For those less interested in the story, and more interested in some facts/data, here is a Cliff Notes version of how I viewed things at Friday’s practices. For those interested in how the day went, here is my “journal,” for the day.
Freeney (left after about 30 minutes of the morning practice and did not participate the rest of the day)
Clark (iced his thigh following a spectacular catch in the middle of the afternoon practice)
Vinny (After shanking 3 of 5 FGs, he left the kicking up to Lindholm and McAfee)
Overall: The whole afternoon practice was impressive. The second string LBs were rocking the run and pass coverage equally. The WRs were locked in on every throw, and they caught nearly everything thrown their way. The secondary looked healthy and tight, keeping with most receivers, even though they didn’t exactly prevent catches like they would if they could hit. The TEs were all impressive as well. Cloherty can catch, Eldridge is just a beast, and Tamme is becoming Clark-esque in his ability to play receiver. The only negatives were the performance of Vinny and someone working on special teams as a punt returner. I am not sure if it was Ray Fisher, or Pierre Garçon, but whomever it was dropped three punts, and proceeded to completely ruin the good vibe Brandon James was inspiring with his returns.
QB: Manning was his usual self, directing the offense even when he wasn’t under center, and throwing really well. Painter, Hiller, and Brandstater all got quite a bit of time working with both the first and second teams, and overall they did quite well, with Hiller throwing the only pick of the day.
WR: Collie caught 100% of his catches.
Wayne dropped 2 passes.
Guns made some really great catches contorting his body, and even diving hard to attempt a catch on a poorly thrown ball.
Smith was catching most things with very light hands and only had a couple of incomplete passes.
Guice made a high number of completions, but was less fluid in his catch.
RB: Devin Moore deserves a spot. He runs like a beast, is quick, and has the potential to leave everyone in the dust in the open field.
Javarris James looks to be camp fodder. Lightly used, and when put in play isn’t usually a target.
TE: Robinson only made a couple of plays, but one was a jumping reaching grab. That was about it.
Cloherty, Eldridge, and Tamme all made a number of catches, but had one glaring miss each.
Eldridge/Cloherty was a common set in two-TE formations after Clark iced his thigh, with Robinson switching in from time to time.
O-line: 1st team O-line | LT-Ugoh, LG-Thomas, C-Richard, RG-DeVan, RT-Diem
2nd team O-line | LT-Terry, LG-Martinez, C-Pollak, RG-Tyshovnytsky, RT-Marinelli/Linkenbach
The first team seems to be better at run blocking than last year when faced against the first team defense, but their pass blocking ability was hard to tell. The second team only got work in the morning with no real pressure, but the number of unknowns on that line just scares me to death. I’m sure they’ll do fine (especially in 2-TE sets), but I have a sinking feeling we may be picking Painter, Hiller, and Brandstater up off the turf with a spatula behind that line.
D-line: Freeney started out in the morning with the first team defensive line, but quickly sat on a golf cart and didn’t come back the whole day.
Overall, the defensive line looked about average. Hughes looked promising filling in for Freeney. Moala and Muir seemed to be consistent, and seriously helped in goal line stand runs. Overall though, they weren’t amazing, but they didn’t have any blaring negatives, so take that for what you will.
LB: With Brackett and Session sitting out, Humber (in red 52 today) and Angerer proved to be really good stopping the run, and defending the pass, with both breaking up some good passes.
SS/FS: Sanders continued to impress, prowling the backfield like classic Bobzilla. Bullitt also got a number of reps. Overall the whole secondary was solid.
CB: Everyone was quite good in coverage. Hayden looked to be in top form, with Townsend, Lacey, and Powers all being very solid.
ST: Vinny made some short range kicks before practice, but then missed 3 of 5 (nearly a 4th) from “effective,” range (35-55 yards). Its not that he doesn’t have the power in his leg, because from 50 yards it was nearly clearing over the highest point of the goal posts, its that he kept shanking them right. He nearly missed from 40 because of pulling it right, but the three misses were up to a dozen feet wide right. After missing he sat out the rest of practice and Lindholm took over, but didn’t really kick from long range, staying on the far side of the field kicking short chip shots.
McAfee was simply amazing. He practiced targeted punts straight downfield and was kicking them from between the 20 to 30 yard line on the far side of the field to the nearside 10 very very consistently. He’d move up and down field, but kept hitting the same spot within a couple yards closer or farther. He also had very good hang time on all of his kicks, with the longer range kicks all having a very solid time.
Below, I am putting a couple of graphs for the stats I wrote down, or was able to estimate. I couldn’t keep exacting results on things like distance of passes/runs, so I simply estimated their length as short, medium, or long range. These are obviously not official, and not complete for all players, but they are my best guess. Hopefully they are useful.
|Name||Stuffs||Stops||Broken Pass||Good Coverage|
|McAfee||40 yards||50 yards||60 yards||61+ yards|