It was typical day of mini camp. Typical in the sense that the quarterbacks were all still struggling early on. It was pretty much across the board struggling. None of them were looking off receivers, and all of them were throwing a bit wild– including Russell who looked the best of the group yesterday. Whether it be overthrown or underthrown, it didn’t matter. I noticed at one point that Boller had yet to complete a pass. That isn’t to say that he hadn’t hit one when I wasn’t looking, I just didn’t see one. I marked at 11:56 (about an half hour into passing drills) he had his first. He calmed down a bit after that and started to make some nice throws as did the other quarterbacks.
Among the receivers, the best looking guy on the field was, to no one’s surprise, Zach Miller. He is a guy who looks as good in games as he does in practice. At one point, he had two nice catches in a row. Both came from Boller. The first was a beauty hat Zach high-pointed right over the top of the outstretched arms of Ricky Brown in coverage. The second was a ‘put the ball where they aint’ situation that Boller made a good throw but Zach made and even better catch on.
The worst receivers on the day has to be a tie between Yamon Figurs and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
You could tell when Figurs was the one catching the ball because you could hear it smack his forearms upon entry. From all indications, he lacks the soft hands required to make those catches on a regular basis as an NFL receiver. Figurs does get a little redemption for himself a bit later when he caught a long pass from Jason Campbell with rookies Jeremy Ware and Stevie Brown in tight coverage. The leaping grab drew some nice ‘oohs’ from his teammates.
DHB only had one all out drop but he is still letting the ball reach his body on catches which means that as soon as he puts pads on, we will see the ball bouncing off his chest (and gut and knees and ankle…) which is a recipe for disaster. He is another guy that you can often hear the ball slap his forearms. I was counting and DHB had two good catches, three ugly catches and one drop.
DHB wasn’t the only one with a drop though. There were only a couple other all out drops among the receivers. Todd Watkins had a ball go right threw his hands and Jonnie Lee Higgins had a ball doink right off his chest and to the turf.
Cable noted afterward that he was most disappointing with the number of drops in the morning practice. “Too many balls on the ground– six.” Although he was quick to point out that this is not near as many drops as last year at this time.
Higgins, had a nice move in kick return drills in which he made a couple jukes and then spun right around the three oncoming coverage players. That nifty move drew the loudest cheers of praise from teammates of any play of the day.
Michael Bennett is still trying out for the team. I mentioned yesterday that if he still has his speed, he has a good shot at making this team with the overall dearth of runningbacks on this team. Well, from outward appearances he looks as quick and fast as ever. But then again, so does Rock Cartwright of whom Bennett will be competing against to make the team.
The player of the morning practice has to be Jerome Boyd. I noticed he has arguably the best hands of all the defensive backs. He caught everything thrown his way in the db interception drills. Many of which, other well known good-hands dbs such as Nnamdi and Huff, even srruggled with at times. Boyd’s best catch was an over the shoulder ‘Willie Mays’ style basket catch on the DB long ball drills.
Boyd was also part of one of the more exciting moments. I guess if you find the crashes in Nascar to be the most exciting part that is. He was getting a bit more contact than he probably should have in the non-contact drills and TE Brandon Myers took issue with it. The two got into a shoving match with a couple of swings thrown but none of them landing as teammates got between them quickly. Every practice needs a moment like that just to keep things lively.
Another player that looked really good was UDFA DE Alex Daniels. Cable echoed that afterward, mentioning Daniels as his standout UDFA thus far in camp. On two plays in particular, Daniel beat rookie Jared Veldheer to get to the quarterback on what would have either been a sack or a disruption had these been contact drills.
Quote of the day (that I am aloud to repeat) comes from defensive coordinator, John Marshall. He got a bit frustrated with what he perceived as a lack of effort and brought the defense in to nip it in the bud.
“If I don’t see effort, that’s because you’re saying ‘I’m not doing that.’ That’s what I hear when I see that.”
When that man speaks, he gets the players’ attention that’s is for sure.