View Full Version : Saturday's Training Camp One-Liners

08-02-2009, 06:54 PM
Same disclaimer as usual. Itís only one practice. If I say anything bad about ďyour guyĒ, get over it. Lots of players improve by leaps and bounds within the span of a preseason camp. I can only report what I saw, if your guy made three spectacular catches while my eyes were elsewhere, and I saw him drop the one thrown to him, Probably means Iím not raving about him, but itís nothing personal. Here we go.

-The new turf has odd markings in each corner of each of the three fieldís end zones. Itís a half circle with another half circle outside of that one, about ten yards wide and ten deep. Gotta be boundaries for some sort of drill.

-McLendon, the rookie tackle gets the nod as the first player down on the field. Undrafted rookies from Troy need to show the coaches theyíre hustling, kudos to him for the effort.

The plyers are in shoulder pads and helmets, and shorts. No full pads today, means the linemen wonít be working on run stuffing and blocking. Weíre gonna be working predominantly on passing today. The tight ends and receivers begin warming up by having balls shot at them out of the two-wheeled machine at ten yards away. First they take a couple while standing squared up to the machine, then they turn to one side, then the other. The idea is to keep both feet planted while they make the catch (like dragging the toes on the sideline)

-Spaeth is first up. He looks a little thinner to me than he did last year. He catches three or four smoothly, absorbing the balls velocity and pulling it in. Heís wearing gloves in this heat? He bobbles one, then catches the rest.

-McHugh takes a turn and the ball hits his hands a little harder. He gets a little slap on it when he catches it, and he doesnít really absorb the balls velocity. But he doesnít drop or bobble any.

-Johnson takes a turn. Heís very stiff when he tries to turn his body to snag balls that go off to the side. Heís much more muscular than the other TEís. But the hand eye coordination isnít there. He catches on one the forearm instead of the hands.

-Miller takes a turn and shows them how itís done. While he absorbs the velocity, he doesnít let the ball carry his hands six or eight inches like Spaeth does, and that allows him to tuck it in quicker. Thatís key since a lot of his catches are in traffic. Well, I guess for the money heís getting paid, he better know how to catch it.

-Sherrod takes a turn and drops one.

-Sweed comes over and showboats. Pulls the ball in effortlessly and in one smooth motion tosses each one behind his back to the coach. Itís nice that he caught every ball cleanly, but Iíd rather see him do on the practice field what heís going to do in games. Hopefully he doesnít make catches and then toss the ball behind the back to the opponent.

They take turns catching the balls in various forms of readiness. Sometimes, theyíre looking away then they spin and catch it. Kinda like the Marques Colston commercial.

-Spaeth catches his.

-Miller catches his.

-Johnson drops his. Itís pretty obvious early on that Johnson better be a hell of a blocker, because heís not much of a receiver, as far as TEís go.

-Spaeth catches another.

-McHugh catches his.

-Ratliff sneaks in and catches one.

-Sherrod makes a nice catch on one thatís way behind him.

-Miller and Spaeth catch a few more.

-Johnson comes back and catches one.

-On another part of the field, rookies Wallace and Lewis are tossing the ball back and forth. Wallace throws a couple nice passes. Not necessarily Randal El, but heís got a nice spiral on it. Might be something to look at in the future. Oops, he throws it behind Lewis. Maybe he better concentrate on playing WR for now. Lewis makes a nice one-handed catch on it. It looks like heís got good hands for a CB.

Offense and defense splits to go through walk-throughs of some plays. These are slow motion plays just to make sure everyone knows where theyíre supposed to go.

-I watch a couple of the defensive plays, and Iíd love to write what they were here, but have no clue what the hell to call them, and itís impossible to describe what the 11 players did, particularly since they line up deceptively, etc.., so Iíll stick with the offense for the most part during the walk-throughs.

-Ben hits McHugh on a center FB screen. Nice way to make use of the TE in the backfield.

-Ben fakes a handoff, looks at Holmes slanting, fakes the reverse, then throws deep to Speath down the middle. Three fakes, eh? Looks like sack begging to happen IMO.

-Ben throws a screen to Parker. Just like the ones they used to run back in 2006.

-The defensive line is working on overload stunts in the middle out of the base defense. Something that no doubt seems more appealing with Timmons in there than it did with Foote.

-Ben throws a 10 yard out to Baker. Baker catches it but waits for it to get to him. I wish heíd go back for it aggressively even in the walk-throughs. There were a couple times last year I thought Baker should have come back for it instead of waiting.

-Wallace apparently runs the wrong route in the walk through and gets instruction on where heís supposed to be. Right now, theyíre lining him up on the outside to the right on 4 wides.

-Batch throws a 10 yard post to McDonald, and McDonald makes a nice two-handed catch on the ball way over his head. He looks small out there, so the likelihood that passes will go over his head are high.

-Dixon hits McHugh on a 10 yard turn-in down the middle.

-Dixon hits McDonald on a 15 yard curl and comeback to the right.

-Over on the defensive walk-through, LeBeau is giving #50 one on one instruction on where to go on a particular stunt. I donít have a #50 on my roster, so I donít know who it is.

-Dixon hits Grisham out of the slot on a 6 yard slant.

-The defense is working on a 6 man blitz package. No two plays look anything alike. It looks like someone sets off 6 bottle rockets that shoot in random directions at random times and intertwine like pretzels, but all 6 players end up at the QB.

-Summers lines up on the punt cover walk-through as the all-important second from the gunner on the left.

-Carter takes a turn as the right-side gunner.

-Moore takes the next turn as the right-side gunner.

-Johnson takes a turn at the second from the left gunner, and shows a lot more enthusiasm at it than Summers does. With a left-footed punter, thatís the short side. We better have someone over there who can block.

-Bailey takes the second from the right gunner, the attack spot.

-Special team coach stops the action to instruct Summers. Heís sliding his feet when he drops back to punt block instead of chopping them, and maybe getting too early of a release (not sure exactly what that last part was that he was telling him)

-#50 takes a try at the second from the right gunner spot, but his feet look too slow to me. Heís big. Maybe a DE that got converted to OLB.

-Tomlin steps in to give the punt coverage team hopefuls an earful or a pep talk. Canít tell which. Maybe a bit of both (he usually doesnít step in unless heís unhappy with the way something is going, so Iíd say the former) Either way, heís making a big deal out of it, so that hopefully they take it seriously instead of looking at it as a chore (which is how some of them looked).

The players go into their stretching exercises.

-Summers is stiff as a board. While the other players bend over and grab their toes, straight legged, Summers can barely reach his knee, and heís really stiff at the hips. If heís swinging out of the backfield and the ballís thrown low, itís either gonna clank off his shins, or heís gonna have to drop to the turf to get it. And forget about him turning and catching a ball thrown behind him.

-Ubrik is very flexible for someone his size.

-Hoke does his Russian dance. Itís a tradition. The crowd goes nuts.

The team splits up for drills.

-The defensive front seven practice coming off the ball as a unit on a simulated snap. Timmons is the quickest off the ball on the first group.

-Farrior takes the title for the second group.

-The d-linemen are firing out of the chutes into a sled, and McLendon comes out too high and taps the top of the chute.

-Hood fires out low and quickly.

The o-linemen are paired up, standing across from each other. The man playing the ďdefenderĒ has the o-lineman by the inside of the pads and tries to get him off balance, while the o-lineman has to get hand position inside the defenerís hands and has to keep his balance doing it.

-Parquet gets pushed back fairly easily by Colon and never establishes his hands inside the defenderís.

-Capizzi holds up well against Starks, doesnít get moved much and gets decent position with his hands.

-Essex works his hands well, but has slow feet while heís trying to keep position, but he doesnít get moved.

-Parquet has slow feet as well, but he gets moved.

-Shipley holds his place well, but gets instruction from Zirlein on the use of his armsÖ.which really are short. I mean, theyíre short. Iím surprised he can reach down and snap the ball.

-Urbik shows decent feet sliding side to side, but Essex pushes him around with ease when he goes at him straight forward. He bends Urbik over backward. Zirlein comes over and tells Urbik to keep his head up, that heís got his head down and heís leaning, which makes it Easy for Essex to pull him forward and then quickly push him back. They try again, and itís no better. Itís early in the practice, but Iíd say Urbik is weak in the lower torso, the butt, the thighs and the calves. And his technique is terrible. Anyone who thought he might be an immediate help to the line can pretty much forget that. He needs a year in the gym and to work on his technique. Seems like a decent athlete, and heís not as bad as Hills was last year, but I doubt he makes any significant contribution this year.

-Capizzi takes another turn and holds up very well.

The running backs line up with one shoulder already on the sled and they push it.

-Parker doesnít move the sled too effectively.

-Redman moves the sled much better. Seems fairly strong.

-Summers blows the sled across the field easily. He may not be flexible, but sure as hell is strong at driving the sled.

-Mendenhall is only slightly stronger at pushing it than Parker.

The tight ends are firing out of the chute into a sled.

-Johnson rings the iron when he hits the sled. Nice drive block.

-Spaeth is coming out of the chute lower this year than last year, but he doesnít hit it with nearly the same authority as Johnson. Still he looks better than last year.

-McHugh hits it better than Spaeth, but not as well as Johnson.

The QBís are throwing to receivers with no DBís in the mix.

-Ben hits Vincent on a slant in the numbers.

-Batch hits Nance in the hands on a slant.

-Reilly throws behind Grisham on a slant from the left slot.

-Ben lobs one down the left sideline and Williams drops it. Right off his hands.

08-02-2009, 06:55 PM
-McDonald runs a very precise route and pulls one in, then stops on a dime at the sideline and cuts it up. Not sure who he is, but he looks polished. Of course, thatís with nobody lined up across from him.

-Dixon hits Ward on a deed slant, and the crowd roars.

-Dixon leads Wallace nicely on a crossing pattern. Dixon looks like a completely different Qb this year. Heís not throwing every pass 10MPH too fast. Heís stepping into his throws nicely. As far as his throwing mechanics are concerned, he looks great, and he is accurate.

-Reilly hits Sweed in the hands on a deep out. Sweed is running far better routes than he did last year. He doesnít look like heís all elbows and knees. Heís smooth coming out of his cuts, and his body position is excellent. If he can manage to hold onto the ball, he should have a nice year.

-Across the field, the LBís are practicing interceptions, and Farrior shows off great hands. But, you knew that already (sorry, sometimes I peek at the veterans, even though I know what they can do, just get an eyeful of good football)

-Grisham makes a nice adjustment on a Reilly pass behind him on a deep out.

-Sweed makes a great catch on a ball way behind him on a deep out.

-Williams brings a deep out smoothly into his chest. Heís very fluid.

To our right, one of my favorite drills, the running backs and tight ends try to block blitzing linebackers. This is where the half circles in the end zone come into play. The pass rusher canít go outside of the outside line, and the back has to keep him from getting inside the inner line (penetrating the pocket).

-Timmons runs at Parker, head fakes, and blows right by him with a super short and swift swim move.

-Frazier rips under Mooreís arm and gets right by him.

-Johnson picks up Fox nicely.

-Vincent stuffs Woods.

-Silverback runs right through Mendenhall like he was a tackling dummy. Didnít even need a move, just double fisted him in the chest.

-McHugh stops Woodley. Iím a bit surprised.

-Davis stuffs #44 (donít have a defensive #44 on my roster, this might have been #47, because the guys pull their jerseys up and stuff them up under their pads to stay cool, so it disorts the numbers sometimes)

-Timmons with a very nice spin move right past Summers. Set it up nicely with a hrad plant to the right, then spun left (unusual, most guys spin right).

-Farrior blows right through Mendenhall. (Right now, Iím not sure which of our Rbís is the worst at picking up the blitz. Itís a dead heat for last)

-#50 comes into Moore with a forearm shiver, lifts him off his feet and deposits him on his butt. A power move Silverback would be proud of. Wish I knew who 50 is, heís showing a lot of power and speed. If heís an UDFA, heís a steal. This guyís gonna make the team IMO.

-Woods uses a rip move to get by Redman.

-Redman stuffs Schantz.

-Korte gets by McHugh with a swim move.

-Bailey rips under Summersí left arm and gets by him.

-Redman looks at the wrong guy and his man does past him untouched. Embarrassing moment of the day so far.

-#50 drives Redman back to the back of the pocket, but Redman barely holds on to keep him out.

-Fox knocks McHugh on his butt with a bull rush.

-Johnson stuffs Silverback on the bull rush.

-Summers blocks Hood (who came over from the d-line drills)

-Woods swims by Johnson. Well, Johnson may be strong enough to hold up to a Silverback bull rush, but he was pretty weak matched up against a speed move.

And we have the first scrimmage of the day!

1st play- Ben hits McHugh on a quick slant for 5-10.

2nd play- Kemoeatu stuffs Paxson, Ben overthrows Spaeth on a 15 yd skinny post, #21 has the ball in his hands and dropsn the interception. (I assume #21 is Clark wearing Taylorís number again, so Iíll say Clark whenever 21 shows up from now on.)

3rd play- Ben hits Parker in the left flat, Polamalu is right there to hold it for a short gainer or loss.

4th play- Ben hits Ward, who manages to get Mundy isolated in a deep zone. Sweed has Townsend absolutely beat like a drum on the play. In fact, there hasnít been a play yet that Sweed wasnít open on. I donít know how many catches heíll have, but Sweed will be open a lot IMO. Heís really working off the line nicely and when he gets into full stride, forget about it.

5th play- Ben hits McHugh on a quick slant to the left, but Woods is right there to keep it to a very short gainer.

6th play- Parguet stuffs Eason on a stunt, giving Batch time to throw. Batch throws way low and behind Wallace, but Wallace twists around at full speed and picks the ball up off his back ankle on a deep crossing pattern where heíd beaten the corner and Cater deep.

7th play- Sweed beats Deshea on a 10 yard curl, uses his body well to shield him off and Batch hits him in the hands.

8th play- Hood tries a fake inside on Parquet then tries to swat him in as he jumps outside, but Parquet picks it up nicely. Batch has time and hits McDonald in the hands on a ten yard out, but McDonald drops the ball. After the play, Tomlin give Hood an earful about the weak swat.

9th play- Batch throws a quick out in Sherrodís direction, but Sherrod never turns around. He was running the wrong route.

10th play- Capizzi does a nice job blocking Woodley (I donít think Woodley looks like 100% to me. Maybe heís till hung over from the offseason or something) Batch throws to Mendenhall in the right flat, throws it high and behind him, but Mendy makes a nice catch and immediate juke, then takes it up field.

11th play- Dixon canít find anyone open, checks down to Davis in the right flat, but throws a sinker at Davisí feet.

12th play- Dixon looks at McDonald too long, but McDonald never breaks open, so Dixon tucks it under his arms and takes off for what would be a hug gain.

13th play- Dixon hits Nance, leading him perfectly on a 7 yard slant. Nance drops the ball.

The team breaks into punt coverage and blocking drills. Looks like the first time they worked on this, so a lot of this was just instruction. But at one point, Arnold Harrison is giving Johnson fits for the third time in a row, and Tomlin gets involved to put a flame under Johnsonís butt.

Scrimage #2:

Play #1- Silverback picks up Starks and gives him a ride into the backfield, Ben throws in that direction, trying a check down to 38 because Ike has Holmes covered and Gay has Ward covered, but Silverback is right in his face and knocks it down.

Play #2- Ward drops down to the slot, Ben hits hit on a quick turnaround. The play is unremarkable in that itís just a quick hitter designed to get a couple yards. But what is remarkable is how quickly Gay reads the play, comes off his man and comes up to meet Ward. I canít remember a Steeler corner reacting that quickly. Gay gave up no completions that I saw. Now, they played him about 6-8 yards off the line when he was lined up against Sweed, and, as I stated earlier, I thought Sweed was open on a bunch of plays, but now Iím not so sure. If Gay reacts that quickly to a ball thrown toward Sweed, itís a good chance he picks it off. As far off as he plays, and as quickly as he reacts, Iím betting Gay gives Troy a run for the team INT title this year. Heís already a better cover back than McFadden ever was.

Play #3- Ben hits Mendenhall in the left flat, Mendenhall jukes Clark out and takes it up field but not in the direction that would get him the most yards.

Play #4- Arnold Harrison blows by Hills. Batch does a nice job sidestepping and throws low and too far out front on a deep out to Wallace. Wallace makes a nice two-handed grab off the top of the grass (these two donít seem to be on the same page. Iím saying Batch throws low and outside, but itís more likely that Wallace isnít running the route correctly since heís a rookie)

Play #5- Batch hits Mendenhall in the right flat, Mendenhall immediately doubles back. Mendenhall looks like he did as a rookie. Heís reverted IMO, to not hitting the line hard. I donít know if thatís because of the shoulder, but nobodyís hitting him hard here, so he should be hitting the primary hole, and heís dancing around back there like Barry Sanders. Itís not that he doesnít have nice moves, but heís not running hard and smart IMO. Parker on the other hand looks great. Heís running strong and looks to be at top speed. I really had high hopes that Mendenhall would come into this camp polished up.

Play #6- Korte beats Hills with a speed rush, forces Batch to rush his throw to Baker over the middle. Batch never sees Fox and Fox intercepts and takes it to the house. Nice read by Fox, and nice pressure by Korte, whoever the hell that is.

Play #7- Dixon hits Vincent in the short left flat, but Hoke blows by Shipley and is there as the ball arrives to drop it for a loss.

Play #8- Shipley stuffs Hood and gets his hands down so Dixon can hit Williams on a 7 yard slant. I thought Hood would play the backside DE, but I only saw him there once. Theyíre lining him up inside, and heís not having a lot of success. They seem to be grooming him to play the strong side tackle in the two down linemen set on 3rd or 4th and long. Seems to be the best chance he'll contribute this year.

Play #9- Parquet stuffs Hood, giving Dixon time to hit Black on a deep corner route for a TD. Beautiful pass.

Play #10- Paxson pressures Ben with a speed rush on Colon and gets in his face. Ward breaks wide open on a deep corner route, but the pass is too far in front of him.

Play #11- Moore swings out of the backfield to the right, but Woodley has him in tight coverage. Ben forces the ball and Moore canít see it with Woodley in his face.

QBís, LBís, DBís, RBís, and TEís go into a 7 on 7 drill:

-Ben hits Ward on a 10 yard curl.

-Ben hits Baker on a 10 yard curl in front of Ike. Ike has tight coverage and gets his hand in there as the ball arrives, but Baker holds onto it.

-Ben forces a deep post to Speath, Frazier steps right in front of it and intercepts.

-Ben seems Holmes is being covered by Mundy and hits him on a 10 yd slant.

-Dixon with a perfect pass to Grisham on the deep out.

-Dixon hits Grisham again on a 10 yd curl.

-Dixon his Grisham again, this time to the left with a nice 20 yard touch pass over the linebacker and under the corner.

-Dixon hits McDonald in the hands on a crossing pattern, McDonald drops it.

-Ben goes to Ward on the medium corner route, and Lewis reads it well, makes a nice interception. I donít know how Lewis will look in man-to-man, but he makes excellent reads in the zone, and really attacks the ball nicely. I was worried about our corner situation, but he looks like he might be a nice find.

On the other field, the linemen go mano-a-mano in the Oklahoma drill:

-Silverback blows past Hills on a speed rush.

-Harris puts a beautiful spin move on Foster and beats him clean.

-Legurski stuffs Paxson.

-Hood puts Urbik on roller skates and drives him way into the backfield.

-They try again, and Urbik gets rolled again. Tomlin steps in and tells Urbik to ďhave some dignityĒ (not a good sign for Urbik, IMO)

-Woodley fakes outside then rips inside Parquet to get by him under his left arm.

-Silverback fakes outside and blows right past Hills inside. Dead QB.

-Foster stuffs Harris.

-They try it again, and Foster stuffs him again.

-Legursky gives ground, but holds off McLendon.

-Reffert shoves Urbik into the backfield.

-Silverback blows by Hills on the outside speed rush.

-Hills stuffs Harris

-Harris fakes in and rips past Foster.

-Hood uses the long arms to swat better this time and gets right past Urbik.

-They try again, and his time Urbik does better. He still gets drive back too much, but he doesnít get beat.

-Paxson swims past Hills.

-Essex stuffs McLendon.

Final scrimmage!

Play #1- Handoff to Parker. Nice hole between Kemo and Stapleton (who is playing center today, not sure where Hartwig is)

Play #2- Kirshcke drives Starks back. Mendenhall gets the handoff and runs right into Starksí back in the backfield.

Play #3- Ben with a swing pass to Davis, orte haas it sniffed out for a loss.

Play #4- Mendenhall off left tackle. Arnold Harrison stuffs the hole.

Play #5- Moore sweep right. Frazier and Deshea stuff it at the line. Wow, our run blocking looks ugly.

Play #6- Batch to Mendenhall in the left flat. Harris is right there, but Mendenhall fakes him out of his jock, and gets around him, but instead of getting a nice play straight ahead, he reverses field again and tries the Barry Sanders thing.

Play #7- Vincet between right guard and right tackle. Hood holds the point well this time, for a short gain.

Play #8- Redman to the right, #50 stuffs the play with a very strong hit at the point of attack. Redman tries to cut it in and 50 shoves his man inside to seal the hole.

Play #9- Hood gets straightened up and moved 2 yards off the ball. Vincent cuts through the hole for a nice gain.

Play #10- Woodley beats Spaeth like a drum, Ben tries to hit Holmes on the quick out, ball bounces off Holmesí hands and Clark intercepts.

Play #11- Colon gets Woodley sealed inside, Mendenhall cuts around for a decent gain

Play #12- Silverback pushes Sherrod into backfield, Kirschke stuffs Kemo, Vincent has nowhere to go.

Next installment, Mondayís practice.

08-02-2009, 07:29 PM
Nice report gravity. Thanls for posting the info.

08-02-2009, 07:35 PM
Good Read..thanks for the post.

08-02-2009, 07:40 PM
Nice report gravity. Thanls for posting the info.

:iagree: :clap:

Thanks for that write up. Very interesting read. Looking forward to Monday's!

SA IS paying you well to be their personal reporter at camp, right? :greengrin:

08-02-2009, 08:26 PM
timmons STILL cramping up?? for crying out loud, get this guy some fluids!

08-02-2009, 08:35 PM
Get Timmons some Midol! He has cramps!

08-02-2009, 08:56 PM
nice... thank you!

08-02-2009, 08:58 PM
Frank the "tank" was lit up today by Gay!

Sir Blitzelot
08-02-2009, 09:20 PM
Awesome report Gravity, thanks for the update. :clap: :yellowthumb:

08-03-2009, 02:06 AM
Great Post, intresting read. Thanx alot, I git High hopes For Hood, Lewis and Wallace this year. And SWEED!! is going to be a beast. And i realy hope Dixon sees more action this year that dude is jampacked with potenial and talent. cheers

Richmond Rukus
08-03-2009, 09:22 AM
Good share. I've been reading Vrabanic's camp notes for years. He does a great job. can't wait for Monday's camp notes to come out.

08-03-2009, 09:49 AM
Good share. I've been reading Vrabanic's camp notes for years. He does a great job. can't wait for Monday's camp notes to come out.

Whoa, this post is not my doing! This is actually from Vrabanec. All credit goes to him :lol: Sorry bout that! Just thought I'd like to share with the guys here that don't know the legend (since I'm pretty sure he doesn't post here). And if you're wondering, he actually does legit write ups. I was there (Saturday) and everything he said was spot on. Almost like he has a laptop there and writes it when it happens.