My thoughts from Friday’s practices:
This afternoon was a good start for Bennett in several areas.
First off, he managed to make it through the entire practice without appearing to sustain any further problems to his injured ankle.
Second, once he got working in the 7-on-7 portion of practice, he had gained confidence that he could run his routes, square to the quarterback and catch the ball. The first three catches Bennett had in this period were inside routes where he had to work off the line, push up the field then look for the football.
Finally, he was able to line up along the line of scrimmage as a normal blocking tight end, fire off on the snap, get into the man and wall him from the play. If Bennett was going to have a problem, it was going to be here where he needed to push off to get into to his block but also keep his feet moving to sustain the block. If he lacked strength at all in the ankle, it would show in ability to block because of the pressure he would put on the ankle.
There is no doubt in my mind that Bennett understands what Phillips has done this first week, so it’s nice to finally see him have the opportunity to compete as well.
*In the weeks leading up to this camp, the play of Leonard Davis in 2009 was much written and talked about by media members, including myself. My view of Davis was very critical.
Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas wrote a nice piece that Davis even agreed that he didn’t play his best his 2009. I have now gained a whole new respect for Davis in his ability to evaluate himself and try to make adjustments to become a better player, because some players have a difficult time doing that.
The afternoon practice was another solid day for Davis in a couple of different areas. First off in the one-on-one pass rush drills, Davis gets two shots at blocking Jay Ratliff. The trouble that Davis usually has is when he tries to extend his block is that his feet stop and the defender gets by him. Davis has done a much better job of working his feet, keeping them active to extend the block.
Another area in which Davis struggled is when he has to block in space. In 9-on-7, Davis had to make a long pull to his left and was able to kick the linebacker out so Marion Barber could run behind the block, which was a nice execution of the technique.
Davis has always been a powerful man, which has been his calling card, but sustaining his blocks in 2010 will be the key.
*Have to admit there have been times where it has been difficult to watch the second and third offensive lines practice this week, but a player who caught my eye today was rookie offensive tackle Sam Young.
I really first noticed Young during the OTAs, and he surprised me with a little power he displayed in one-on-one pass rush drills. It’s been difficult for any tackle or tight end to go up against Anthony Spencer, but Young was able to slow down Spencer with a nice set and punch, then handle his movement toward the quarterback. The second time he went against Spencer he had another positive rep, not allowing Spencer to beat him cleanly. All these types of reps Young can take and build on.
In the running game, the staff would like him to come off the line better, but that will come as he builds confidence in what he is doing.