by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Marty in Albany
Now Y’all Can Write About My Speed
TE Martellus Bennett caught the ball and came racing toward the sideline and us. At the last moment he made a pivot and turned up field. Most of us exhaled a sigh of relief. On his way back to the huddle, he said to the assembled press, “Now y’all can write about my speed.” Hey, when a six foot six guy tells you to do something, you do it.
Martellus is big, fast, and can catch. My only question is whether his ego will help or hinder him. Most players don’t play to the press. If all he wants to do is prove that people underestimated him in the past, that’s fine. But, if he puts his own success ahead of the team’s success, then that could be a problem.
It was a fine day and the team was in full pads. The defensive backs were doing a drill where two backs would run to hit two tackling dummies. Regardless of the point of the drill, it was significant to me that most of the defense was watching the drill and it turned into a series of two man races to see which could hit his dummy first. The fact that you had the rest of the d-backs cheering them on shows the spirit of this defense.
There were punting drills and WR Jerrel Jernigan made a terrific twisting runback in traffic that drew loud cheers from the fans. He caught the ball with his palms facing up, as did the rest of the returners. P Steve Weatherford was only having a so-so day because of the brisk cross-wind on the field.
In a scary moment, DT Dwayne Hendricks went down and lay motionless on the grass for what seemed like a minute. He was helped off the field. After a while, I saw him walking unaided on the far sidelines. I did not see him limping. Let’s hope the injury is not serious.
LB Michael Boley is back, but LB Jacquian Williams is not.
Both WRs Victor Cruz and Domenik Hixon had a good day catching passes from QB Eli Manning in the 11 on 11 drills. (Strangely, there were no 7 on 7 drills today.) Cruz had the more spectacular catches. On many of them he leaped to pluck the ball out of the air. He also had a fine sideline catch where he was able to stay in bounds. This catch was blocked from my view, so I am only repeating what I heard.
Unlike prior years, the running backs are catching all the balls thrown their way. Ahmad Bradshaw had three or four and the other backs had at least one or two. FB Henry Hynoski continues to look good catching the ball. He only had one catch, but he made it look easy. He also put on a decent burst of speed. I have nothing but good things to say about this guy.
Some of the younger receivers had a chance to shine today. Isaiah Stanback out-fought CB Justin Tryon for a ball thrown by QB David Carr. David Douglas made a leaping catch over CB Antwaun Molden (I think), of a QB Ryan Perrilloux pass. Perrilloux then threw the ball to Julian Talley. Talley caught it and then slipped and fell on the moist turf (as did Cruz and others) . However, Talley was so open that he got up untouched and continued to run with the ball. It was a smart play by a rookie to use the NFL rules rather than the college rules.
In a red zone drill WR David Douglas stayed in bounds to make a super tiptoe TD catch of a QB Ryan Perrilloux pass.
All this is not to say that the offense had its way with the defense. On a David Carr pass to WR Brandon Collins, Collins made a superb tumbling catch. However the ball was thrown well out of bounds. Credit the defense on that.
There were many plays were the QBs would have been sacked had it been a real game. LB Mathias Kiwanuka got into the backfield as did DE Adrian Tracy to stop a run by David Wilson. LB Greg Jones had several good stops of running backs. RBs Ahmad Bradshaw, Da’Rel Scott, David Wilson, and Andre Brown, all got stopped a goodly number of times when the offense attempted to run the ball.