The Doc, Sean Levy reporting
Today was my first chance to attend a training camp practice this year so I was anxious to see the differences from camp last season under Coach Gruden to this year under the Dream. First thought- holy crap there is a lot of standing around. Last year when the air horn would blow the guys knew exactly where they were headed and ran to the next station. This year, well this practice at least, guys would walk to the next spot and would stand there for several minutes until the next drill would begin. Now the difference could be that these guys are already in full pads and the coaches don’t want to totally kill them the first week, but the tempo is certainly slower this year.
That being said it was an absolutely perfect day to head out to camp. Overcast skies kept the temperature down and the 11 on 11 drills at the end of the session provided some full hitting excitement, which included Flip absolutely blowing up Clifton Smith on a sweep play.
The 11 on 11’s provided the most action on the day as some special team segments were mixed in throughout the practice. Assumedly this was done because tonight’s special teams practice was cancelled. The set up for the 11’s drills was the offense trying to drive 65 yards on the defense with two minutes on the clock. Each of the four roster QB’s had a turn to run the offense. Here is the breakdown:
- Josh Freeman ran the third team offense against the third team defense. He went 5-7 with 6 of the passes going to the right flat. He only looked and threw left once in any of the plays he ran and did so from the snap. He was able to move the team down to about the 35 yard line but ran out of time before his team could score.
- Byron Leftwich ran the second team offensive line with the starting skill position players against the second team defense. Byron went 4-4 with a touchdown throw to Antonio Bryant in the left had corner of the endzone. Byron was effective throwing the ball to different parts of the field including a nice touch throw on an out route to the right sideline caught by Cortez Hankton. The wind up is certainly as slow as advertised but his line gave him plenty of time to wind up and find open receivers.
- Luke McCown ran the second team skill players and first team offensive line against the first team defense. This was by far and I emphasize by far the sloppiest of the four series. Multiple penalties on the line and Luke seemingly running for his life on each play eventually led to a nice leaping interception by Aqib Talib. Also Elbert Mack should have picked off the ball on the play before when Luke’s pass was tipped up into the air. Luke’s numbers on the drive were 2-5 with both passes being completed to tight end Jeremy Stevens. This was also the drive were the offense ran a sweep to the right with Clifton Smith on the first play from scrimmage, Jermaine Phillips read it from the start and blew up Smith for about a three yard loss.
- Josh Johnson ran the third maybe fourth string against the same for the defense. On the second play he hit Kelly Campbell On a quick slant to the left who proceeded to out run everybody on the D for a touchdown.
Some thoughts from my first day at camp are:
- The Buc’s look to be really deep at TE this season. I think Winslow, Stevens, Gilmore could have big years.
- I think the Quincy Black at rush end experiment could be a good one. In Tackle/Guard vs. End/Tackle stunt drills he was quick off the ball and very disruptive. He whipped Demar Dotson so bad on one play that it caused a little tussle between the two. Some shoves and a few haymakers were exchanged but luckily everyone kept on their helmets.
- It is seems like Brian Clark is being given every opportunity to be the third wide receiver on the team. However it was Cortez Hankton who made the most plays on the field today.
- With how sloppy Luke’s series was in 11 on 11’s we are going to hear a lot more noise about Leftwich running with the first team.
- Finally, Caddy looks super fast in and out of cuts. At one point during 7 on 7 drills he scored on three straight carries from the 15 yard line. Man I hope he can stay healthy this year.