You wouldn’t think the weather forecast could completely reconfigure the day for an entire football team, but there you go. A steady, very cold rain today moved practice up to 11:15, which merged it with what is usually the morning it’s-not-a-walkthrough walkthrough, which led to it running straight into open locker room. So it’s been something of a crazy morning for just about everyone. Also, wet.
- In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I was not, in fact, on the field for ALL of practice. Between practice running long and my one hooded jacket being more water-resistant than waterPROOF, I came up about 45 minutes short and soaking wet. Still, I was out there long enough that James Thrash called me a soldier and Marc Dress called me an idiot, so there’s that.
- Coach Zorn (pictured above in rain gear and hood), perhaps predictably, took an optimistic view of the day, calling the rain “A positive for us — as fall continues it’s going to get colder.” That would be a textbook definition of looking on the bright side.
- Clinton Portis was not outside at practice, and Zorn said there had been “no change today” for him. Ladell Betts (Zorn: “Betts looked good today”) and Shaun Alexander both ran hard, and someone also commented that Rock Cartwright was really working hard. Obviously, you’d like to have the NFL MVP candidate ready for game time, but if he can’t go, the potential three-headed backup monster looks prepared to do well at Dallas (and to devastate fantasy owners nationwide).
- It’s time for the Good News/Bad News Bullet Point, starring Malcolm Kelly. Good news: Malcolm Kelly was indeed practicing again. Bad news: Devin Thomas was not, sidelined by a stomach bug of some sort. (Although Zorn noted that “Devin’s probably mad at me, because I made him come out and watch practice.) Good news: Kelly again looked crisp catching the ball and running afterward. Bad news: Zorn thinks it’s unlikely he’s going to be active against Dallas, as he’s just not prepared yet. There is no further good news on this subject.
- Santana Moss, to my relatively untrained eye, looks good. Every muscle in my body was tightening up in the cold and the wet, so it seemed potentially rough for a guy coming off a hamstring injury, but he showed no immediately visible signs of discomfort or limitations.
- The Z Shades, that hit of the summer, were back out, now repurposed as Zbrellas. Not entirely unexpectedly, this led to them being further repurposed as props for pranks, as players were constantly trying to drench one another with water that had pooled atop the shade. I didn’t see anyone get fully caught, although there were a few close calls.
- After practice, I asked Lorenzo Alexander about working that kind of weather. “It’s nasty,” he said. “It’s just sloppy. Anytime it’s cold you gotta warm up, you’re stiff — especially this time of the year, you’re already sore so it really takes some time to get going.” Despite that, though, everyone seemed to be going full speed. I was full of compliments about yesterday’s practice — and in fact overheard people today describing yesterday’s session as “the best I’ve seen in more than five years” — and today looked just as energized.
- One more thing I learned today: the team’s coaches wear comfortable socks. I managed to get a pair from the equipment room to replace my own — which were soaked literally through — and I’m completely enthralled by the level of spongy cushioniness. Even soaking wet outside, though, it’s important to maintain perspective, because I guarantee that there was at least one person out there vastly more uncomfortable than I was. This guy: