Some thoughts from the July 25 practice:
- It was the first on-the-field work for cornerback
Morris Claiborne, which was good to see. Claiborne lined up at right corner and had some plays where he did a nice job, but also some plays where he looked rusty. Secondary coach Jerome Henderson was standing to Claiborne’s side of the field every time he was in the drills and coaching him after every play. The first play that Claiborne defended was a vertical route by Tim Benford, who ran by him and created separation. As Beneford went up the field, Claiborne was trying to close the gap, but actually slowed up when he saw Teddy Williamstrying to help from the other side of the field. Williams misplayed the ball, but Benford dropped it. Later in the period, Henderson had to correct Claiborne because of his hand placement on the receiver down the field. Instead of jamming him inside, his hands got outside the frame of the body and he was grabbing. Henderson also corrected Claiborne on how he needed to squeeze the receiver more when he was in coverage. Claiborne did look quick on his press coverage and his ability to carry receivers across the field in man coverage. Every day will be a learning experience for him and working against receivers like Miles Austinand Dez Bryantwill help him.
- Like what I saw early from defensive end
Tyrone Crawford. Lined up at end and also some at nose. Did a nice job of fighting past Ronald Learyon his pass rush. Played some on the punt team as well.
- Going to be interesting to see if tight end
James Hannabecomes more consistent catching the ball. Had an early play where he worked in the flat and had the ball knocked out of his hands. Later in the practice, he didn’t extend on a pass and Mario Butlerwas able to knock it away.
Dan Connorgot his first work of the season with the defense. Connor lined up both at Mike and Will linebacker, which is a good sign. He will compete with Bruce Carterat the Mike spot, but if he can play some at Will that will be a plus. Outside linebacker Alex Albrightalso took some reps inside to maybe try and help with some depth issues.
- Wide receiver
Cole Beasleygot a lot of work on the outside. Watching Beasley run slants leads me to believe that he can be able to handle some things outside. His quickness really helps him in all areas. Been told that Beasley will get plenty of shots to make this team.
- Defensive end
Sean Lissemoreshowed no signs of the injury to his side that kept him out of the minicamps this past spring. He was explosive and powerful at the point, was able to move well side-to-side, bend and turn. Look for him to make a serious push for this starting end spot.
- Staying with the defensive ends, keep an eye on rookie
Ben Bassfrom Texas A&M. He is a high effort and motor guy. Looks very similar to Crawford when he rushes up the field.
- Was surprised during practice that I didn’t see outside linebacker
Adrian Hamiltonnot playing on the punt team. The only offensive player that was in the mix on this was tight end James Hanna. I have a feeling that before camp gets too far along that Hamilton will get an opportunity.
- Know that injuries are part of the game, but safety
Matt Johnsonwas the last guy that needed to be hurt. I guess you can say the same about Danny Coale, but I really do believe that Johnson had a shot to push for a starting job. Johnson seems like a very bright kid when you visit with him, but he needs to be on the field practicing. The team will be cautious with this, as they should. Hopefully he will be out there sooner rather than later.
- Running back
Lance Dunbarwas the only running back that was able to practice today. Darrell Scottwas out with an injury, so Dunbar and fullback Jamize Olawalehad to try and make due. Dunbar had a couple of reps in blitz pickup where he wasn’t as good as he needed to be. Phillip Tanneris good in this area so if Dunbar wants this job, he can’t be poor here.