OXNARD, Calif. – Here are some observations from the film room in Oxnard:
- It was the return to practice for Terrance Williams on Monday and overall it was a productive day for him back in the mix. His routes were smooth but more importantly he did not appear to have any mental errors or struggle to line up when placed in the different packages. He caught the ball well in the one-on-one period and had a nice reception as well in the red zone work. If there is one area that I would like to see him improve in would be his overall toughness. I am not saying he is afraid to run routes but just work to become a more aggressive receiver when it comes to
fighting press coverage. There were times in the practice where he got knocked around a bit and it killed his ability to finish the route. Watching Bryant and Austin in these situations should help him.
- It appears that things have settled down for Tyron Smith in training camp after a rough go at it against DeMarcus Ware early in the session. Smith's technique is much better overall whereas before, he really was all over the map. His feet were bad, his hands were worse and he just was in terrible blocking position overall. What Smith has been able to do these last few practices and preseason games is to play with much better balance both run and pass. As I have observed him working in this scheme, its tailor made for his skill set because of how much movement there is along the offensive line. Tyron Smith on the move and in space, is a huge advantage for this offense whether it's setting the edge on the zone play to his side, getting out on the sweep to eliminate the force on the toss sweep or doing the same as the lead blocking on the screen. There were points early in this camp, where he was just flat awful and he knew that but to his credit, he has continued to work and its starting to play off well for him.
- Jeff Heath is a rookie safety that has been steady in the way he has played in this camp and through two preseason games. The first trait you notice about him is his smarts and awareness but on Monday where I noticed his limitations is to play with range. He sees routes develop well but getting over to physically make the play is what will hold him back. During the team period, he has to defend a ball out of the middle of the field up the left sideline. He is trying to help Brandon Underwood in coverage but he is late to the ball underneath and attempts to make a swipe at it but just isn't in good enough shape to make the play. The ball goes over his hand and into the receivers hands which results in a touchdown. When you play as a single-high safety in this scheme, you have to be able to play the safety position with consistent range because of how much you have to help the corners. In this case, Heath's miss was a good example of that. [embedded_ad]
- These defensive coaches are doing everything in their power to find a way to get Brandon Magee on this roster. For the majority of this camp and previous practices at Valley Ranch, Magee had been playing as the backup Mike linebacker but on Monday, he lined up on the weak side next to Caleb McSurdy who took his spot at Mike. For Magee it would be a big switch from what he is used to playing but it might be a necessary one. In college, Magee did a much better job of getting to the ball right off the snap but in camp, he is not playing with that same type of quickness and awareness. He is not avoiding the blocks like he should and there has been times where he is spending more times finding them then getting to the ball. He physically is not that big of a player and when he has to fight blocks, it's going to be hard on him. By playing on the weak side, it should play to his strength of running to the ball, freeing him up more. Magee can be a violent tackler but getting him to the ball is the key.