Just like yesterday, I open with the confession that I am neither a professional writer nor an expert evaluator. I’m just a fan and these are just my opinions. With that understanding, let’s get on to Day Two. I was positioned on the northernmost of the two fields and was closer to the defense so I focus a little more on them today.
Over-all practice comments – Another excellent practice. There was good energy and players came to play. Today there were more positional drills and less 7 on 7 and 11 on 11. Kubiak has good clean transitions between drills and I like that. The coaches are doing their job. I hate to see anyone get hurt but it appears to be #15 with an ankle injury of some type. It did not look good.
Defensive Front Three – We have three solid nose tackles in Sly Williams, Marvin Austin and Chuka Ndulue. Kilgo is listed at a NT but I swear I saw him lined up at DE on the third team and he handled himself well in individual drills, but more on that later. All four of these guys are quick and can penetrate. All are strong and can stand up almost any O Lineman. From the 0 or 1 technique ( or even three technique) Williams can control two gaps. I think Sly’s day has arrived. I think we are solid at NT. Wolfe and Vance Walker were running with Williams on the first unit. They totally shut down our first team running game. I guess it is to be expected that the defense would have an advantage early in camp, but I will sleep better at night knowing the depth we have in the core of our defense. I have several high marks for Kenny Anunike and Josh Watson.
Outside Linebacker – Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are outstanding but they better not get too complacent. Larentee McCray and Shaquil Barrett are big athletic guys who are playing well. There were two drills going on at the same time, one for OLB and the other for ILB. Since depth at ILB was one of my main priorities for camp, I watched the inside guys.
Inside Linebacker – The drill I watched was pretty simple but it tracked the ability of the LB to move laterally, penetrate, backpedal and finally catch a surprise pass coming out of a transition. It was fun to watch, maybe not so much fun to do. I totally dismissed any memory of names and jersey numbers prior to the drill and this is how they graded:
#54 – outstanding
# 59 – outstanding
# 50 – excellent
# 47 – excellent
# 51 – excellent
# 57 – stronger moving to the right but overall very good
# 53 – stronger moving to right but overall good.
# 52 - good.
I’m not sure if I was pleased or not when I looked up the numbers and discovered the two best were Travathan and Marshall. I’ll tell you that I was very pleased to see Reggie Walker and Zaire Anderson and Todd Davis do so well. I had never heard of these guys. Frankly, I had felt Steven Johnson and Lamin Barrow would be perfectly serviceable back ups. It is very comforting to know we have good athleticism behind our two rather fragile first teamers.
Defensive backs – I am lumping corner and safety today as there was only one really earth-shaking observation. I have always thought of David Bruton as a special teams ace who could be a serviceable second or third team safety. Yesterday I saw him throw a block on an interception so I watched him a bit today. (I love guys that block). David Bruton has excellent instincts. Late in the practice before they went to the no helmet run through phase, they did a pretty lengthy 7 on 7. I don’t know if it is familiarity or what, but he was anticipating everything accurately and reading every play. He has good feet and can back pedal and turn quickly. He has a good burst and excellent range when the play is revealed. I only saw him in zone coverage, but he has displayed sufficient catch-up speed to play man. He has the size to play free or strong safety. David Bruton played a lot of free safety today opposite T.J. Ward and I am very comfortable with our defensive backs.
Offense – Manning looked good today and so did Osweiler. Sanders had a couple more circus catches. Bibbs continues to impress as does Juwan Thompson. #42 and #80 are both impressive players but I can’t figure out what they really do and how they will fit in. I hope we keep both. They can block! While the QBs and Ends and RBs were on the far field the O Line and the Front 7 boys went against each other right in front of me. This was my favorite part of the two days. The highest marks on defense went to Sly Williams and Kenny Anunike. Kilgo shined here as well. On the offensive line my highest marks went to Michael Scofield, Max Garcia and Ben Garland. Gradkowski and Vasquez were next and Ryan Harris and Shelley Smith also did well. #66, Kyle Roberts, handled himself well against the top defensive line as well.
Kickers – They all did well. I have a new name for Karl Schmitz. Papa Murphy. Love at 425 degrees. When he punts you have enough time to cook a pizza before it comes down.
If he can kick under the lights, he makes the team.
This is the end of my reports from Training Camp. When I get back to Alaska I will put together my depth chart based upon my observations of the first two days of camp, which will be practically worthless, but may be fun. This is a good team. I am a little worried about O Line, but I do not think it is out of the question to start looking for tickets to San Diego in February.