Credit to vrabinec
Monday’s practice notes:
Johnson, McDonald, and Williams were the first ones down on the field. I always salute the first ones on, and when I can, the last ones off the field.
The tight ends take turns warming up by catching a few from the ball machine, flat footed.
-Johnson drops 4 out of 7 passes thrown his way by the ball machine at 10 yards. But manages to make a nice scoop on one of the three he caught off the ground.
-McHugh takes a turn at the machine and catches 10 out of 12, with one nice catch on a ball shot over his head.
-Spaeth takes a turn and catches 11 out of 13 with two nice catches over his head.
-Sherrod takes a turn and catches 11 out of 13 with one nice catch over his head.
-Miller drops the first one shot his way, then catches the next 11, including a nice one handed catch to his left.
They take turns, one at a time, running patterns instead of just standing in front of the machine flat-footed.
-Spaeth catches his.
-Williams catches one.
-McHugh catches one.
-Sherrod catches one.
-Johnson catches three. I notice Johnson looks much better catching the ball when he’s on the run, than he does standing still. Not sure that translates to lots of catches for him from the TE spot, but it makes those drops when he’s standing flat footed a little easier to swallow. (maybe he’s like the Sunshine Kid, better when he’s moving)
-Spaeth catches two more.
-Miller catches two more.
-McHugh catches two more.
-Sherrod catches two more.
The players are warming up in shorts and many with their shoulder pads off, so don’t read too much into this.
- Redman catches 3 out of 4, the one he dropped was an over the shoulder catch
-Sweed catches all 5 of the throws I see thrown his way. Also, he tries a couple throws, and it’s pretty evident we’ll never see him try to make the WR throw. He throws like my sister.
-Grisham catches 6 out of 7, dropping one that hit him in the numbers.
-Baker catches all 6 passes thrown his way that I see.
-Nance catches 5 out of 6.
-Logan catches all 9 passes I see thrown his way. Good hands, but he’s tiny.
-Moore slides in and gets a catch.
More screwing around. Reed and Roethlisberger are having a little too much fun for my comfort. They are definitely looser than they were last year. All this while over in Baltimore, Suggs has on his “You bet your sweet azz I hate Pittsburgh” tee shirt on. I’m getting visions of Rocky 3 here, with the rich and satisfied Steelers having fun while the Baltimore Clubber Langs are all business. Though, I seem to remember Bettis having a lot of fun in 2005, so I may be over-reacting.
The team goes to walk-throughs. They must have had a revelation of sorts, because they now have the first team out there, walking through, and as soon as they get 20 yards down field the second team starts their walk through. Good way to get more work in, in a shorter amount of time.
-Ben hits Miller on a crossing pattern. (Baker takes Wards spot on the first team, while Ward rests his sore old spot.)
-Ben hands off to Parker left.
-Ben hands off to Parker left again. (Hopefully we see a lot of this hand off stuff early in the year, because Parker looks good.)
-Ben hands off to Parker right.
-Ben hits Baker on a fly pattern out of the slot.
-20 yrds behind them, the 2nd team starts their drive. Batch hands off to Mendenhall.
-Ben tosses one to Parker in the right flat.
-Batch throws too high to Williams on a crossing pattern. Incomplete.
-Ben hits Holmes on a deep slant.
-Batch hands to Mendenhall off right tackle. (It seems obvious they’re keeping -Mendenhall’s runs tighter to the center than Parker’s
-Ben hits Miller on a slant.
-Batch hands off to Mendenhall, right.
-Batch hands off to Mendenhall, left.
-3rd team comes on with only half an offense (not enough linemen to have a full team with Stapleton and Hartwig out). Dixon hits Nance with 2 consecutive slants.
-Batch hits McDonald on a slant.
-Dixon hands it off to Vincent up the middle.
-Batch hits McDonald on an out.
-Dixon hits Grisham.
-Batch hits Mendenhall on a swing pass to the right.
-Dixon hits Johnson on an out.
-Batch hits Spaeth on a slant.
-Dixon hands it off to Vincent.
-Batch pitches it to Mendenhall
-Dixon hits Nance on a slant.
-Dixon hits Nance on a corner route.
Next set of walk through drives:
-Ben hands to Parker in the middle.
-Ben checks down to Parker.
-Ben hits Parker in the right flat.
-Ben fakes to Parker and hits Sweed on a deep post.
-Batch hits Spaeth on a 10 yd curl.
-Ben hands off to Parker in the middle (the way Parker’s running, I hope we see a lot of this)
-Davis lines up in the slot and runs a fly pattern; Batch hits him in the hands.
-Batch hits Wallace on a WR screen left.
-Ben hits Holmes in the middle, Holmes makes leaping grab.
-Dixon hits Grisham on a crossing pattern.
-Batch hits McDonald in the numbers.
-Dixon fakes to Summers then hits Grisham on a deep corner route.
-Batch hands it to Davis up the middle
-Dixon hits Nance on a 10 yard crossing pattern.
-Dixon hits Black on a 10 yard crossing pattern. After the play, McDonald gets some instruction about how he’s coming off the line.
-Dixon hits Johnson on a 10 yard curl.
The team splits into 3 groups and comes off the line on a simulated snap.
-Timmons is the first one off the line in the first group.
-Vincent is the first one off the line in the second group.
-McHugh is the first one off the line in the third group.
The team splits up. The o-linemen come down to the corner to get instruction on handling stunts.
-The only bad play is one in which Kemo sees a stunting end too late. (This is a walk-through, mind you. You can’t make this stuff up.)
The punt cover team gets instructions. Johnson gives a lot of effort on every play. I don’t know if he’s got the talent to make the team, but I absolutely love this guy’s effort. He’s like Rudy out there.
-Carey Davis and Fox once again look like the toughest ones to block on the cover teams. Those of you who want to jettison Davis should keep that in mind.
-Shipley picks up the wrong man and gets instruction. Tries it again, and gets it this time.
The team goes into stretching exercises before the practice is to start in ernest.
-Big Snack looks slimmed down (amazing what a contract year will do) and is actually pretty flexible. He and Ben stroll while everyone else stretches.
-Holmes has trainers twist him into pretzels. He’s Gumby.
-Shipley’s flexible, no problem touching his toes.
-Johnson’s stiff, can’t touch his toes.
The team breaks up into their position drills. The inside linebackers have a coach point and they react and come up on that side.
-Timmons and Farrior are by far the quickest at making the read and taking off to the spot the coach points.
-Korte is the slowest of the group.
The defensive linemen hit the sled in teams of 3.
-Smith and Hampton hit the sled the hardest. Everyone else is a distant second.
QB’s and receivers run un-defended routes.
-I watch 19 passes to Baker, Grisham, Wallace, Williams, Logan, McDonald, Holmes, and Nance, nobody drops a pass, the QB’s are all on target. It’s basically just pitch and catch.
The outside linebackers do a drill in which they backpedal, and the coach points left or right and they zig zag down the field, cutting back and forth, whichever way he’s pointing.
-The only one that stands out is Davis, who is a bit slow footed and doesn’t turn his hips as quickly as the others. That’s going to be an issue when he’s dropping into coverage. Unless he can improve on that, he’s going to get back to his spot a step slower than our other linebackers.
The defensive backs work on catching the ball one handed.
-Deshea drops one, and catches 2 others.
-Gay drops one, and catches one.
-Clark catches both of his.
-K. Lewis catches all 3 of his.
-Taylor catches one, and bobbles a second one, but holds on.
-Richardson catches all 3 of his.
-Mundy catches both of his.
-Madison catches both of his.
-Burnett catches all 3 of his.
-Ratliff catches all 3 of his.
-R. Lewis catches 2 and bobbles one, but manages to hold on.
The tight ends and running backs take another try at blocking our linebackers. Guess the coaches weren’t happy with Saturday’s results.
-Farrior fakes left and blows by Parker on the right.
-Silverback swims past Moore
-Fox swims past Redman.
-Korte fakes left and swims by Johnson.
-A. Harrison tries a spin move and Mendenhall stuffs him.
-B. Davis destroys C. Davis, puts him on his butt.
-Moore stuffs Bailey.
-Vincent does a nice job on Korte.
-Timmons swims by Redman.
-A. Harrison speed rushes past Summers.
-Farrior rips past Summers.
Meanwhile, the receivers are taking on our defensive backs.
-Sweed has R. Lewis burned on a down out and up, but the ball’s badly overthrown.
-McDonald beats Ratliff cleanly on a deep out and pulls it in.
-Wallace turns Madison around with a nice head fake on a deep out pattern and pulls it in.
-K. Lewis has tight coverage on Nance, incomplete.
-R. Lewis does a nice job of coming off Black and helping to double Sweed on a down out and up, incomplete.
-Sweed gets chipped at the line, but comes off and makes a catch on a 10 yard curl in front of Taylor. They’re playing as far off Sweed as they used to play off Plax.
-Burnett has good coverage on McDonald, the ball’s thrown there any way, and McDonald drops it.
Play #1- Ben hits Sweed on a quick slant to the right.
Play #2- Gay plays 5 yards off Speath, and Spaeth seems to be open behind him on a fly down the middle, but Ben checks down to Davis in the left flat.
Play #3- A. Smith beats Legursky (who is playing center with the first team). Gay has tight coverage on Sherrod, and breaks up the pass.
Play #4- Holmes beats Madison on a crossing pattern, Ben throws it behind him, incomplete.
Play #5- K. Lewis has nice coverage on Holmes. Ben pumps and Lewis bites on the fake, turns and runs up field while Holmes comes back, is wide open, and makes a nice catch on a ball thrown too wide. Welcome to the NFL, Lewis.
Play #6- Batch hits Johnson deep on a route down the middle.
Play #7- Parquet stuffs Hood. Williams beats K. Lewis on a 10 yard out and Batch hits him in the numbers.
Play #8- B. Davis has Sherrod covered. McDonald beats Gay on an out pattern and Batch hits him.
Play #9- Capizzi has Hood blocked. Batch throws to McDonald, but K. Lewis has good coverage and knocks the ball out of McDonald’s hands.
Play #10- Shipley picks up Timmons on a stunt up the middle. Dixon throws it low to Wallace, but Wallace makes a nice catch, going down to scoop the low throw.
Play #11- Farrior blows right by Shipley and Dixon throws it into the grass (intentional grounding if it was a game)
Play #12- Hood swims right by Urbik forcing Dixon to throw early, Clark picks it off then comes over to the fans and yells, “Y’all better start cheering when the defense makes a play.” (I have to admit, the fans do cheer offensive plays at these practices), so we start a “defense” chant.
The team breaks up to work on punt blocking and punt coverage drills (the veterans get to take a breather and sip water while the special teamers work on this)
-In the gunner drill, the gunner has to break through a double team. Burnett breaks through Black and Madison.
-Richardson beats Grisham, but K. Lewis loops around and blocks him with a loud smack. Tomlin is pleased and calls out, “I like that, 20!”
-Black gets by Ratliff and Madison.
-Mundy gets by Ratliff and Richardson.
-Sweed splits R. Lewis and Nance.
-Mundy gets by one man, then K. Lewis drives him out of bounds.
-R. Lewis stuffs Grisham.
1st play- Colon Stuffs Woodley. Gay plays too far off Sweed, and Ben hits him on a 6 yard slant. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but Colon looks a lot better to me this camp than he did last year. He’s getting out of his stance quicker, he seems a little lighter on his feet. He’ll never be mistaken for Leon Searcy, but I think he has improved in the off season. It’s the first sing of hope for our o-line that I’ve seen.
2nd play- Sweed comes down the line and seals Timmons inside, Parker cuts it around him. Nice block by Sweed.
3rd play- Colon blocks Woodley, but someone blows by Mendenhall on the backside and forces Ben to throw too early, and he throws behind Holmes.
4th play- Farrior blows up Baker in the backfield and stuff Parker for a loss. Looks to me like we can’t use Baker on those plays designed for Ward in which he comes into the slot and blocks from there.
5th play- Timmons has Parker blanketed out of the backfield on a deep HB out, and Ben throws it to him anyway and completes it for 10.
6th play- Williams beats K. Lewis on a 10 yard out, Batch hits him in the numbers.
7th play- Summers takes a handoff left off tackle, and hits the hole surprisingly quick. But he hits it straight up and down, he needs to lower his shoulders. Still, as disappointed as I’ve been with what I’ve seen of Summers’ blocking, it’s nice to see him do something well. If he learns to lower the shoulders, I can see him being a nice short yardage option.
8th play- Shipley stuffs Hood. Batch hits McDonald on a 10 yard curl.
9th play- Shipley knocks Eason 3 yards off the ball. Mendenhall cuts sharply through the hole.
10th play- Moore runs right off tackle. Hood fights down through the line through the garbage nicely and is the 1st man in the hole for what would have been a loss or no-gain. But Hood has his shoulders turned perpendicular to the line which opens him up to cutback runners taking a hard cut and running behind him. He needs to work on keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage.
11th play- Capizzi knocks Davis two yards off the line, Vincent cuts through the hole. Capizzi is quietly having a really good camp.
12th play- Dixon throws a crossing pattern to Grisham and Ricjardson makes a diving play to knock the ball down. Nice defensive play.
13th play- Shipley has Hood stuffed. Dixon hits Nance with nice touch on a sideline pass.
14th play- Hoke swims by Shipley and stuffs Redman in the backfield. Shipley looks good when he has someone right in front of him, but when he gets someone shooting the gap like Hoke did here, he has problems with leverage. Hoke lined up on Shipley’s right shoulder and came across with a hard left hand to Shipley’s shoulder pads. Shipley tried to bring his right arm up, but even though Hoke was using the far hand, he still had enough distance between him and Shipley to easily throw his right arm over Shipley’s right arm and hook the back of Shipley’s pads with his right elbow. It’s the short arms.
15th play- Shipley has Hood stuffed. Dixon throws behind Nance on a crossing pattern, Incomplete.
Field goal unit comes on:
-Reed hits from 42, 48,35,46,44, and 56. (if there’s another kicker in camp, he didn’t get any reps)
In the pass rush/pass blocking drills.
-Spaeth holds blatantly on A. Harrison who had him beat.
-Bailey beats Speath with a swim move.
-Eason beats Kemoeatu with a rip move.
-Keisel beats Essex on a speed rush outside.
-Legursky stuffs Hoke.
-Essex stuffs A. Smith.
-Colon stuffs Davis.
-Hills does a nice job blocking Timmons. (It’s nice to finally say something positive about Hills)
-Shipley stuffs Paxson.
-Reffert shoves Urbik into the backfield.
-Hood blows by Parquet on a swim move.
-Capizzi stuffs A. Harrison.
-Foster blatantly holds Paxson.
-Hood shoves Urbik into the backfield. (They’re obviously just going to run bull rushes at Urbik until he stops them. They’re not even bothering with any side moves at this point.)
Hood blows by Hills on a speed rush outside.
Meanwhile, the skill guys go 7 on 7.
-Sweed beats Gay on a short out pattern.
-Mendenhall with a great, one handed catch out of the backfield.
-Baker has Ratliff beat deep, Ben overthrows him.
-Ben throws to Holmes on a deep crossing pattern, Burnett is sitting low in the zone, he skies and picks it off. Miller was wide open on the play.
-Ben hits Vincent in front of K. Lewis who tips the ball on the way in.
-Burnett has great coverage on McDonald. Batch throws it to him anyway, and McDonald makes a nice diving catch.
-Williams beats K. Lewis on a crossing route and Batch hits him.
-Batch hits Williams on a deep out and William makes a diving catch.
-Davis has his man covered, Batch goes over the middle to McDonald and Clark gives him a tap to let him know he would have been 'Welkered.'
-Gay has Williams smothered, so Batch checks down to McDonald on a short crossing pattern.
-Batch hits Mendenhall underneath.
Reily throws behind Grisham who was tightly covered by Timmons. (Reily looks like a first cut guy to me)
Reily tries for Grisham again, but Burnett has tight coverage and swats the ball down nicely. Burnett’s having a heck of a practice. I wonder of Deshea’s starting to feel the heat.
Play #1- Colon drives Woodley outside, Parker cuts through the hole for a nice gain.
Play #2- A. Smith beats Essex down the line and stuffs Parker for no gain.
Play #3- Ben rolls out to his right, everyone’s covered so he runs out of bounds for no gain, then he and Keisel run at each other, jump and side-slam.
Play #4- McDonald burns Deshea by 7 yards on a fly pattern, but Batch overthrows him by 5 yards.
Play #5-Davis with a nice block on the left side, Mendenhall cuts behind him for a nice gain. After the play, a couple of the big boys get into it. I can’t see their numbers because they’re instantly surrounded. Practice is getting chippy. I like it.
Play #6- McDonald has Madison burned deep on a down out and up, Batch overthrows him. Batch definitely looks rusty, but even though Dixon looks much more solid in his mechanics this year, Dixon’s not reading plays nearly as quickly as Batch is, so I doubt he’ll unseat Batch at this point.
Play #7- Hood blows by Parquet and has Summers stuffed in the backfield.
Play #8- Hood blows by Parquet again, McHugh comes over and tries to help but bounces off. Dixon has to check down to Redman, but Redman drops the ball.
Play #9- Shipley gets McLendon turned, and Redman cuts inside through the hole for a nice gain.
Play #10- Silverback beats Starks with the speed rush. R. Lewis has good coverage on Holmes, but Ben tries to force it in anyway. Incomplete.
Play #11- Legursky stuffs Big Snack. A. Smith beats Kemoeatu on a stunt but gets there too late. Wallace burns Burnett deep and Ben hits him in stride.
Play #12- Paxson beats Shipley and blows up Mendenhall in the backfield.