Today's Practice (April 2)

Just got back from having a late lunch in Oakland with my buddy - we were both at Laney earlier to watch practice.  Here are some of my observations (PLEASE NOTE that this is just one fan's perspective):

We got there around 1030, and the team was stretching/loosening up.  Drills started around 1050 or so - these were broken up by different position groups, offense on one 1/2 of the field, defense on the other 1/2.  They would rotate/switch drills, every 6 minutes or so - there was a timer set for 6:00, and a horn would sound when it hit 0:00, and then the coaches would have the guys doing a different drill/activity.

They also did several 7-on-7 & 11-on-11 segments, I think starting around noon (I wasn't paying too close attention to time).  They ran a few special teams drills (punt coverage & returns) later on in practice.  Practice ended with field goals (more details below).  Some notes by position group, based off memory:

QB - Mansion started off with the 1's, and it looked like he and Bridgford got the bulk of the 1st team reps.  From what I could tell, Maynard & Sweeney mostly worked with the 2's, and Hinder & Wertenberger mainly with the 3's.  There was alot of mixing & matching going on though, and all 6 QBs got at least a couple reps with the 1st team.  Both JT & Arroyo were in there coaching up the QBs, and JT had a playcard with him during 11-on-11's.

IMHO, Bridgford looked the best out there - his throws looked sharp & accurate, and had good zip.   His balls seemed to hit guys in the hands/numbers most of the time - including this one throw over the middle to KA21, where you could hear a loud "pop" as the ball hit his hands.  Mansion also looked pretty good though - he has the strongest arm out of the group, but he missed high or short on a few throws.  Maynard seemed to have a live arm (good zip on the short routes) and is really mobile - he looked really smooth on rollouts and also saw him take off and run a couple times.  Hinder has nice touch on his throws, which was noticeable when the QBs were doing the sideline fade drill.  But as KCal9 said in earlier posts, hes probably at least a year away (needs to gain more weight).  Sweeney unfortunately seemed to have a rough day - several misses, also tucked & ran too soon on a couple plays instead of going to a secondary receiver. [EDIT KCal9 is a poster on BI, and I think here too, who has closer access to the program & has posted workout recaps/reports before]

RB - Sofele seemed to take most of the 1st team reps, with Briggs & Deboskie going in with the 2's alot but also getting a few 1st team reps too.  Confirming what KCal9 said earlier posts - CDJ looks HUGE, and Briggs looks pretty big too.  I didn't see any long runs (20+ yards) but it could just be that the run game/blocking schemes are still a work in progress - especially considering this was only Day 3.  Have faith in Coach G (and Coach M) though, he was right there coaching up his guys all practice long.

Also, as posted in another thread, Darren Ervin went out early with what looked like an ankle injury - he was on crutches for at least the 2nd half of practice.  Mike Manuel was in there also, mostly with the 2's & 3's.  We also spotted a #28 who made 2 nice grabs along the sideline on wheel routes, but not sure if that's Tyler York (I read somewhere that he was a medical retirement)?  I think my buddy spotted CJ Anderson in "civilian clothes" (black sweats & hoodie) watching on the sideline.  Yarnway was on the sideline too, but doing conditioning work with a knee brace.  I know he's recovering from an ACL, but that dude is YOKED.

WR/TE - Allen & Jones are the clear starters here, and both looked good - nice hands & routes.  Keenan looks as smooth & fluid as ever, and Marv had several nice grabs, including one along the sideline that he caught while falling down (ball was low & away).  You can tell they've been doing work in the weight room - KA looks more "cut" and MJ looks bigger & stronger.  Clay & Carter both looked really fast - Clay had a nice catch along the sideline, and another one where he could have gone for 6 if he'd broken one tackle.  Edmond had a nice 1-arm grab on a ball that was thrown behind him.  Calvin had a few catches also, but I don't remember any plays that really stood out.

Miller is the starter here, with Ladner backing him up.  No big plays of note, but it was good to see Wark back out there in action (he looks recovered from the broken foot he had in the fall).  Miller seems a bit slimmer than last year, and Ladner is pretty tall/imposing.  Sparks was on the sideline with a knee brace, doing conditioning work with Yarnway - I believe he's got an ACL too.  I saw Hagan working with the TEs part of the time - looks like he's there because of injuries/lack of depth.

OL - I don't know enough about OL technique to really comment much, but like the RBs, the OL looks like a work in progress.  Coach M was very active coaching his guys up, and there was a LOT of mixing & matching going on.  I saw several OL with yellow "no-contact" jerseys on (Schwartz/Galas/MSG?) - they only did drills, none of the 11-on-11's.  Matt Williams was out there at tackle, so that was good to see.  Gibson is ginormous, future road-grader RG hopefully?

DL - Lots of rotating/mixing here also.  Gabe King was a beast today - he blew up a couple plays in the backfield, and also got involved in a scrum when an OL held his jersey and pulled his helmet off - great to see him in action.  I wouldn't be surprised if he starts at Cam Jordan's old spot in the fall.  Coleman, Payne, Owusu all got time with the 1s at some point, but I didn't see Tipoti or Kaufusi out there (could be wrong though).

LBs - Kendricks & Holt ran with the 1s mostly, but the other guys all rotated in/out with the 2s & 3s.  I definitely noticed McCain & Whiteside though - McCain is a legit 6-6 and had a "sack" in one of the 11-on-11 segments, and Whiteside looked fast & active.  The LBs delivered some solid & very audible hits, including a sack/strip by (Whiteside?).

DBs - At CB, Anthony & Williams were with the 1s, but Lee & Samuels got a lot of work too.  Dash Oliver I believe had a pick (off Sweeney?) but I could be mis-remembering.  Cattouse & Campbell started at S, while Logan & Coley rotated in a lot.  Avery Walls was flying around - really active, looks like a guy we'd want playing in the fall.  It was also good to see Ambrose out there coaching up his guys - he's pretty vocal, just like his counterpart(s) on offense (Kiesau & Arroyo).

ST/Ks - Allen, Jones, Clay all returned punts.  Jed Barnett has a BIG leg - he boomed some Anger-ish punts.  I didn't see Anger out there though, maybe he had a prior commitment or injury, I have no idea.  D'Amato was working as the "backup" punter and kicker.  Tavecchio made all his FGs at the end of practice, while the team huddled around him, so I think they didn't have to run gassers afterwards - they were all hooting & hollering after each make.

Practice ended a little after 1 (following the FG drill).  Overall, things were pretty upbeat and lively - tempo was really crisp, especially compared to last year's spring scrimmage.  As things were wrapping up, I talked to my friend who's an equipment manager, and he attributes that to the new coaches (both Mihalczik & Kiesau, as well as the real "new guys" Blasquez, Ambrose, Arroyo).  He says they are much more vocal than the coaches last year, and are making an impact - and I see no reason to disagree.

JT was really involved, on both sides of the ball, but mostly offense (CP had defense covered), and the players in general looked energetic and real competitive out there.  I know it's still early, but it was good to see, and I remain cautiously optimistic for the upcoming season.  Anyhow, that's all, and hope that was helpful.

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