Apparently my headline regarding the absence of injuries at Day Two was a mirror image of me in high school: A bit premature. Louis Murphy awoke the morning of Day Three with all the nagging signs of a concussion and has not practiced since.
On Friday he was apparently kneed in the back of the head by Nnam. This is cause for great concern and I hope the coaches go to work right away on eliminating this kind of thoughtless and reckless play. Murphy needs to keep his head out of the way of Nnam's knees.
Okay, he probably didn't do it on purpose and we want Murph's head to be okay. He said he has not had a concussion before and he'll probably be back on the field on Monday. Still, it is something to keep an eye on as concussions have a tendency to come on easier after each one.
Murphy's absence meant the weekend practices were run with only one of the first 3 WR's on the field, DHB. Chaz was on the field for a brief period at the start of Saturday's practice, but didn't too much before retiring to the training room. All signs still point to him sitting out as extreme and understandable precautionary measure.
That left the field wide open to DHB to shine and shine he did. Early on Saturday he seemed to tweak his shoulder, but came right back and made a nice leaping TD grab. He is going after balls more aggressively and using his size and speed to his advantage. After catches, he is bursting up field and even flashing stiff arms on DB's. He is animated and intense at practice. He seems serious about improving at his craft.
Nnam and DHB put in extra time each day of training camp. This is exactly the kind of example you want to see out of two of your highest paid players. It is also a great sign of leadership from Nnam, who has taken DHB under his wing.
Nnam knows stardom doesn't come overnight in this league, but it can come with the right attitude, persistence and freakish athletic ability--all of which DHB seems to have. Here is what Nnam had to say:
I told him the first day before we even had practice that after every single practice that we're going to get some work on the things that he needs to work on. Because even when he's getting the work, I'm getting the work and doing extra stuff. So we'll come aside after practice and I'll ask him what is it today. He'll be like I need work on his, I need work on that. We just go out and do it. It's not like we're working for 30 minutes. It's just some quick stuff that we're getting better at.
Eight practices down and now the pads come on. Not surprisingly, LaMarr Houston was grinning when asked if he was ready.
I'm excited, it's been a long time since everybody's been in some pads. Working technique in pads will be a lot different than just working in jerseys. It should be fine. Without pads, some guys get a little frustrated, and you just know with pads on, it will be a little bit different
He is an extreme talent. The guy is 6-4 with a 37-inch vertical. I have been throwing that pass ever since I have been in the league and he jumped as high as he could get and stretched out and caught it. It's one of those interceptions where you really can't even get mad because he made an outstanding play.
The guy is big, strong and can move, and you can tell playing under Saban he is a smart linebacker. Even if you look him off, he can tell what you're trying to do.
McClain is practicing with the first team nickel. Critics had said he may have to come off the field in these situations. I hope for their sake they didn't put their money where their mouth was.
More news and notes after the jump.
- Jason Campbell has had his ups and downs. I think it is to be expected with a new system and group of guys. Not to mention he is working without Chaz and Murphy right now. He has shown his mobility and Hue Jackson seems pleased with his decision making.
- Jared Veldheer is getting most of his reps with the 2nd team at LT, but he did get a couple with the 1st team. He also continues to get some reps at C. He played some Center in high school. Cable doesn't seem to think his height is a deterrent for the position. He mentioned 6'6 Don Mosebar as an example and brought up Veldheers' relatively short legs and long torso, which give him the low center of gravity necessary for the C position. According to Brodie Brazil of CSN, Cable also had this to say about Jared:
Physically, Jared has proven he can play center but he must prove it mentally. Jared has looked good, but he must show he can play left tackle well on a consistent basis.
- It'll be interesting to see the difference in the running game this year. Players have noted there will be more power blocking in short yardage situations and it was mentioned by Tafur on his Twitter page that we shouldn't be surprised to see some plays with two tackles on the same side of the line.
- When asked about the new offense, McFadden said:
I talked to guys who have played for Hue and they said that's what he's going to do, he's going to run the ball. That's something I'm looking forward to. He puts an emphasis on the running game so I'm looking forward to that when the season gets here.
He runs real fast, but the deal on him was he doesn’t play as fast as he runs, and I think we’re getting him to do that.
- For his part, Ford--who is reported to be getting in and out of cuts faster--seems to be absorbing what the coaches are saying:
I used to gage my speed a little bit. I’m not doing it anymore. They just want me to be fast all the time so that when I get the ball, I just go instead of kind of coasting a little bit
- Ford seems to be the one WR, besides DHB, that is impressing coaches. Figurs, Hubbard, Bodiford and JLH were all mentioned for having drops and JLH and Figurs both drew the coaches ire at different points for not running the proper routes.
- 1st team nickel DB's on Sunday were Jeremy Ware and Joey Thomas. Nnam, Johnson and Routt seemed to be taking turns with the first two DB spots. I haven't seen lil' McFadden's name mentioned in this role, but he was mentioned as making a couple of nice picks. CJ has been mentioned by reporters as looking good in practice.
- Hue Jackson wants his offense run with a crisp tempo. If he doesn't like the tempo he has them get back in the huddle and do it again.