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Rookie Ducasse still with starting group

This is the second week of OTA practices and, according to spies, rookie LG Vladimir Ducasse (second-round pick) still is working with the first unit, ahead of Matt Slauson.

What does it mean? It doesn't mean Ducasse has jumped ahead of Slauson in the competition for Alan Faneca's old job. This is strictly an evaluation period. The coaches want to give Ducasse as many reps as possible to see how well he can digest the playbook. This is Slauson's second year in the system, so he should have the advantage. This is catch-up time for Ducasse, so by the time training camp comes around, the playing field can be relatively even -- or close to it.

Ducasse, coming from a lower-level Division I school (UMass), has a long way to go. He appears to have the physical talent, but no one around the team is willing to anoint a rookie lineman who still hasn't blocked anybody in pads. The OTAs are non-contact and evaluating an offensive lineman in non-contact drills is like rating a major-league hitter off batting practice.

The media will get another look at practice on Thursday, our first look-see since last Thursday.