Another glorious Colorado morning welcomed all of us to this morning's workout and let me tell ya, it was HOT! I mean, HOT, HOT! Yesterday was pretty tolerable because there really isn't any humidity. In Cleveland, when it gets to 90 or so the weather is almost intolerable becuase of the humidity. Today feels a bit juicier and I could feel it. If I could, the players could as well.
I took into account all your requests. I tried to focus on the O-Line and D-Line, but it gets difficult for 2 reasons. From the media vantage point, which is from the End Zone to the 20 yard line on either end of the field, it is hard to see the one-on-one battles. Even more difficult is the practice setup. While the players are in helmets and pads, it can't really be considered a "full contact" practice, especially on the interior.
I'm afraid to get a true indication of what is going on in the trenches we'll need to pay close attention to the pre-season games. Some things do stand-out, however, and I will tell you what I saw.
Here are my observations, once again in no particular order --
Early in the workout, each of the units break up into small groups, O-Line in a group, D-Line in a group, etc. I watched the QBs and WRs for a couple minutes, just to see if my opinion of Patrick Ramsey was off base. I mean, no rush, just pitch and catch from the QB to RB/WR. Cutler throws to the left, Ramsey to the right, occasionally at the same time. Let me tell ya, there is no comparison between Cutler and Ramsey in regards to velocity, or just the look of the pass. Cutler's spiral is tight and the ball gets from A-B with a purpose. Ramsey's throws seem to flutter a bit, and don't arrive with anything close to the same velocity. The ball "struggles" through the air, if you catch my drift. I want to lay-off Ramsey, but I just can't.
Tom Nalen is still sitting out practices and looks like he is in alot of discomfort. The Wiegmann signing looks like a great move. While I feel Nalen could miss all of Training Camp and still be ultra-productive, he just doesn't look healthy to me. I still haven't heard the results of the MRI, but you wonder how many times Nalen can come back.
Nate Webster was lining up as the starting MLB today, which has been the norm through camp, Niko one day, Nate the next. One the down side, Webster still tends to over-pursue and gets fooled by misdirection. On the plus side, he looks as healthy as ever and his athleticism is allowing for him to make up ground. From what I have seen live he has looked better in the starting spot right now.
Boss Bailey left the workout early with what looked to be a tweaked knee. Jamie Winborn filled in the rest of the practice on the strong side. Perhaps it was because Boss was absent that the linebacking group as a whole did not seem as quick and decisive. Defense is all about trust, especially in the man next to you. I didn't see that today.
On several occasions Selvin Young looked like a more confident running back. He seems to be seeing the field better and he is quick and decisive on his cuts. He is the clear starter at HB in my opinion, and not because of anything the other guys are doing wrong, he has just been that good.
Speaking of Young, he also looks alot more comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield. The team seems to be spending alot of time on this as well and I expect to see that continue into the pre-season.
Alot of you asked to focus specifically on the O-Line V. D-Line battles. I talked earlier about how making a real judgment when the players aren't going at it 100% is futile, but a general feeling I got was out Offensive Line is dominating our Defensive Line, as a group. What we need to decide is this - is our O-Line that good or our D-Line that bad? Probably a bit of both.
Eddie Royal has great hands. I mean, the guy never drops a pss or punt. He just has that something about him that says to me he's going to be a player. That's all fine and good, except the vets really don't care --
I talked about Ramsey on during warm ups, and it didn't get any better as practice went on. The only thing Royal didn't catch was an errant pass from Patrick Ramsey. Ramsey also missed a wide-open Clifford Russell. Ugh.
Let me just put my thoughts towards #15 to you this way - Brandon Marshall is a man among boys. He made several nice catches throughout the morning and a great jumping grab in double-coverage against Champ and McCree. It just doesn't seem like he is in the same League with any of these guys. If he gets his hands on a pass, he catches it. There is no doubting the health of his arm, one of my personal "ifs" heading into the season.
Cutler's day was solid for the most part. You can tell the coaches are working with him in regards to maintaining an internal clock. Get to 4 seconds and throw the ball away. One area Cutler still needs to work is on his touch in the short passing game. He still throws the ball way too hard at times. That comes in time, however, and I'm not the least bit worried.
Speaking of Cutler's hard throws, each one makes a definitive "THWACK" sounds as it crushes the sternum of his receivers. I have a strange feeling if I had come to Training Camp 20 years ago a similar sound would have echoed throughout the complex.
This morning's "toast" came courtesy of a Jay Cutler pump fake and TD Pass to Clifford Russell, leaving CB Christian Morton looking for his private parts. The fake was perfect, the throw even better.
Perhaps it was the heat, but the play seemed to get sloppier and sloppier as time went on. A week in without a real day off the guys are probably sore, tired, and the heat is unbearable. I give them a pass for today, but there was little doubt that Coach was less than pleased at times with the effort.