Tuesday Afternoon Practice Roundup

Blair Walsh drills a series of extra points in drills (Credit: Arif Hasan/DAILYNORSEMAN)

Quite a bit late, and the media roundup may be another 2 hours yet. A number of emergencies to deal with on my end, but everything's OK and taken care of.

We had another eventful day at camp, including another set of consistency problems from our beknighted quarterback of the future. No worries, though—Frazier and most of the media are of one opinion: "That's why we hold training camp."

These notes are a bit more disparate and less organized, but still full of bits of information about our favorite team.

Percy and Sherels were the best kickoff returners by far, Wright was again unimpressive (this time in live drills). Kerry Taylor looked good initially, but faded as live practices continued.

No changes in defensive lineup, but I did notice that Letroy Guion has improved footwork when rushing. Good leverage.

Everson Griffen stood out in a number of ways. Won every one of the pass rushing drills, against D'Imperio, Ellison, etc. Actually got the sack every time. Beast in the drills. Against the dummies, was a model for the other linebackers. Hit low and hard. Singletary loved it and him. Singletary, incidentally, is probably a great position coach. I'll talk about his coaching style in a bit.

Griffen did a great job stuffing a run in 11 on 11s, then grabbed a touch sack, and then dropped into coverage, where he allowed a touchdown. He looked extremely poor in press coverage drills as well. Poor pass rushers included Marvin Mitchell and Larry Dean. D'Imperio stood out as a particularly poor pass blocker.

Audie Cole did not impress in dummy drills, and Tyler Nielsen had a lot of work to do as well. Erin Henderson also looked great.

Erin Henderson was the only linebacker who did well in press coverage. The safeties and cornerbacks generally did well, with Jamarca Sanford standing out in particular. Felder did well here as well. Particularly worrisome were Audie Cole and Tyrone McKenzie.

Todman did well in pass blocking and avoided having to block Griffen, unlike Lex Hilliard, who got destroyed.

Tight ends Mickey Shuler, John Carlson and Rhett Ellison did well against press coverage in drills, each beating their respective men several times. Jerome Felton also did well here. Allen Reisner did not do well.

Ponder did well in 7-on-7s, but it didn't translate well when the situational and move the chains drills started. It may have been his owrst showing, and he ended up 3 for 8. Joe Webb was 3 for 6 with an interception by Tyrone McKenzie (and incredible effort), who made up for how he did during drills. Sage Rosenfels was 10 for 14, and was the only quarterback who led his team to any points, and he did it twice. McLeod Bethel-Thompson was 0 for 3.

Conversely, the first team defense was fantastic. They shut down Gerhart in goal line and nonsituational drills. Excellent play by Jasper Brinkley and Erin Henderson alike.

In one on one drills, some players shined. Winfield blanketed Harvin in one on one drills, while today's surprise standout Bobby Felder grabbed an interception from Ponder while covering Kerry Taylor. Not only that, he looked good on the third defensive team, being the only player in third team defensive drills who didn't make major mistakes. Felder also had great punt return work in gunner drills and in general. Very hard to tackle.

Good notes from Eric:

  • Footwork seems to be a very important focus in training camp for just about every position. There has been tons of time spent on footwork by almost every unit on the team.
  • More proof that Jerome Simpson is enjoying himself in Mankato: after taking a lap around the practice field, he finished with a flashy somersault and an Olympic-like dismount directly in front of the fans.
  • It was the same kick returners as the morning session: Wright, Harvin, Burton, and Sherels. Wright and Harvin still seemed to be the main guys.
  • Blair Walsh started practice out with the Jugs machine handling kickoff duties for him. But when he finally did kickoffs, it was pretty amazing. He booted a handful through the uprights and wowed a lot of spectators.
  • Josh Robinson did more work on the side, but he doesn't seem to be moving too great yet. It doesn't look like he'll be back in the fold any time soon.
  • Arif and I have discussed this before, but we noticed how coaches sneak a little conditioning in during practice by making units run from one side of the field to the other or one practice field to the other. There haven't been any drills just for conditioning, which is probably a change from years ago. These days, the coaches trust the players to get enough training in on their own time and just worry about execution during practice.
  • Schuler, Reisner, and Ellison were all impressive in the tight end drive blocking drills. Ellison did get told to keep his head up more at the point of impact.
  • Gerhart, Felton, Asiata, and Coleman all impressed with the sled "punch" block drills. Hilliard looked good in 11-on-11s but struggled with his timing on a couple of the RB drills.
  • Todman really seems to be a jack of all trades. He has fit in well with the special teams and offense. I'm not sure it'll translate into a spot on the team with the other running backs on the roster, but he's been a pleasant surprise of camp.
  • DeMarcus Love looked really bummed out not to be participating. He had a completely dejected look on his face while his teammates were running offensive line drills.
  • Fun and/or kind of creepy story you only get at training camp: Jared Allen had to run to the port-o-john during practice. By the time he had finished his business, no less than five fans had gathered around the freaking porta potty with cameras ready.
  • Harrison Smith and Mickey Shuler got tangled up during 11-on-11s, the closest I've seen to a scuffle during training camp so far.
  • Christian Ballard had a nice batted pass on Webb--he seems very technically sound, but he might be a better fit at DE than at DT.
  • Bobby Felder (defense) and Kamar Jorden (offense) made circus catches on long passing drills. The crowd ate it up.
  • Consistency has been a bit of an issue for Ponder. He tends to mix in a few McNabb-like stinkers between some pretty incredible seam throws.
  • Asiata is an absolute bruiser. He looked very physical both running and blocking today.

More quick hits from one on ones:

  • Harrison Smith smothered AJ Love. Looks good. I expect to see him on the first team soon.
  • Jerome Simpson adjusts poorly to to a poorly thrown ball by Ponder. Good on Cook for forcing a bad angle
  • Chris Carr nearly loses coverage on Jarius Wright, but gets his head back in time to pop the ball out of Wright's hands
  • Allen Reisner is a good looking blocker
  • Derrick Coleman turns the corner well
  • Jordan Todman was all over the place, in a good way

From sevens:

  • Jerome Felton dropped an easy pass
  • Kamar Jordan looked great here and looked even better in elevens. Had no issues adjusting to the ball
  • Emmanuel Arceneaux had Audie Cole's number
  • Excellent deep ball to Harvin to split the safeties

From elevens:

  • Fred Evans got a good deflection at the line of Joe Webb's pass
  • Greenway had an excellent pass deflection to prevent a back corner fade in the endzone to Kyle Rudolph from Ponder
  • Lex Hilliard was the only back to beat any of the goal line defenses
  • Mistral Raymond tipped a pass for Harrison Smith to intercept it from a pass by Webb. Ticky-tacky PI call.
  • Childs toyed with Corey Gatewood

Random other observations:

  • Gatewood did poorly in interception drills as well, reflecting a poor performance in sevens.
  • I'm starting to like Tyrone McKenzie
  • Singletary is a very demonstrative coach. Loud, friendly and encouraging. If he has to explain something more than once, he'll demonstrate. Incidentally, he still packs a punch. Really into engendering cooperation.
  • If you mess up Pagac will swear at you, and then compare your performance to various women in his life, including his daughter or grandmother. Both styles have their arguments.
  • Greenway is extremely chatty, making sure to get clarification on what coaches want and coaching teammates effectively. Allen is the same way.

Biggest name of the day was Bobby Felder.

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