Here are some thoughts for the start of the second week of Organized Team Activities:
- It will be another opportunity for
Phillip Tanner, Lance Dunbarand Kendial Lawrenceto get some work with the first and second offenses since DeMarco Murraywill be out once again with his hamstring soreness and Joseph Randleis missing practices with the thumb injury. I thought it was a good start for both Tanner and Dunbar with Lawrence trying to build on what he was able to do in rookie camp but at times not as productive as he needed to be. Orlando Scandrickwas the best corner on the practice field last week both in the terms of playing on the outside and in the slot. It’s a different technique for Brandon Carrand Morris Claiborneto have to execute by playing bail but they are getting the hang of it. Sterling Moorewill look to improve this week when there were a couple of reps where he wasn’t at his best. B.W. Webbnow has three more practices under his belt, so let’s see if that helps him with his confidence in playing the scheme as well.
- My gut tells me that
Barry Churchwill be one of the starting safeties and the other one will come from Matt Johnson, Will Allen, J.J. Wilcoxand Jakar Hamilton. Johnson was running with the second team when practice opened last Tuesday but as the week wore on, he was with the ones. Wilcox also made the jump seeing more action with the twos, with Hamilton just trying to get on the field after working with the trainers. Church is moving well and physically looks in better shape than he did at this time last season. Johnson made it through the week with no problems and after what happened to him last season, that was a real positive.
Mackenzy Bernadeausitting again this week during team periods, we will once again see Ronald Learygetting more of the reps with the ones. Leary has been playing on both the left and right side without any major issues. Matter of fact, there have been some reps where he has shown some veteran awareness helping Travis Frederickwith handling games upfront. Frederick tends to lose track where the twist is coming from and Leary has been there to save him from giving up a pressure. Leary was also done a nice job of getting outside and making the screens look better.
- The reps will continue to be split on the right side at tackle with
Doug Freeand Jermey Parnell. It hasn’t been one over the other when it comes to the reps. There are times where the period starts and Free is the starter, then the next period, it’s Parnell. These tackles are also working with different combinations at guard as well. Both Free and Parnell are getting plenty of work against Anthony Spencerwho in my view has been the best defensive player on the field who has been a handful for both guys. If I had to give one player the nod early here, it would be Free who has looked more solid in his technique and reps. Tyrone Crawfordsuffered some back tightness last week and was limited in what he could do while Kyle Wilbershowed me something as a pass rusher. Wilber had some reps against Tyron Smithwhere it was really a nice battle but Smith can hammer you with not only his punch but his foot work. Wilber didn’t get caught as much as I thought he would against Smith and was able to free himself around the edge and generate some pressure off the edge against Smith. There were some combinations where Kiffin brought Wilber and Spencer off the edge with Carter in the mix and created some problems. Before these OTAs there were some questions of where Wilber would be a fit but as a backup defensive end in this scheme, he is making these coaches gain a little confidence in his ability.