Let me start this by pointing out the fact that Hal has been killing the professionals when it comes to training camp practice reports. His stuff is easily better than we've gotten from local or national media on the other side of the fence. It's almost like he knows the roster, football fundamentals and pays attention the whole time (go watch a camp practice and take note of the media schmoozing... then you'll see what I mean).
I've had the last few days off work, so the soon-to-be Mrs. West and I decided to check out Tuesday's open practice session. This was my first full session this year after last week's evening practice was a bust. I was looking for Hal out there, but we must have just missed each other. I'm guessing got there on time, which means he got a better spot than mine (which was perched behind Hope Hines, at whom I was tempted to mumble insults under my breath).
Now, just to clarify, these aren't judgements made from long trends nurtured over extended evaluation throughout this camp. They're a compilation of what I already know about these guys and what I saw on this particular day.
Here are the things that stood out to me:
• Lets get this one out of the way: Vince Young looked bad. Epicly bad. He botched an option pitch, that's how bad he looked. I didn't see him even attempt a pass beyond 15 yards, and he didn't complete many that were more than 5 yards away. He looked unsure of the offense and didn't go through his progressions across the field. I never saw him scan from right to left, and I never saw him look off a DB. On at least two occasions he committed the most boneheaded thing bad QBs do: he pump faked at a receiver who was open (or at least open enough), didn't look away, then threw at the same receiver after the coverage had gotten into position. This resulted in multiple INTs. His footwork looked better than I'd seen it so far, but it still lacks consistency. He was also holding the ball for a few ticks too long.
All in all, Vince can't expect to start anytime soon with performances like that.
Follow me through the jump to find out which QB looked worse than Young yesterday...
• Vince's poor performance was one-upped by that of Patrick Ramsey. Ramsey was off the mark all day in a performance that certainly didn't inspire any confidence. The lesson I took away? Kerry better stay healthy.
• Kerry Collins looked good leading the first team offense all day. He sprayed passes all over the field with excellent zip and accuracy, and had completions to pretty much every available receiver as practice moved on. He also looked in even better shape than last year. You could tell pretty quickly that the team responds to his leadership in the two minute drill.
• During the sprints at the end of practice, LenDale made it a point to finish first when the RB group had to go. None of the backs were going 100%, so I appreciated the effort from Smash.
• The WRs were miles ahead of the atrocious display we had to watch last year. Nate Washington made some great moves after the catch, and he's definitely as quick as he is fast. Kenny Britt is bigger than I expected, caught the ball with his hands like a natural (this is much less common in rookies than most people think) and he got off the jam with ease thanks to good technique and tremendous arm strength.
• If Jared Cook can block a LB or DE for three seconds more often than not, there's no way they can keep him off the field. After being leery at first of trading a second round pick for him, I now fully endorse that move.
• The outrageous depth on the defensive line made the second team offensive line look rough at times. They did a nice job giving VY a pocket to step into, but you could quickly tell which unit was deeper when the ball wasn't in the air after four seconds. Still, for these mostly reserve O-lineman to mostly hold their own against D-lineman who will see heavy playing time was a good sign to me.
• HOF Game hero A.J. Trapasso punted during the special teams portion of practice. He showed some solid leg strength and very good hang time. He's absolutely a solid back-up plan should Craig Hentrich's back problems worsen, but he isn't beating out Craig anytime soon.
• Chris Henry is a cut man walking. He dropped a few catchable passes, missed holes and ran away from space on multiple occasions. Put it this way: the first thing I saw after I got settled in was RB coach Ernest Byner making Henry do push-ups as punishment.
• Boom King looks pissed and healthy. That makes me very, very happy.
• Stanford Keglar might end up being the steal from last year's draft. He has popped up consistently with impressive plays in various practice reports and he had some nice ones yesterday. The things he brings that I like the most are that he closes quickly, has great size and plays the pass just as sharply as he does the run. He cut his teeth on special teams last year (which is a biggie with this coaching staff) and could unseat Tulloch as the primary back-up on the weak side should KB go down.
• I felt a little better about the CB depth after watching solid, if unspectacular, play from Mouton, Faggins and Cary Williams. All I needed to see was that they had the speed and didn't look totally lost out there.