Observations from the film room in Oxnard:
- There have been times where I have questioned the toughness of
Terrance Williams. So I must be fair with him and say despite his going to the ground with Sean Leeon Tuesday during the team play action period, he showed a great deal of courage to go hard inside and crack on a linebacker that is an absolute nightmare to block in space. To Williams' credit and Lee's displeasure, he struck Lee with a solid initial block. As the play wore on, he began to grab Lee's jersey and continued to try and fight for position. Lee, who is always working toward the ball, now has Williams holding a death grip on his jersey and the two get tangled up as the ball goes around them. Lee was upset with Williams for holding him, but Williams was trying his best to complete the block -- which, from the snap, was going to be a difficult task. In this scheme, receivers have to block on the edge to make the plays succeed. In this case, Williams might have been off on his technique but his toughness is a step in the right direction. Will Allenhas done nothing in this camp to make me think he should not be the starter when the squad lines up opening day against the Giants. I had my doubts during the OTA's and minicamps, but he has been steady in his play and, paired with Barry Church, has been the right fit there. In this camp, he has showed range not only to handle the ball to the deep outside, but as he was able to display on Tuesday, his ability to defend the ball in the air against a player the likes of Jason Witten. It speaks volumes of his worth. I have been impressed with the way he shows awareness in his play. It's rare that you see him fooled or out of position on the play. The way he manages the game deep will allow Church more of an opportunity to play down and help in the running game which in the end, is more of a comfortable position for Church. In the end, Allen will allow these young safeties to grow in their responsibilities and that is exactly what this club had in mind when they signed him.
J.J. Wilcoxis a guy that is always around the ball, there is another rookie on this defense that will give him a run for his money and that is linebacker DeVonte Holloman. On Tuesday, Holloman was able to put himself in position to once again intercept a pass from Kyle Orton, this time on a zone drop to his right. What has been interesting about Holloman is that, while at South Carolina he played strong safety before moving to linebacker. But when I observed him on tape, I didn't see the type of ball skills that he has shown like he has in these practices. He has played with great awareness but an even better understanding of where he fits in the scheme. For not having a great deal of experience, you do not see him struggling with his assignments or being corrected on the field by the coaches. Holloman has even shown some versatility lining up at a couple of different positions on this defense. What is different about Holloman is that he is not playing like a rookie. He is a confident player, who is showing some play making ability but also gaining the confidence of these coaches as well.
- I have not written much about cornerback
Micah Pellerin. But Tuesday he did an outstanding job of getting noticed. I had been more impressed with the work of Brandon Underwoodand what he has managed to put together this camp. I thought that if this squad kept six cornerbacks, Underwood would have a shot at that spot, but there is something to Pellerin's game. In the team-run period that basically turned into a scrimmage, Pellerin played with perfect technique off the edge, filling the lane, and delivered a nice shot to Kendial Lawrencein space to bring him to the ground. In this scheme, corners have to be able to make plays in the running game from the outside. His physical play was a textbook example of how you need to play the run in that situation. Pellerin was also solid in the one-on-one coverage in the reps he took. His length helps him, but he also managed to keep his body in proper position in the routes and that is the real key in order for him to continue grow as a corner. It’s all about making plays and getting noticed on film, and Micah Pellerin did a nice job of that on Tuesday.