A fans eye view - Part III

The morning was blessedly overcast giving us all - fans and players alike - some relief from the 94 degree temperatures of the previous day. I headed out to my favorite photo/autograph site but most of the players had already gone. I got a photo of Danny Weurffel signing autographs for fans.

Once again Darnerian McCants stops to accommodate
the fans. Rather than ask for an autograph, I compliment him on a few
catches in drills and ask if he'll be re-assigned a number. He said
that NFL rules required he get something in the 80s. I really am
pulling for this kid to get some playing time.

Although almost all the fans are gone, there are some vacant golf
carts sitting around - that usually means someone's going to use them.
I suspect not everyone's left and I'm rewarded. A Penn State jersey
catches my attention and it's Lavar. I get some photos and, bless his
heart, he signs my little computer generated training camp sheet. Even
better, an obliging fan agrees to my request to get a photo of me with
Lavar. It's my favorite so far - I'm calling it 'Lavar chills with his
#1 homey, Tennessee.' O.K. Maybe not.

As I leave for the field, another fan is whining about how Spurrier
took off in a cart and wouldn't sign for him. He finishes exclaiming,
"That scumbag!" I suggest that maybe that attitude is why players
don't sign or stop. I don't think the guy liked me and I can't say that
I care.

On to practice. I'm early and I notice Darrell Green jogging around
on the field. We fans stay on the roped off portion set aside for us.
Darrell Green leaps over the ropes and starts jogging along past the
fans, many who wear slack jawed expressions of amazement ("Hey, wasn't
that.....?"). Very nice sense of the dramatic.

I noticed a fan wearing one of those 'Got Spurrier' shirts and ask if
he'd found it on the 'Net. He said he got it off CPND but he didn't
post. Lots of lurkers.

During the warm ups, I notice a young blonde woman watching the
defensive backs with a small child. She's painfully pretty (although my
wife, who routinely reads these, would make her look like potted meat
product) and is wearing a casual outfit that's clearly well-accessorized
and expensive. I peg her for a player's girlfriend or wife. If the
jeans she wore were tighter, they'd officially cease to be garments and
would have to be designated as a tattoo. Later an older (and much
bolder) fellow goes over to chat her up and finds she's the mother of
Champ Bailey's child. Serious bling-bling.

Happily married man that I am (did I mention my wife routinely reads
these?), my attention turned back toward the field. I watch Bruce and
Santana Dotson run some sprints and hit some dummies (I understand that
they've just been put on the Physically Unable To Perform list). The
offensive line guys are doing blocking sled drills - not very
interesting.

The offense is doing an 11 on 0 drill that's sort of troubling. Even
with no defense on the field, I can't say they're looking sharp. Rock
Cartwright makes a nice catch - he's just a bowling ball of a guy.

My favorite drill of the morning is an offensive one where the WRs
tale off on corner routes. Each has a defensive back with him one on
one. The passes are long and the players know they're on display so
they're trying (and there are drills where you can tell there's not much
effort). Champ looks great. McCants makes a few plays out there. It'd
be nice if our QBs could actually make the throws - Skaggs doesn't get
much of a chance to catch the under thrown ball when it's his turn.
Keep in mind these QBs are working without a rush.

I notice the team has brought in some zebras, so I expect a
scrimmage. We don't get that, but there's some controlled drills.
Jeremiah Trotter is flagged for interference and does his best NBA-style
expression of outrage. Ladell Betts drops a short pass (no coverage on
him) and the crowd gasps. Some fan yells out "Hold that ball like it's
a bag of money." During the drills, I'd say McCants and Kenny Watson
looked good. Chris Doering made one good catch as did Derrius
Thompson. Danny Weurffel made some poor throws and Sage overthrew an
open WR in the end zone. Skaggs dropped a what would have been a
fingertip catch on a crossing pattern. I'd have to say the most
consistent player on the offense has been Stephen Davis - he's pretty
much money every time he gets the ball (you hear that, fantasy league
participants?).

When you're in Carlisle, you never know who you're talking with or
standing near. I spoke a bit with a very nice woman who turned out to
be Kenny Watson's mother. Obviously, they're a bit on edge over his
making the roster or at least getting a real chance to show his
ability. I also believe Sage Rosenfels' family was there. Keep that
in mind. If you're muttering (even to yourself) about how a particular
player ought to be cut, you might be saying that with his momma standing
right next to you. Imagine how painful that could be. I say that
because I realized how easy it would have been to slip out something
about how I wish we'd have re-signed Ki-Jana or something when I was
talking to Kenny Watson's mom.

I did see the Cliff Russell injury, but I had no idea that it was as
serious as I'm hearing. He went out on a medium depth route and locked
up with Smoot. Once Smoot released, Russell's momentum carried him to
the ground (maybe with a little assistance from Smoot, but nothing
malicious). Honestly, I thought it wasn't a big deal at all, but all of
a sudden, he's down on the sideline and they're working on his leg.
Torn ACL? Man...the kid plays ball in middle school, high school, goes
off to college and excels to the point he's drafted on the first day and
on the second or third day of his first training camp...BOOM.

I'd have to say that the team is looking a bit sharper. Clearly the
defense is further along than the offense, but it's coming around.


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