- What would not surprise you about this defensive line?
I understand that we have yet to see these players in pads, but it would not surprise me one bit that Terrell McClain is the starter on opening day at the one-technique.
I mean this as no slam on Nick Hayden, but in my mind, he has always been a bridge player to the next best option at that position. Hayden deserves a lot of credit in the way he stepped up and handled the job in 2013, but there appears to be something to McClain's game in the way that he plays with that disruptive quickness and power. Hayden doesn't have these types of traits and when you listen to Rod Marinelli talk about his "Rushmen" this is the one thing that he really focuses on.
It would also not surprise me to see DeMarcus Lawrence starting at right defensive end much sooner than later.
- Your assessment of James Hanna in these practices?
I have to admit that I probably put too much pressure on what I believed James Hanna would one day become, but I still have that confidence in his ability.
With Hanna, I am trying to now figure out what his real role is with the offense. It has been clear that Scott Linehan is interested in using the tight end position in this attack, but it also appears that he has roles for Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar by the way he is using them on the field and in the red zone.
The most action that Hanna has received at practice was when Escobar missed due to a quad bruise. I believe the front office and coaches are interested in keeping three tight ends on the roster but the question now becomes: do they focus in trying to find a blocking one instead of keeping Hanna?
What they decide to do at fullback might also offer clues in what direction they might go as well. As I have said before, I believe there is value to having a player like James Hanna around but this front office and coaching staff might have different ideas.
- You haven't written much about Brandon Carr, why? [embedded_ad]
It has been a quiet few weeks on the field for Carr but off the field that has been different with his comments about this team is ready to take over the league. The best news for Carr this spring was that Rod Marinelli intends to have his corners play more man coverage, which I have noticed that he in fact is doing so.
The more I have studied what Marinelli did with his time while defensive coordinator with the Bears, is that single-high safety look. In the practices that we have been able to observe, Carr has been steady but not spectacular in the way that he has played.
This goes for the work that he has done in 7-on-7 and during the team periods. He did allow Terrance Williams to get over the top of him one time but the majority of the other opportunities, he has been in position to finish the play or maintain contact with the receiver. His movement in these practices has been fluid as well. By Marinelli playing to his strengths, it should be a real plus.