Just back from Saturday morning's kickoff to Fan Apreciation Day, and Redskin Park is an absolute zoo today. There are probably 10 times the people here today than have been at any other practice. their is a scrimmage today at 4:00pm, so the morning session was once again, a no-pads affair.
After the warm-up, practice started with some hail mary tip drills. To be honest, it wasn't very inspiring. Patrick threw one or two decently, but most of them lacked the timing to be effective in a game situation. Rob Johnson was no better and Coach Spurrier looked pretty disappointed with the overall results. I couldn't hear anything specific that SOS said, but he was shaking his head a lot.
Special Teams dominated the next 20-30 minutes with both punt and kick drills. Brent Bartholomew continues to impress and CONSISTENTLY kicks the ball higher and slightly farther than Bryan Barker. We had a stopwatch on the hang time today and though very unofficial, Bartholomew was generally about a half second better on the hang time. He also boomed what had to be closeto a 60 yarder today. Barker's punts also flutter a lot more in the air wheras Bartholomew's are nice tight spirals that come down like bullets.
Also worthy of note about the punt drills was that there was not a single drop by the receiving team. Chad Morton, Sean Dillard, Scott Cloman and ROD GARDNER all returned kicks.
Next, John Hall lined up for a few FG's. Unfortunately, he only kicked one chip shot field goal before they started practicing fake field goals with a direct snap to Hall who would then squib it into the corner. He had two roll inside the 8, with the best stopping at the 3. The coaching staff was also working on defending the FG, so they had Hall pooch a few misses as well for the defense to run out.
The most interesting part about the FG drills was that Bartholomew was the holder today instead of Barker. I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that it's the first time that that's happened. I think the coaching staff must be seeing what I'm seeing which is that Barker may very well be out of a job if Bartholomew can stay consistent.
Then Hall practiced some more on-side kicks. Wow! He definitely has the on-side kick down pat. I would say he made 10 kicks and 7 of them were perfect with the second bounce going high into the air for the guys to go after. He had considerably more good ones than bad ones. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by some knowledgeable fans today and we were all amazed at Hall's proficiency. I'd sure like to see us kick off the Jets game with an on-side kick to start the season.
Most of the rest of the practice was 11 on 11 drills with both the first and second stringers getting quite a few reps. They even ran the two minute drill with each unit.
Patrick Ramsey was ON this morning other than the aforementioned tip drill. He continues to fire the ball to receivers on a rope and even had a nice rollout that he scurried into the end zone on. The team practiced on the far field again today so I had a great view of some plays. P-Ram also knows this offense a lot better as well as on one particular TD pass, I watched Patrick look off two receivers before hitting the third option (Chad Morton) coming out of the backfield.
Scott Cloman continues to catch everything thrown at him as does Richmond Flowers. These two are going to be very difficult cuts to make, which is great. Tough cuts mean tough decisions, which is indicative of the quality we can expect from our receiving corps. Patrick Johnson had another good practice and Gardner just continues to get better and better each day.
The only bad drop of the morning was by Trung Canidate coming out of the backfield. To be fair to Trung, with it being a no-pads practice... the RB's did almost nothing today. In fact, the RB's haven't been getting many reps in 11 on 11's at all. Kenny Watson was back in action today.
I'm also happy to report that Rob Johnson was a little better today. He had a couple of good passes and it seemed to boost his confidence a little.
Johnson still looks ugly though between Ramsey and rookie Gibran Hamdan. Hamdan didn't see many reps today but when he did, he took full advantage and marched the offense straight down the field for a touchdown.
I've been tryng to notice some 'not-so-obvious' things while I've been watching as opposed to just who's catching, throwing or dropping. Today I caught a couple of items of note. Randy Thomas lined up beside Jon Jansen again today with Dave Fiore playing left guard beside Samuels. I'm not positive that it was every time, but it was certainly with frequency. Also of interest... for a lot of the 11 on 11, the defense lined up Regan Upshaw and Bruce Smith at end with RENALDO WYNN and PEPPI ZELLNER at DT. I didn't see Brandon Noble at all in the 11 on 11 (he was on the field though) so he may have just been nicked and sitting it out. I was happy to see Wynn move inside because IMO, he's our best option at the moment.
If any of you are trying to figure out depth at offensive line (like I was), the second string unit today consisted of Brad Bedell, Derrick Dockery, Wilbert Brown, Lennie Friedman (or Feldman as I've heard Fox call him twice now), and Pita Elisara.
I'm heading back to the mayhem now for the afternoon festivities.