The first December day of practice, crisp and cool. If there was a mood or tenor to practice today, I’d have to characterize it as relief. One of the nice things about the weekly routine of football is that it offers a clear definition of when to stop thinking about last week and start thinking about next week, and the first practice is as good a marker as any.
- Just because the week is fresh, though, doesn’t mean the team is. On the offensive line alone, Pete Kendall, Randy Thomas, and Chris Samuels were all either rested or limited in practice. This isn’t all that unusual — Kendall has been rested during Wednesday practices going back at least to last year — but it’s certainly not something that increases the cohesion along the offensive line.
- The main thing I was watching, in light of the all the recent chatter and the two articles in today’s Washington Post, was the quarterback position. And yet again Jason Campbell looked good. Remember, there’s no pass rush to speak of in practice, and even if the guys are going “full speed,” it’s not to going to be the same as game speed. It’s a totally different environment, and apparently that’s just the way it is. But yet again, Campbell in practice looks decisive and seems to be getting rid of the ball quickly — and, to judge by what I can overhear people saying on the field, to the correct receivers. When you watch all three QBs take reps, it seems reasonably clear why Campbell is the starter, and why Zorn claims that he’s not even considered a switch. I’ll keep an eye on it throughout the week, but that’s how it looked today.
- Clinton Portis again didn’t practice — Zorn said that his neck is sore, although his knee is improving. Zorn did add, though, that Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright “are going to have to help us, and Mike [Sellers] has been stepping in on third down and doing a great job.” Potential bad news for people hoping to start Portis in their fantasy league playoffs, but good news for the contingent that thinks taking some of the load off will help Portis out in the long run.
- In one of those practice plays that’s probably not significant in the immediate future, but could be promising in the long run, Kareem Moore showed some excellent ball awareness and took a great angle coming across the field to make a tricky-looking interception along the far sideline. He’s unlikely to have much opportunity to do that in games just yet, but it’s good to know that he can if he has to.
- Also not practicing? Shawn Springs. Zorn thinks he’s going to be okay, but calls him an “extreme player,” by which he seemed to mean someone who needs to feel like his body is correct before he can show what he’s capable of.
- Jason Taylor was joking with me before practice about feeling out of it, but he looked fine in the defensive line drills that I saw. He’s another one, like Campbell, who has consistently looked sharper in practice than in the games, for whatever reason. Something else to keep an eye on.
- Other players who were limited or out of practice: Marcus Washington, London Fletcher, Kedric Golston, Cornelius Griffin, London Fletcher, and Andre Carter. Oh, and Alfred Fincher was not there due to some personal business in New Orleans. So not exactly a huge crowd on the practice field today.