- Who is not giving an inch on his starting spot?
That one is easy -- Orlando Scandrick. Morris Claiborne had better bring a sack lunch and a big stick if he is going to take that job from Scandrick. Claiborne worked his way back into practice for the first time on Monday, which was a good start. When the defense went to the nickel, he was on the right side with Scandrick in the slot.
What appears different about Claiborne is that he is playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He probably wouldn’t admit it, but all the talk about his lack of production early in his career is a strong motivating factor. On the other side of the ball, Scandrick has his own goals of making the Pro Bowl, and just being a nickel corner would not likely make that dream a reality.
Scandrick doesn’t see himself as anything other than a starter on this defense and Claiborne is in a position to try and take that away from him.
I have always been a Bruce Carter fan, but I do understand there were plenty of times where he was not as nearly as good as he needed to be. In talking with Sean Lee about Carter, he said it wasn’t just him that was struggling but all the linebackers. The reason he gave was they were having trouble adjusting to the new scheme and I will buy that.
As much as we all want to pounce on Carter, we need to remember, he did have over a 100 tackles. This defensive staff will put him in situations to make more plays and less in those where he might struggle. He is looking more comfortable already in these practices.
- Player in OTAs that has surprised you the most?
Defensive tackle Terrell McClain. He was productive in the few snaps a game in Houston he got, but he has shown he can play the three with quickness that I didn’t even see on tape. This kid is non-stop and can be difficult to handle when he comes off the ball with that quickness. Jakar Hamilton is a close second in my thoughts for what he has been able to do at safety early in these practices.
- Will this offense miss Kyle Orton if he decides to retire?
I have always felt like Brandon Weeden, if put in the right situation, could be productive. If you watched him play in Cleveland, pressure up the middle caused him the biggest issues because of his lack of mobility. When he has time, he can make solid throws and in practice he has shown that. His talent level is very similar to Orton in my eyes.
- Player you are most worried about?
I am very interested to see how this offensive tackle battle works out with Jeremy Parnell and Darrion Weems. What I am worried about with Weems missing some of the early practices is that it’s allowing Parnell to push ahead of him. Last season, I saw the same thing happen to Parnell when he was in a battle with Doug Free. Parnell was never able to recover and make it a contest. I do not want to see Weems get too far behind in his quest to win that job.
- Who is your wait-and-see player?
We are once again in the part of the summer where Ben Bass has looked outstanding, not only along the defensive line but he has also drawn praise from Rich Bisaccia for his work in special teams drills. Bass needs a complete training camp to really show these coaches what he can do if healthy. The problem for him is that this club has added better depth at the position and it might not be as easy for him to find a roster spot on this team. Bass has shown the ability to play as the three and also some defensive end. The flexibility is there, but the question is can he hold up physically, which is yet to happen.