by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor JohnF
It’s a sunny, wonderful morning at SUNY Albany, hardly any wind and what should be a nice fast field. To my delight, it’s one of the fields on the University side (the one to my left), so we’ll have a clear view and a nice seat on the hill.
SUNY Albany Cares #1: Remember all those nice buses in previous years that would take you to the practice field from the Dutch Quad parking lot? Well, SUNY is proving it loves the planet, since they aren’t there any more…you get to walk, save gas, and get fit! Disregard all the grumbling about SUNY saving money on gas and bus rentals, this is ALL about the environment!
After the usual stretching, it’s on to Punt Block and return drills for the Defense. Yes, the usual suspects are back there to catch the ball, but this was more of trying to block the punt, or setting up for a punt return. If you’re curious, back there getting the ball from the machine were Hixon, Jennings, and R.W. McQuarters. They all looked ok.
One thing of note…when you’re this close, you get to hear the calls from the up back behind the line but in front of Feagles. In this case, it was either London or D.J. Hall. It was interesting hearing them change calls when the D moved around.
Horn sounds, and everyone moves back to the back fields (Western Ave). It was for the usual drills…it was so exciting that the camera guy on the tower sat down for a while.
Camp Note #1: All the really important stuff will be on film, so stay near the camera towers!
The QB’s and RB’s/TE’s were doing their usual pitch and catch stuff; way in the back, it looked like the Guards were practicing pulling. That was interesting, since the Giants have a couple of what looks like tables without the tops; the guards practice pulling thru those boxes, with the emphasis of keeping low. I also saw QB Coach Palmer’s “Throw the ball to a wall that has 3 holes and basketball nets” device being carted around.
The DB’s were closer, so I was watching them. They had that drill were the DB’s pedal back, then both cut right or left and try to catch a ball. If you want to drool over Philips any more, here’s something I saw…this guy has excellent technique catching the ball, he catches the ball with arms out and brings it in. He seemed very comfortable catching it, to me; no Shawn Williams/Will Allen hands of stone here, this guy is going to pick off a few, if this drill was any indication.
The LB’s were practicing cover drills, trying to deflect passes while covering (and not holding).
The Tackles were doing blocking drills. One guy would hold a square foam shield, while the guy blocking would try to knock the shield guy back.
In case you like cap fashion, there are Blue, Red, Green and Yellow caps the players wear over their helmets.
Here’s a breakdown of how the players looked (from the 7-7′s and 9-7 drills):
Jacobs: BJ is fine. Nobody wants to tackle this guy unless they have pads on.
Kay-Jay Harris: Good work, has a nice second gear. I like this guy, I hope we can keep him on the PS.
Hixon: Had a great practice, along with London. He made a huge catch across the middle diving for a pass with the defender all over him. Also had a nice 15 yd pass on a flag route in the end zone on a defensive breakdown. Eli really looks confident throwing to him. Made all the catches he should have made, and looks good on the first team.
Darcy Johnson, Boss, Matthews,Eric Butler: All looked good catching the ball. Boss and Eli look very comfortable; Matthews looks 100% better catching the ball in camp this year as opposed to last, including a VERY nice reach back on one of Eli’s few errant passes over the middle. Butler also made a very nice catch with arms extended of an Eli pass and took it up the sidelines
C. Thorpe: As I’ve been saying, this guy is no joke. He again looked fine today, caught everything near him, got off the line fine, and made a really nice catch on the sidelines using his body to shield Barnett (41). Very athletic, nice technique. He’s got good speed…if he can block, and play specials, he’ll be in the NFL somewhere.
Bradshaw: Bradshaw will be fine. He’s getting a lot of pass work, and doing well holding on to the ball. If he gets in space…look out!
London: Star of the practice. Real intensity getting off the line, sharp cuts, made all the catches he should have and almost some spectacular ones he shouldn’t have. Made a spectacular diving catch for a TD. He’s got that “look” about him now; I’ll bet he gets a ton of write-ups on this day’s performance.
Ward: Good running the ball, did well catching the ball, including a nice green zone catch for a TD.
Amani: Didn’t show any ill effects from yesterday. Had a great deep Slant pass catch and run where he turned the jets on and took it all the way. Made a diving TD catch flag route in the Green zone. Amani is fine.
D.J. Hall: Had a nice catch down the middle from Carr.
Eli: Threw a couple away when he saw double coverage. For the most part, he’s throwing very well. Putting the ball in the right place (with a couple of exceptions) where the WR can do damage. More natural than I’ve seen him in previous camps.
Wright: Did ok, bird dogs too much, he needs to look off the D. He made it harder than necessary for his WR’s.
Carr: Very rusty; was bird dogging worst than Wright (we could point out exactly who he was throwing once he got the ball). Did handle a lot of bad snaps well. He’s smaller than I thought…smaller physically than the other guys. Has real problems when the pocket shrinks, he’s still bailing out too fast.
Woodson: Had some overthrows, but overall had a good practice. Really has nice ball skills, he follows through on his fakes, might have the best skills in that area of all the QB’s.
Moss: Well, I left this for last. Time to rant again. He had some nice catches later in practice…but had a horrible start. Ran a lazy, LOUSY curl pattern for his first route, which nearly got the ball picked off. Then, on a reverse, tried a triple move to juke the defender on a sweep, and fell down after the juke. Did have a nice catch later on a snakeburner from Eli.
Somebody needs to get to this guy’s head. Right now, he couldn’t make the Philadelphia Soul with this garbage. Triple Juke? For a third year player? Let’s look at Bradshaw, who is also short. Bradshaw throws one juke at you, and then blasts past you. He knows that when you do this double/triple juke nonsense YOUR FEET STOP MOVING FORWARD!!!! Apparently, Moss can’t grasp this concept, even though he has great forward speed (I’ve seen it). He should know how hard it is to tackle him when he’s moving; not moving forward does NOT work in the NFL!!!!
In Arena League, this player is called a 50/50…50% of the time he’s an all star, 50 % of the time he’s invisible. The competition is WAY too good in this camp. He’d better be spectacular in the next few weeks or in the pre-season games, because right now, I don’t see any reason to keep him.
Anyway, here’s hoping the next practice is rain free (we’re expecting rain late tonight!