IRVING, Texas – Here are some thoughts from the practice field at Valley Ranch:
- I still believe that Phil Costa is a good fit in this offense but his overall play in the preseason was not good enough to make the front office and coaches feel solid enough to move Travis Frederick to guard full time. If Costa had blown them away, I honestly felt like there was a chance for that move to have taken place but Costa was never more than just steady and Frederick became too valuable to move so Costa will be his backup going into the season.
- I wrote earlier that I believed that you don't worry about injury in training camp until you start practicing for the first game but here is a thought for you, as much as everyone would like to see Morris Claiborne back in the lineup opposite Brandon Carr, if he is not the slight as bit right during that week, I would start Orlando Scandrick against the New York Giants and be confident that he could handle the job.
There are two consistent factors here, Claiborne has missed plenty of work in this camp and Scandrick has not. I am much more confident that guys like Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer can play well without the work but I am not as sure about Claiborne. Scandrick has filled in well and for the most part been outstanding not only in the practices but the games as well.
When practicing, there was no doubt that Claiborne had made progress from his work last season and if he was a veteran like Ratliff and Spencer, I promise I would feel different but this is a decision that this front office and coaching staff, might have to make.
- My eyes tell me that Jermey Parnell is not moving as well physically as he did when he played in a rotating system last season with Doug Free. There is something not right with Parnell and I don't know if its physical conditioning or he is struggling with his knee and trying to work his way back into the mix. Saturday night will be a big test for him but the last time he faced these Bengals, he did a nice job and was on the game winning drive.
In this scheme, you have to be able to move well and play on your feet, I am going to keep a close eye on his Saturday night.
- Despite having returned to practice in Oxnard, I really haven't seen much of James Hanna and that has surprised me. Even when the ball has gone in his direction, there seems to be a disconnect between himself and the quarterbacks. He is not getting open like I expected he would because he is the most athletic tight end they have on the roster.
I believe that things will pick up for him in these next two games because of how he and Kyle Orton were able to work so well together on the scout team on a weekly basis. Hanna has the physical traits and skills to be a special player but something needs to get going for him with the season just a short time away and what roles he is going to play in this "12" personnel with Jason Witten.