Thoughts from the film room in Oxnard:
- As a former scout, I am a big fan of the Blue Practice that goes on before the veterans take the field. It's a great opportunity to see the young players get extensive work. On Monday's practice, the offensive line was shuffling its personnel around in some creative ways that was worth noting. Travis Frederick got some work at left guard, Phil Costa as well took some reps there. Jermey Parnell played both left and right tackle and Kevin Kowalski got work at both center and guard. In my view of Frederick, I thought he did a much better job at center. His movement and angles that he takes as a blocker seemed to be a little less sharper than what we have seen at center. He didn't have any busts or major misses, but technique wise it's something that he is going to have to work on during these practices to dial that part of his game in if they plan to use him there.
- From my live view on the field, I had the impression that Kyle Wilber struggled playing at the left defensive end but in later study, that wasn't the case at all. He did allow Free to reach him one time that allowed Murray to get the ball to the outside but other than that one play, his up the field pass rush was solid both during the Blue Practice and the regular team practice. When its going to be different for him on that left side is having to play with leverage and some power. How he learns to extend his hands and keep blockers off his body will either be his strength or downfall.
- Playing on the left side is totally different from the right or open side because you are usually at the point of attack. Wilber doesn't have the bulk of Tyrone Crawford but he does have length as well as better quickness. When you lack bulk, you better take advantage of the other traits you have to survive and in these practices, he is learning that.
- A defensive linemen that jumped out at me yesterday on the field then in the field room was Ben Bass. When you physically see him, you don't believe that he is 6-5 and over 280 pounds. He has mainly been used as the under tackle or three technique in this scheme but on Monday, because of the injuries and the commitment to trying to find players within to fill spots, he took some reps at end and did not look out of place. Where Bass is so effective in my book, is his quickness and his ability to play off blockers. He is slippery in the way he rushes and for his size work through small cracks and creases. At end, he look comfortable and did not struggle with his technique. It is a different world for him to have to fight a tackle over a guard but he handled it well getting work on both the left and right sides. His effort on the pass rush has been relentless and he has shown the ability to be productive with anyone that he has been matched up with. In what I observed Monday, he should be getting more reps at defensive end and getting better there. [embedded_ad]
- While Nick Eatman and I were doing our video for Training Camp Live, he made the point which I thought was a nice one about who he called the forgotten man, cornerback Sterling Moore. Through the first two days of practice, Moore has not played like a forgotten man. Of the cornerbacks on this squad, Moore has been the one that has shown up the best in regards to making plays on the ball. For him, it hasn't been a matter of who he has had to cover, he is just getting the job done. He has had to play with quickness but he has also had to bring the power to his game like on a vertical route against Dez Bryant where he had to use all his strength to keep him from extending for the ball which he has done all camp. Moore was able to fight the ball away from Bryant. There were those such as myself that didn't give Moore the respect that he deserved coming into this camp because I felt like B.W. Webb would shine in these situations but it has been Moore that has grabbed my attention with his play. Moore has done the job on both the left and right sides but also at all levels on the field. Receivers have had a difficult time running routes on him and quarterbacks have struggled for completions when they have thrown his way.