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Tuesday, September 8: Yesterday's Practice

Posted by Matt Terl on September 8, 2009 – 9:15 am


A few quick notes from yesterday’s afternoon practice in shorts and shells:

• The strangest part of this first practice of the 2009 regular season was seeing Colt Brennan in sweats on the sideline while newly-signed Andre’ Woodson — standing tall and wearing number 2 — works out with the quarterbacks. Here’s Coach Zorn from the post-practice press conference above, talking about some of the reasons that Woodson is here: “We like his size, and I think he has a good presence. He has escape ability, which I saw as I watched him. It is necessary for this offense. I was impressed with his deep ball. We just have to work on some intermediate things and we will be all right.”

This is all true as far as it goes, but the commenter on this blog yesterday who mentioned Woodson’s long wind-up definitely has a point. It’s not present on every throw, but there were at least two or three in yesterday’s practice where the motion leading into the throw seemed to be a carefully orchestrated production. Coach Zorn tends to be pretty particular about QB mechanics, so I would expect to see that cleaned up sooner than not.

• One unquestionably good thing about practice: all of the previously injured players — Carlos Rogers and Albert Haynesworth, most notably — were back on the field and practicing, and Rogers even joined the team for the post-practice run. “I wanted to pull some of those guys out who have been working their way back,” Zorn said afterward. “[Rogers] wanted to run them all and he just cruised. Everybody ran and participated.”

• Not nearly as strange as the group of quarterbacks, but still a definite change from the preceding six weeks, was seeing only three specialists together on the far field. It’s been Ethan Albright, Hunter Smith, Shaun Suisham, and Dave Rayner for so long that it seemed weird not having Rayner there. Rayner was a funny, good guy, and I wish him the best.

• Malcolm Kelly 2009 was pretty critical of Malcolm Kelly 2008 during open locker room yesterday. “Last year,” he said, “getting ready to go into Week 1, I knew I wasn’t going to play, so my mind wasn’t really in it. I was just looking at film from the second meeting with the Giants last year, and I didn’t even look like myself because I was worried about my knee.”

I don’t know enough about Kelly 2009 to know if this what looking “like himself” looks like, but he still looks as strong as he has throughout the preseason, keeps catching balls away from his body with his hands, keeps running routes with that long stride, and keeps staying after practice — alongside Marko Mitchell — to work with Jason Campbell and Todd Collins. Kelly is the offensive player I most often found myself being impressed with this preseason, and he’s certainly working hard to keep that going into the regular season.

Still, though, I can’t help but wince every time he gets hit. I really hope that goes away eventually.

• And the team voted on this year’s captains. The group remains the same as in 2008 — Campbell and Chris Samuels for offense, London Fletcher and Cornelius Griffin for the defense, and Rock Cartwright for special teams — with Mike Sellers replacing the departed Khary Campbell for the last special teams slot.

“I think it’s outstanding,” Zorn said after practice. “Mike Sellers was a little foreign to leading the stretching” — one of the duties of a team captain — “but other than that I think he’ll be okay. I think he earned a lot of respect this past year with his performance. He wasn’t around because he had his deal in the offseason, but during training camp he worked hard. He was really vocal and showed his leadership. I think our players took that to heart and elected him captain.”

That’s one good thing. The other is that this switch may actually be enough to achieve the unlikely goal of making this year’s Captain’s Photo look even more menacing than 2008’s.

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