...Gregg Williams always prided himself on not having safeties designated as free and strong. Not anymore. And when rookie LaRon Landry is on the field, he will be a strong safety, freeing up Sean Taylor to play free safety. In the past, Williams liked playing without that designation because it allowed him some creativity. But Landry's ability to play strong will create problems for opposing offenses as well.
''With Sean's skills, he can go so far to get balls and we had to use him in the box an awful lot last year,'' Williams said. ''He can do anything you want him to do. I would like to put Sean in a position to go get the ball. LaRon is going to help us do that. LaRon has the versatility you want the safety to have and really in any system we play defensively. He'll help us do so many things.''
And he'll do them pretty soon.
''It won't be long for LaRon to work his way in the lineup,'' Williams said, ''from what I have seen.
... He plays with the style and attitude that we like our defensive guys to play.
''There was no game in the college level, and we watched all of them, that we ever felt like he was out of place.''
Williams also liked that Landry handled a starting role early at LSU for his friend Nick Saban.
If you know anything about what Nick (Saban) does on defense, he does more in some areas than what we do,'' Williams said. ''He will be able to handle that as a mental standpoint, he did such a great job at that while he was in college. He fits in very, very well. At no time have I seen him in a game where he thinks the game is bigger than him. We have heard an awful lot about how Jemarcus (Russell) stood out in that Sugar Bowl, and so did he (LaRon). You go back and watch his game film and how he played in that
game, he was hunting people down. He wasn't just trying to win his match-up, he was trying to hunt you down. Those are the kinds of things you like from an attitude standpoint for defense."
...It was cool and breezy today and started to rain midway through practice, getting a little harder by the end.
...Owner Dan Snyder, vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato and trainer Bubba Tyer arrived around 12:55 p.m. after attending Kevin Mitchell's funeral in Harrisburg, Pa., earlier in the morning.
...LaRon Landry made one little mistake during a seven-on-seven drill. While playing a cover-2, he was on the right side. But he bit inside on the tight end, allowing the quarterback to drop one in on the area he had just vacated. Landry slapped his hands after the play, knowing he'd made a mistake.
...Safety Troy Grosfield (Indiana) made a nice play, breaking up a deep pass down the left side from Sam Hollenbach.
...Tight end Tyler Ecker dropped a pass from Hollenbach.
...Don't know what will happen with him, but I liked some of the moves by running back Terry Caulley. The 5-foot-8 Caulley played for UConn and has some shifty moves, one time juking linebacker Kevin Jones.
...Linebacker Dallas Sartz was all over tight end Pete Schmitt on one passing drill. He probably would have drawn a flag, but this play resulted in a Sartz knockaway -- he should have intercepted it.
...Saw Rock Cartwright on the field Friday and told him he didn't need to be there, that he had nothing to worry about. ''I'm not worried,'' Cartwright replied. We were joking; he was not.
...Before the defense breaks to individual work, they do a drill in which they drop into pass coverage and Williams throws at a linebacker or defensive back. They're supposed to catch it and run it into the end zone. When the vets do it during camp or in the season, they don't say too much. But with guys trying to impress the coaches, they shout, ''Score!'' at the top of their lungs.
...The D-linemen do two drills every day. On the first, each guy weaves his way through six big tackling dummies, knocking the bags out of the way. The key is getting through there without taking too many extra steps, and not to be too upright. This group has a ways to go.
They also have one drill in which they run around what looks like a gigantic hula hoop laying on the ground. Coach Greg Blache puts a towel on the ground that they have to pick up as they run around. Again, it's all about trying to keep them low and balanced.
The other thing Blache emphasizes constantly is hand placement. You can see why guys improve under him.