Long practice today, and one that looked tough, at least from my perspective. No pre-practice huddle needed to get the guys focused for this one, which was good. Lots of goalline work, lots of fired up defenders.
- Lots of fired up defenders, yes, but also lots of missing defenders. Out or very limited today from the defense were Shawn Springs, Jason Taylor, Cornelius Griffin, Chris Horton, Carlos Rogers, and Fred Smoot. Coach Zorn said after practice that Griffin “is gonna be done for this week,” and he and Springs both seem unlikely to go this weekend. Everyone else on that list was some variation of “probably going to go.”
- On the offensive side of things, Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts, and Malcolm Kelly all sat out. Portis isn’t a concern — he apparently even did some work this morning — and Betts, obviously, is out again. The news on Kelly was not particularly encouraging, with Zorn saying that they were “taking him off the field to give him a chance to rest” through the bye. If he isn’t ready to go after the bye week, it’ll be injured reserve, but Zorn seems to think that Kelly’s upside is substantial enough to warrant keeping him active as long as possible. (He even went so far as to mention the possibility of playoffs, an unusual comment at this point in the season and maybe even something of a faux pas depending on who you ask.)
- With three of the top cornerbacks down, the younger guys got a chance to show their stuff, and largely acquitted themselves well. Justin Tryon continually seems to be in the right position when the ball arrives, although he can’t always finish the defense, and Leigh Torrence was all over the field today.
- The backup safeties also made some nice plays. Kareem Moore knocked down two balls in the air that looked like they were going to be caught, and Michael Green blew up two runs in the backfield and broke up a pass to the tight end.
- I found myself noticing slightly odd things today — how quickly Santana Moss pulls the ball in to his body in traffic, for example, or what a solid blocker Chris Cooley is on running plays.
- Jason Campbell is showing no ill effects that I could see from his groin strain. He moved around well in the pocket, threw the ball with what looked like his usual velocity, and on the whole looked perfectly normal.
- I asked Colt Brennan what he had noticed at practice today. “Horace Gant made a couple good plays today. He was out there ballin’ today. He’s been working hard out there, him and Devin Aromashodu both.” I pointed out that he was the one who had dropped a perfect pass in for Gant to catch over the defense, and he nodded. “Yeah, I always like going out there and throwing the ball around, getting ready. That’s like my highlight of the week, today and tomorrow, because that’s when I get the most reps, the most chances to go in there and do something, give the defenses a look. Just another day’s work, I guess.”