On the Field for Practice – 12/19

A rainy, rainy Friday practice, although at least this time the weather forecast says that practicing in the rain might help prepare for Sunday’s conditions.

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  • As usual with Friday practices, it was mostly special teams and red zone stuff today. The pass catchers started off a bit rocky with a bunch of drops, probably because of the rain-soaked footballs, but as the practice continued things seemed to settle down, and by the end people were hauling it in consistently. Antwaan Randle El made the most remarkable catch that I saw today, a jumping, spinning thing to grab a pass that was coming over the wrong shoulder, and then a tiptoe to stay in bounds.
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On the Field for Practice – 12/18

Well, this is a first for me. For some reason, afternoon practice was moved up today and combined with the morning it’s-not-a-walkthrough. This has happened before for specific reasons — weather alerts and holidays, for example — but this is the first time I’ve seen the routine disrupted for no specific reason. Some players speculated that it was precisely to shake up the routine, others thought it might be to prevent them from warming up, cooling down, and warming up again. Whatever the reason, though, practice was moved, and most of the players were happy. “Going straight through, man, that’s good — you don’t have that dead time,” Demetric Evans told me afterward.

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  • Finally, probably too late for it to make a huge difference, just about everyone is healthy. The only person who didn’t practice at all was Jon Jansen, and London Fletcher was limited, but I believe just about everyone else was back at or near full speed.

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On the Field for Practice – 12/17

I really didn’t know what to expect from today’s practice. Part of me expected to go out and find the guys listlessly shuffling around the practice field, another part thought they might be unusually fired up and loose with nothing to lose. The truth, as it tends to be, fell somewhere between the two. It was another day at practice. It looked, again, like a good one, and lots of guys were in a notably boisterous mood — “a fantastic practice,” Todd Yoder called it afterward — but if I was expecting something dramatic to have changed since Cincinnati, it wasn’t there.

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  • I tried to pay particular attention to see if there was any difference in the way players were interacting with Coach Zorn following Monday’s press conference, but, really? Not so much. And I mean that in a good way. The relationships still looked as solid as they did early in the season — above is a picture of Zorn discussing a specific pass route with Santana Moss, a conversation that went on for a few minutes and appeared to engross both sides equally. Zorn also chatted amiably with the quarterbacks, the other coaches, and plenty of other players. So nothing too unusual there.
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On the Field for Practice – 12/12

Today was the first day that I think the wind could easily be described as “biting,” and it was really blowing out there, everybody’s windpants snapping in the breeze. I looked to see if I could get a picture of the goalpost flags whipping around, but instead the whole goalposts were rocking back and forth. Not the weather you want for passing or kicking, that’s for sure.

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  • Good news for everyone who says I only post about what a great practice Jason Campbell is having, I guess: Campbell had a bit of a bumpy start today. Passes were sailing on him, execution seemed to be lacking, and even the characteristically stoic QB seemed a bit frustrated. He and Chris Cooley — perhaps taking their cue from the soothing QB/TE meetings that Jason Witten and Tony Romo allegedly have — spoke briefly off to the side, and it was at that point that practice turned for the offense. Campbell seemed to be moving smoother and easier and his passes were knifing through the wind to be caught. Cooley himself snagged two or three of them, including a high floater that he fielded almost like a punt, yelling afterward, “Did you see how I judged the wind on that one?” Whatever was said, the more positive tone held, and it finished as yet another strong practice in a week of them, which was something of a relief.

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On the Field for Practice – 12/11

The weather made everything unusual today, including the practice schedule. The typical afternoon practice was moved up by several hours and nailed to the end of what would ordinarily be a shorter morning practice. “Players love that,” Coach Zorn said afterward. “It’s a longer practice, but it’s just one time.” At this point, I worry about anything that disrupts the routine, but I’m a worrier like that. Anyhow, a few reports from a rainy, cold day out at the practice fields.

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  • The best news about practice today is that there were a lot more guys there. Returning to full practice were Randy Thomas, Pete Kendall, and Carlos Rogers, and for limited work were Jon Jansen, Todd Yoder, Kedric Golston. So that was an improvement over yesterday.
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On the Field for Practice – 12/10

A strangely warm, damp winter’s day on the practice fields. The fields themselves were in good shape — they were presumably covered during the actual rain — but it was wet enough out that the spaces between the fields were a soggy mess.

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  • Hey, look! It’s Clinton Portis at practice. He told the media he had a great practice, and Coach Zorn reiterated the sentiment after practice. Portis seemed to be hitting the holes well, caught the ball well out of the backfield, and generally seemed happy to be a full participant back on the practice field. That said, Ladell Betts was also running well today, and got a few impressed cheers from teammates for some of his efforts, so maybe it was just a good day for running backs.
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On the Field for Practice – 12/5

The rain that I predicted yesterday wore itself out last night, leaving today clear, windy, and cold for a Friday practice.

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  • I think if I had to pick the person who stood out most at practice today, it would be Rocky McIntosh. He was all over the place, covering the running back coming out of the backfield, spotting a screen before it developed, and tipping down a pass in the end zone.
  • As Ryan O’Halloran recently noted in the Washington Times, wide receivers develop notoriously slowly in the NFL, and it’s hard to argue. Slowly though it may be, Devin Thomas is definitely improving. I asked him after today’s practice why that was. “I’m just trying to fly around and do everything fast. I’ve been reading my books so I know what I’m doing out there, and Jason knows I’ll be there when he looks my way. He’s starting to see me working and going harder out there, and he’s starting to trust that I’m going to be there.”

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