From the FanPosts. -Chris
While the players slowly made their way onto the field, everyone was watching closely but there was no Tamba Hali. All of us in the stands seemed to become resigned to the idea that he possibly wasn't in town yet.
While the players were standing around waiting for practice to start (it started 30 minutes late), Kelly Gregg looked excited to be on the field. As Joel pointed out about him last night, he was making a point to talk with the other players. He was smiling and excited to be in football gear.
Something I didn't notice until today and someone has probably already pointed out - the rookies are not wearing arrowhead on their helmets. As we know, two years ago Haley wouldn't let anyone wear arrowheads and they were even taken off after the first two preseason games - and then Haley said it was getting too expensive. Last year, nobody had them until the first pre-season game. This year, everyone seems to have them except the rookies.
During the opening portion of practice, Tyson Jackson was working one-on-one with someone who appeared to be Master Joe Kim in hand to hand combat drills. Something I've observed about Tyson and I know other people have as well this year at training camp: he seems driven. We already know that he showed up in great shape. Today, though, he wasn't just going through the motions. In the time I observed him, a lot of the other linemen were at a point where they were able to take a much-needed breather, and it looked like Jackson had pulled this coach, I think it was Master Kim, aside to work on stuff. When they would pause, Tyson was animated in the way that he would ask questions and seek clarification - showing with his arms one thing and seemingly looking to see if that's the right way. His body language says he is driven to rise to his level of potential. Later, Kelly Gregg was working one on one with a coach in hand to hand combat drills.
Jim Zorn worked on a exercise with the QB's that involved two exercise balls. One QB would stand in the middle holding a football, and they had to avoid getting hit by the exercise balls from four different directions. On four corners were the other two QB's, Zorn, and another coach. Cassel looked pretty good in the drill and was able to avoid getting hit most of the time. One time when he did get hit he knew it was coming and put his shoulder into it. Palko and Stanzi each were hit more - Stanzi more than Palko. When Cassel's second turn in the drill came, he jokingly laid down on the ground and signaled a timeout - which caused everyone involved in the drill to laugh a lot.
Throughout the drill, Zorn repeatedly explained the point of the what they were doing. He would say "now the whole point is to..." He's not the type of coach to say "just do it, and don't ask questions." He explains the reasons behind his methods which seems like it will be effective. Overall, throughout the whole practice, Zorn is a very hands on coach. He's talking with the QB's at every opportunity. I went to camp a few times last year, and I am sure that Charlie Weis is a brilliant coach in his own right, but I did not see the type of hands on coaching with as I do with Zorn. Granted, I don't think Weis was the official QB coach, but I know Cassel says he learned a lot from him. Zorn also did a drill with them where the QB took the snap looked left, rolled counter clockwise, turned around and threw to a target on the right. I'm willing to bet that Zorn is going to help our QB's feel more comfortable in the pocket, have improved judgement, and have to discipline to pump fake and not stare down their receiver.
The Bowe Show returned for a segment when someone (maybe from NFL flims?) was filming the receiver drills. During that time, Bowe would talk the fans and the stands - and the camera was all over him.
As has already been described on this site, there is a drill a camp where three or four offensive linemen go against 1 defensive linemen or OLB. Today it was 3 on 1. The other day when they OLB's were involved it was 4 on 1 Jerell Powe stood his ground well during that drill today, and received some one-on-one coaching from Romeo Crennel. DL Dion Gales knocked OL Mike Ingersoll to the ground. Once again, Todd Haley and Scott Pioli were watching this drill carefully. Haley chatted one-on-one with Kelly Gregg for a couple of minutes while it wasn't his turn.
At 5:13, the players (except the QB's) took their pads off and wore just shells for the remainder of practice.
Later, there was a drill that involved QB's, wideouts, and defensive backs. The QB would take the snap and only one WR and one DB would be lined up, so they both knew the pass was coming their way since there were no other options. Javier Arenas had a really nice break-up during this drill. The first time Bowe and Flowers lined up, Bowe had a couple steps on Flowers to begin with, but even though he was a couple of steps behind Flowers was able to catch back with Bowe before the pass arrive and when Bowe turned around to make the catch, Flowers swatted it away. This got Haley's attention - who three times shouted across the field "That's an insult, Dwayne!". Bowe won the next two match-ups against Flowers. Of course, the CB's have a natural disadvantage at this point in training camp since they're not being as physical as the usually would be.
On the other end of the field, the conditioning coach Mike Clark was working the big guys on a drill that appeared from a distance to be about agility and being light on their feet. We know how Haley likes his big guys to be athletic. They would jump from having all their weight on one leg to the other and then practiced jumping in the air so as to deflect as pass or block a kick.
Jon McGraw low-fived Pioli once when he was running from drill to drill.
Before 7 on 7 and 11 on 11, Haley had most of the team running sprints for a few minutes. Conditioning was another big part of the practice as it had been with every practice so far. Hopefully, that will pay dividends in the 4th quarter when September rolls around.
At some time between 5:15 and 5:30, Tamba Hali showed up which was exciting to the crowd and his teammates seemed happy to see him.
During 7 on 7, WR coach Richie Anderson got onto WR Chandler Williams after he turned around in his route to make a catch. Anderson yelled "don't sit" which was echoed by other coaches. Apparently, Williams had not accelerated quickly enough after making the catch but rather stayed still . He was trying to correct this. Speaking of Williams, he made several nice catches throughout the practice, one of which made those of us in the stands cheer because he was in tight coverage.
Brandon Flowers broke up a pass from Matt Cassel intended for Jerheme Urban. When DB Ricky Price was on the field, he was very vocal in shouting out down and distance and encouraged the rest of the D to communicate. After Jamaal Charles caught a pass in 7 on 7 that looks like it would have gone for a TD, Todd Haley was really excited and even walked toward Jamaal at the other end of the field pumping his fist in the air. A lot of other times good things happen and he doesn't get that animated so he must have been really pleased with the way the play was executed.
When 11 on 11 started, Todd Haley said he wanted things to move a faster pace than 7 on 7 except "the guys up front... not so much." He said he wanted them to focus on technique. Bill Muir dialed in the plays during 11 on 11. Derrick Johnson intercepted a Matt Cassel pass and that seemed to get the defense excited. Hali got involved in 11 on 11. He could have had Cassel at one point but of course stopped, stood, and watched him make the throw. Of course, there was not the same blocking against Hali as there would be in a game (which usually involves an OT grabbing his facemask and not getting called for it).
One of Romeo Crennel's hand signals to the defense looks like he is brushing the haters off his shoulder. During 11 on 11, when Haley knew his team was tired, he yelled "this isn't going to happen by accident."
At the end of the practice, most of the team (except kick and punt returners who were working on another field) worked on conditioning again. There were three groups. One group would lay face down on the grown, and when the whistle blew would jump up and sprint. Then the next two groups would do the same. Each group did this exercise no less than ten times. This football team is going to be very well-conditioned.