Well, my notes from practice are virtually unreadable. The air was warm enough initially, but by the end of practice the wind was both cold and strong, and my hands were pretty much useless. Which just makes me all the more impressed with the guys who had to actually do football stuff.
- My whining aside, the wind provided me with one illuminating lesson. Since I started doing this, I’ve been mildly impressed with how well all the players — not just the quarterbacks — can throw the ball. No matter who is tossing the ball back to the equipment staff or the coach or whoever needs it, the ball seems to zip in with a nice tight spiral. In the wind, though, clear differences develop: where the quarterbacks can still deliver the ball on the money, other throws were being blown wide or to the ground. Apparently, all it takes to make an NFL player’s throw look like your brother’s at Thanksgiving is a 20 to 30 mile per hour wind gust.
- Punting was similarly affected. Some punts swung out of bounds, others seemed to hang in the air forever. What was interesting was watching Ryan Plackemeier get the measure of the wind and start using it to his advantage. I never thought punting was just about kicking the heck out of the ball, and even if I had A Few Seconds of Panic would’ve dispelled that belief, but it’s still impressive to watch all the elements that go into it.
- Maybe it was just the cold, but there seemed to be an energy at practice today that hasn’t really been there for a bit. A little more chirping, a little more zip on the passes, a little more pop in some of the blocks. Nothing I can quantify or describe, but it definitely felt different somehow.
- Injury updates! Out or very limited in practice were: Shawn Springs, Clinton Portis, LaRon Landry, Santana Moss, Carlos Rogers, Rock Cartwright, and Pete Kendall. Chris Samuels was able to participate a bit, although not with the first team and not for the entire practice. Malcolm Kelly and Jason Taylor were nowhere to be seen. Coach Zorn seems to believe that most of the people in that first list are going to be available for Monday Night’s game, even mentioning that Pete Kendall needed a break for his “old body,” adding, “sorry, Pete” quickly. Still, it was a bit distressing to see that many players of that caliber standing on the sidelines.
- It was nice, however, to see Chris Horton back in and participating. He still seemed to have a nose for the ball and I didn’t see anything to indicate that he was feeling any ill effects from his injury, but he did drop an easy interception during the last play of practice. I don’t want to make too much of a single practice in shells, but it was heartening to say the least.