The fans were back for the second of three days to watch training camp practice. As before, the team kept to their regularly scheduled practice regimen. Although, they were sure to put the wide receiver drills near the stands so they got a good view of the action.
One of those receivers was not practicing today. Eddie McGee was out nursing the same hamstring injury that kept him out all of OTA's and minicamp. He was doing light jogging the opposite field along with Aaron Curry who is out with a knee injury. Curry is on the PUP list and revealed today that he had a stem cell procedure on both of his knees this offseason. There is still no timetable on his return.
Ron Bartell, Travis Ivey, and Richard Gordon are still out as well. Bartell is rehabbing a hamstring injury while Ivey hasn't passed his conditioning test. Gordon had a hip flexor injury and coach Allen revealed today that he now has an infection in his lower leg as well. Again, no timetable for their return.
In those receiver drills, there was a lot to be learned. It doesn't take long to realize which receivers have the superior skills. Normally that crown would go to Denarius Moore but with his right hamstring still bothering him, he has no lift and limited lateral movement. And as continues to be the case, rookie Juron Criner continues to keep that throne warm.
First up was a drill in which each throw was behind the receiver. The only two receivers who caught it cleanly were Criner and Derek Carrier. But Carrier lost his kudos on the next drill. It was high throws and he anticipated the high throw and jumped but the ball wasn't delivered high, causing him to be hit in the gut where and he couldn't pull it in. The crowd laughed at him which must have been a bit embarrassing.
But Criner continued to catch well in the high pass drills. Jacoby Ford also caught well. Ford has always one well with high passes. Probably because of his height, he is used to have to pull down passes that would have been right on target for a taller receiver. Criner again showed off his skills in endzone post route passes.
In team sessions, the run was heavily favored. Mike Goodson continued to look very good. On one run, Manase Tonga laid a nice block and Goodson broke off a long run.
The defense played well too. Linebackers Nathan Stupar and Carl Ihenacho as well as defensive end Dave Tollefson all had run stuffs. Tommy Kelly had a sack and Rolando McClain made a great play on a Palmer pass and the ball grazed right off his hands.
On special teams, there were some interesting developments. Jacoby Ford is the primary return man but joining him was Taiwan Jones, Bryan McCann, Chaz Powell, and DeAundre Muhammad. Jacoby is the kick returner which means it would likely be Jones or McCann taking over punt return duties.
Mike Goodson has become the return man's primary protector. It is a job he has never been asked to do before but he is embracing the opportunity.
Three tight ends were blocking on the return team as well. Brandon Myers, David Ausberry, and Tory Humphrey. Being a special teamer gives a lot of players a leg up in making a team and those three tight ends are looking like the trio the team will be heading into the season with.
Khalif Barnes had a great day in blocking drills. He put two different edge rushers on their face. First it was Lamarr Houston who leaned too much and Barnes used Houston's weight against him to put him on the ground. Next it was Jack Crawford and Barnes backed up until he found his moment and with one move he clubbed Crawford down. Ironically, it was Barnes' backup who had a false start in those drills. Usually that's Barnes' MO.
Rod Streater had the catch of the day in team drills. Pryor through a pass that sailed so wide of him it didn't look like he would be able to get to it but he completely laid out for the ball and caught it. Then, untouched, he got up and finished it off with a touchdown.
Palmer and DHB continued their problems connecting. And again, it was usually on long passes. First time, Palmer threw a bit short and DHB misplayed it. He had Shawntae Spencer beat and Palmer didn't place it in the right place but with Spencer turned around, all DHB had to do was come back for the ball. He instead kept running and reach down to try to scoop it up and ended up missing it and tumbling. The next time, Palmer threw it way too long for DHB and out the back of the endzone.
Pryor ended practice with an ugly pass attempt that was wide and low of his intended receiver Duke Calhoun. This is now three of the five practices that have ended with a bad pass by Pryor. He had a lot of ugly throws today in fact. He had a good day yesterday and took a big step back today.
Just as they did following the first practice in front of fans, the players lined up in front of the bleachers to sign autographs for the fans. I noted that the last two players to linger signing autographs after the others had left were Jon Condo and Taiwan Jones. Also staying for a bit were Demarcus Van Dyke and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
One more day of fan attendance at camp. A reminder that you must have already received a ticket to be allowed admittance. There are over 1000 fans expected just as the previous two days.
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