OK, this started as a comment about an hour ago, and then it got really long. So I decided to save MN some trouble, and discard my treasured non-posting streak. 20k comments without any posts has got to be some kind of record, right? All gone now, all gone.... MN, you owe me.
Menzie did have a good day, like it seems a few other people have noticed. My personal Menzie Moments were two pass breakups against Newsome, and great coverage against Copper. OK, not exactly Wes Welker he's going against...but he had really great cat-on-velcro coverage all three plays, and I think that's a very good sign for a guy who's seen as a corner/safety hybrid. The Copper play looked like a slant-and-go or something similar (I'm not great at recognizing routes), looked like a pretty tough route to cover, but Menzi stuck with Copper every step and the ball went elsewhere. Both Newsome plays were deep sideline throws, a batted ball on one and a knocked out of the receiver's hands on the other. On that second Newsome breakup, Menzi got shook up and tried to go to the sidelines, but there wasn't another CB nearby to sub for him, so he stayed in.
Jalil Brown is physical in press coverage. Not sure if what he's doing is legal, but it's not obviously IL-legal, at least to me.
Baldwin is freakin BIG. Like, "he can beat most men with his breath" kind of big.
Saw Baldwin get jammed up at the line pretty good by Brown. Then the very next play, Baldwin got a clean release against a different CB, I think maybe Arenas but don't remember for sure. So still seeing mixed things from our other Big Jon. During the brief drills where receivers work on hand skills, Baldwin is still getting one-on-one instruction with a coach. Hope he keeps improving this part of his game.
Kinnie might be the hardest working receiver out there. But it just doesn't look like he has the polish/skill. He makes some plays, but they remind me of the ones that Urban used to make in camp that never translated to gameday. Hopefully he finds a place as a special teamer or on the PS.
Wylie blew past Hartman in the one-on-one coverage drill. By blew past I mean like, no pause at the jam attempt, and 5 yards of separation 15 yards downfield. Wasn't really fair him going against a tall safety in one-on-one, and I don't hold it against Hartman at all. But I am happy to see that Wylie can really, really take advantage of a mismatch. If he plays as our fourth or fifth WR, he should be getting a few of those.
I also heard Wylie getting some praise from the coaches, and not nearly as much cursing as they were giving him last weekend.
Most entertaining moment came during endzone route drills. I was standing at the back of the endzone. Breaston couldn't reel in a ball thrown at his ankles. A fan nearby said "C'mon, Steve." Breaston turned around and said "C'mon Steve? You try and catch that s...." I really wish I'd seen which QB threw the pass. And Breaston looks really sinister with that half-shaded visor and black sleeves and knee wraps. Dude favors the dark side.
Asamoah looks great in pass blocking drills. He always jumps out and punches his guy before he falls into the pass block.
Didn't see Lilja take many reps in drills, but he looked really solid in pass blocking. He gets moved by the bigger guys, but always stays in front of them.
I'd say the same for Jeff Allen as I did for Lilja. Except there's not as much movement with Allen because he's bigger. Didn't see him going against the starters, though, just the rookies and backups.
Stephenson had a pretty dang impressive couple of turns against Hali in one-on-one. As in, Hali pressed him pretty good, but didn't get completely free. I thought that was impressive for the rookie. Also, similar to Wylie, I didn't notice Stephenson getting yelled at nearly as much as last weekend.
Sheff beat Albert clean in one-on-ones. Didn't see exactly how he faked Albert out, but Albert went one way while Sheff went the other. Then Albert jumped (!) to try to get back in front of him. At the end, Sheff was doing a smug walk back to the line, and Albert was sitting on the ground with a sheepish grin while the other O linemen razzed him. I figured Albert would make up for it on the second rep, but Sheff got him pretty good on that one, too. He used an inside move that might have gotten jammed up in traffic during a real game, but it looked good in the drill. I know nothing's wrong with Albert, because he was doing well against other guys. I've got hopes for Sheff this year.
Miller has some speed around the edge, but that's his one trick in pass rush. Sheff is clearly the better guy at the line. If Miller beats out Sheff, it'll be because they want somebody who can move in space and don't place as much importance on los play.
The new guy from Baltimore, Edgar something, I think was wearing 71. He wasn't the most skilled guy out there, but he wasn't bad, and he was working real hard. He might make it on special teams.
TJax is a load in pass rush drills. Big, strong, quick off the line, and aggressive. He doesn't get many reps in those drills.
Houston beat Winston bad on one play in the 11 on 11. He and Tamba are gonna tear things up this year.
Winston...he looks like he's going to make mistakes this year. I mean, I don't think he's going to be the cancer-curing Hitler-punching drowning-bear-cub-rescuing demigod that we've kinda built him up as. But I think he's going to be very good at his job, and very consistent, which will be a very, very nice change.
Play right after Houston left Winston in the dust, the D sent Arenas on a blitz from the other side. Arenas came in totally free. I read a report where the D was walking through safety blitzes, which I didn't personally see, but it sounds like Javy's play probably happened about three minutes after that walkthrough.
Powe was doing better than before at keeping his feet during sweeps. If he stays on his feet, he seems just about impossible to move backward.
One guy who did manage to slant Powe down the field a few yards during one sweep was Stag's boy Holland. Holland looks like he's got some strength, and some skill. I bought a yearbook after practice, and noticed they've got him listed at 6-2 320. I had no idea he weighed 20 lbs more than Hudson. He doesn't look it to my untrained eye, but he definitely shows some strength out there. Got some hopes for him.
I noticed two two-down defensive sets (not sure if nickel or dime). One had TJax and Dorsey (!), and the other had Bailey and Poe. Didn't see exactly what happened at the line with TJax and Dorsey, but the play was a run that went for about twenty yards in the middle of the field. With Poe and Bailey, the play was a short dump-off that got stopped, but I saw Poe get washed out of the middle by a double team, trapping both him and Bailey on the side away from the play.
Counting the preceding two plays, that makes about 6-8 two-down sets I've noticed during my five times at practice. And I don't think I've seen the same pair of linemen used more than once. This is a part of our game that has me worried.
Dex looks like a vet. He just looks competent in all the little details. That said, he's got some polishing he can still do on his WR skills. They ran a zone drill where the coaches simulated linebacker positioning. The first guy to run was Dex, and he ran too far into the zone. He got some coaching from both Sirianni and Cassel. Then he ran it again, and then again after all the other receivers had gone through.
Zeke looks pretty good out there. He looks like he knows what he's doing. I don't know if that's a good sign for him, or a bad sign for our WR depth.
I'm just not seeing very many dropped balls out there, in general. I usually favor the field where the linemen are working, so I don't see all the WR vs DB drills. But it seems to me like if a ball hits a receiver's hands, then it's usually staying there, unless a DB actually knocks it out.
I did see Boss drop a pass once. It was a tough catch, and he was well-covered. A fan standing near me said "Oh hell, who is that, who's number eighty?!" His son told him. Then he said something like "Dammit, he shouldn't drop anything, he's a pro, he can't be doing stuff like that." Tuesday night, I was sitting in front of a guy who got on Cassel for throwing a low ball that a receiver had to stretch for. He said "Cassel Sucks. He wasn't even pressured. You see that? He wasn't even under pressure! Damn he sucks. It's like he, I mean he wasn't even pressured mumble mumble mumble." He started mumbling right when Stanzi threw the exact same route Cassel had just been working on, and sailed the ball two feet over the receivers' hands. rabble rabble rabble
Flowers wasn't practicing. But he was kinda bouncing around over by the bikes, doing some calisthenic type stuff. Looked pretty good.
11 on 11 is kinda tough to run with the 2nd and 3rd teams because our backup pass rushers look like they far outclass our backup tackles. So, Studie and Sheff are always having to just stand around in the backfield and wait for the QB to throw. Good practice for the backup tackles, I guess.
Saw the D line doing a drill that was a little more cerebral than I'd seen before. They were lining up one vs three, and the one had to pick which guy to engage based on which way the three O line analogues went. They also worked on technique of how to engage during this drill. Dorsey had a tendency to jump at the guy he wanted to engage. Powe looked the opposite, had a tendency to take pitter-pat steps.
The team has some talent at returner, and they're working that part of the game a lot more than I remember them doing the last couple years. Hopefully it'll be a strength for us.
At the end, it looked like they were running redzone drills from about the five yardline. Couldn't see everything clearly because I was on the wrong side of the field. But the first play, they gave the ball to Charles. That got me excited, because Charles almost never gets the ball close to the goal line. He ran it in, and the crowd went wild. The offense ran a few more running plays, and had some good success with those, too. I don't know whether to take that as a good sign for the O or a bad sign for the D, but considering our offensive struggles lately I'm tending toward the former.
Said it before, and I'll say it again - Every team should have an Edgar.
How ya like this formation?
But it turned into this:
Cassel getting clowned by some unathletic dude who thinks he knows things. /used to it
Can we just agree to disagree?
Who's the best quarterback in this picture? Careful. It's a trap.
"Big" Jon and "C'mon" Steve.
Flowers, not injured:
The calm before the storm....