporting. Between the two, maybe it provides some excuses as to why he power walked around the field during a lap required for a mistake. Maybe the term "power walk" is being overly generous…  "tortoise-like" could be more appropriate.

- Santonio Thomas also suffered slightly from calf-cramping late in the practice which required attention from trainers.

- Rookie David Veikune spent almost all of his day playing inside linebacker. During one particular interior rushing drill, the newly minted linebacker was paired with D'Qwell Jackson on the first team. Both Veikune and fellow recent draftee Kulaka Maiava made their presence known in blocking drills, blowing up fullbacks and tight ends. Veikune also saw a repetition as an end in an obvious passing situation for the offense.

- The first-year linebackers are not the only ones being shifted throughout the defense. Kamerion Wimbley spent the bulk of his day at left outside linebacker, opposite his traditional starting point. Leon Williams also saw a multiple repetitions as both an outside and inside backer.

- Along the defensive line, Mosley held down the fort, receiving top billing at right end next to Shaun Rogers and Kenyon Coleman. Corey Williams was seen only with the second team. Throughout drills with this unit, position coach Bryan Cox was asking his players not to "fight across the face" of opposing offensive linemen, instead preaching and teaching the importance of gap responsibility and body positioning.

- The knock on James Davis as he left Clemson, and the primary reason he eventually became a late-round selection, was a supposed lack of top-end speed. However, about halfway through practice, the young runner took a simple toss off the left side of the line and ran it to the house with all defenders trailing and gaining no ground.

- Although very early in the process, top rookie Alex Mack has struggled to some degree. Not only was he seen running laps for mistakes on two occasions, veteran defensive lineman are testing him by trying to bull him over on almost every opportunity. Mack's results in these occasions have been mixed at best.

- Of anyone on the field, it may have been Ryan Tucker who had the worst practice of the lot. This offensive line leader really seems slow coming back from injury and lacking the power he once possessed as he paved the way as Cleveland's primary road grader. He battled throughout the practice, but found himself on the ground multiple times.

- Quietly, two young receivers had nice efforts. Unexpectedly, those two receivers do not go by the names of Brian Robiskie or Mohamed Massaquoi. Rather, Paul Hubbard and Jordan Norwood stood out. Hubbard was able to break a couple deep, while Norwood was sliding between zones and caught a couple passes while in traffic.

- A source close to Joe Thomas was overheard stating their surprise that he made the Pro Bowl last season after some less than stellar play.

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