A few morning thoughts for Wednesday:
* The first day in pads is always an exciting time for coaches and scouts. There is nothing better than a practice in which you can physically see your players handle different situations getting them ready for the season. When you watch your team in helmets and jerseys, you do get an idea of the athletic ability of the squad, but in pads, the toughness of the squad shows. There are players that are not great athletes that we haven’t talked much about that will most likely show up when the pads come on. Guard Nate Livings, fullback Lawrence Vickers and defensive end Sean Lissemore come to mind.
* There will be some 9-on-7 or inside run periods Wednesday afternoon that will get us a little more of a clue of the ability of Vickers. I have always viewed Vickers as a track blocker that is physical at the point of attack. I'm really looking forward to the reps when he is leading on these linebackers and seeing how DeMarco Murray is working with him on their path. Murray has outstanding vision and last season, he and Tony Fiammetta were able to see much of the same scheme develop. This is a good opportunity to see how this will work with Vickers.
* I was watching the linebackers during the afternoon practice Tuesday, while the tight ends were having to block them. I came away impressed with what I was able to observe from Jason Witten. I don’t view Witten as a true in-line “Y” blocking tight end, but what I saw yesterday was outstanding on his part at the point of attack. I believe that Witten has worked hard this season to become a better blocker. You see him working on his own trying to get his feet and hand placement together. He has always been a good position blocker, but Tuesday I was able to see more sustain and push.
* Safety Barry Church is off to a great start in this camp, not only with his assignments in the way he has lined up at his position, but also the work he has done as the dime linebacker in the box. Church looks more fluid in his movement and reactions. He is playing with a great deal of confidence and it has really shown. He is making it really tough on Brodney Pool and Matt Johnson to try to take this job from him. Church is also one of those players that will show up when the pads come on because of his physical style.
* I asked Stephen Jones about the concern right now at center with just two guys healthy, and guard David Arkin getting work. Jones said they know who is on the street, Jeff Faine, Jason Brown and some college free agents, but the club is going to continue to allow Phil Costa, Harland Gunn and Arkin to get work and will adjust if necessary.