Brian Waters, Mike Goff and Ron Edwards practiced today after spending Saturday in conditioning drills for failing to pass a part of their physicals. Kolby Smith, Damion McIntosh, Jake O'Connell, Derrick Johnson, Demorrio Williams and Glenn Dorsey spent practice working with strength and conditioning coaches.
The workouts these players have been put through the last couple of days have been intense. Between dragging dummies across the field and working with the agility ladder, they have had to exert every ounce of energy and strength they have.
Practice started right on schedule at 1:50 p.m. The defense came out aggressively in a drill that matched up defensemen against defensemen. Cornerback Maurice Leggett played nickel back as the team's defenders ran through schemes. Not receiving much notice from the press is a player receiving reps with the first-string – defensive end Bobby Greenwood, a rookie free agent from Alabama. He seems to be catching on to his responsibilities quickly and is showing great effort out on the field.
By 2:14 special teams work brought a big portion of the team to the center field to work on blocking for punt returns. Emphasis was put on the correct technique for blocking up the field and creating space in the middle, essentially pinning defenders to the sideline.
The defensive line was under the vocal instruction of Tim Krumrie once again. They went up against a single sled and worked on locking out their opponent. The tight ends took on the linebackers in a one-on-one coverage drill. The defensive ends weaved in and out of dummies and worked on stripping and recovering the ball.
An air horn blew at 2:33 and the quarterbacks worked with the wide receivers in a mid to long-range passing drill. All four quarterbacks threw at the same time and received the same amount of reps.
Both the defensive and offensive lines worked on their footwork using barriers. Speed and accuracy were essential to completing the crisscross pattern over the barriers.
The defensive line worked on getting off the line quickly. Ron Edwards played nose tackle with the first-string and Alex Magee and Alfonso Boone played the ends.
Absent the line, the offense gathered for a drill that put the heat on the running backs, who had to run through a cage with spider arms and then through a tunnel formed by their teammates as they tried to knock the ball out of their arms. Protecting the ball and running hard was key.
Cornerbacks and safeties challenged passes thrown down field by locating the ball and timing for the interception.
Four orange cones were setup in a box for the running backs to perfect their change of direction while on the run.
The offensive line was forced to keep low when it worked with cages that kept them low and centered when pushing off the line.
Receivers faced the defensive backfield as they worked on running effective routes. The quarterbacks and running backs joined the defensive line and linebackers for some hitting and blocking action before rookie kicker Ryan Succop took to the field for kicking practice. He made all four of his attempts, kicking from the 20 and 25-yard line on the left hash mark and the 20 from the right hash mark. He was up against full coverage at game speed.
The air horn sounded again at 3:23 and welcomed the team to 11-on-11 action.
The first-string for the defense was: safeties Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page, cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr, linebackers Monty Beisel, Zach Thomas, Mike Vrabel and Tamba Hali and defensive linemen Alex Magee, Alfonso Boone and Ron Edwards.
On offense: quarterback Matt Cassel, fullback Mike Cox, tight end Brad Cottam, wide receivers Dwayne Bowe, Bobby Engram and Mark Bradley and linemen Branden Albert, Brian Waters, Rudy Niswanger, Mike Goff and Herb Taylor.
By 3:35 it was time for more position-specific drills. The offensive and defensive line matched up. They fought to keep each other off their territory as they pushed each other hard for increments of five yards driving for either the block or for an attempt to break through the line.
Another punt return drill occurred at 3:51. Receivers Rodney Wright and Quinten Lawrence shared return responsibilities. Defenders went up against a two-on-one coverage as they attempted to stop the return.
The practice finished with a spirited session of 11-on-11 in the red zone.
River Falls Recap: 8/2 PM Practice
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