Brief Thoughts on South Practice Day 2


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When you think you got a highlighter and what you got was a light blocker…during a rainy week no less. It’s totally metaphorical for the South Practice as it is literal for the Senior Bowl event.

If you asked me this afternoon from the nosebleeds of Ladd Peeples Stadium about the Jacksonville-led practice on a miserable wintry afternoon, I’d tell you it’s time for RSP contributor Eric Stoner to end his on-again, off-again marriage to his team. The sentiment wasn’t an unusual reaction after watching a South practice filled with special teams segments and bare bones fundamentals that lasted the majority of the session.

There’s a part of me that wants to tell you that the South practices were a worthless waste of time to its observers who were trying to glean meaningful information from players’ performances on the field. I wasn’t the only observer with a dearth of notes, but there were relevant moments: pass protection drills; one-on-ones among receivers and defensive backs; 7-on-7s, and 11-on-11s.

It’s just that there weren’t enough of the worthwhile drills that are good matches for evaluation and the nature of the other drills arguably didn’t feature the players in challenging or realistic scenarios that were ripe for evaluation. If you ask me, a practice week that is geared so heavily on fundamental techniques is philosophically misguided in this setting. Basic skills are ingrained over time and the Jaguars aren’t instilling anything lasting with a few days of focus.

Drill the players on the game plan and supplement the practice with drills on the basics–not the other way around. Maybe the Jaguars believe that stressing fundamentals build a foundation for a scheme that is already basic by nature. Maybe they want to be super friendly to its players and not give media any worthwhile information to evaluate.

Maybe they’re the sunscreen handed out on a rainy day.

I’ve had scouts tell me that these games are most useful as an introduction to coaches before they delve into the tape. After all, the Senior Bowl wasn’t designed for the media and the scouts have been studying these guys for months. But is a coach really going to find much of this work useful?

We initially thought the sunscreen they were handing out this week were highlighters. It’s all becoming clear: getting sunblock when you’re expecting highlighters is metaphorical of the South practices on multiple levels this week.

As Kurt Vonnegut would have said, “So it goes.”

Here are my thoughts on Day 2 for the South roster–most of it could fit into a pen-sized container of swag-bag sunblock.

 Quarterbacks

The passers spent a segment maneuvering through long pads as a part of footwork drills for pocket management. Jeff Coker appeared deliberate and his footfalls were heavy. Jacoby Brissett was fluid, Brandon Allen had light feet, and Dak Prescott’s weren’t as plodding as Coker’s, but they were heavier than the other three.

All four were less proficient moving to their left than moving to their right. Shocking, I know.

Running Backs

DeAndre Washington exploited a tight crease with decisiveness and burst that made me want to watch film of him after practice. Expect more about him from me this week, maybe a film analysis if the practices continue to block the action as well as an SPF 50.

 

Wide Receivers

Jay Lee made a one-handed grab on streak thrown inside, leaping to snatch the ball away from defender in better position on the ball. Lee has flashed this skill on tape and he has also displayed a physical running style.

That’s it. Disappointed? So was I. No sense in manufacturing insights when you didn’t think there was a ton of worthwhile things to see. If this continues tomorrow, I’ll explain which of these drills and exercises didn’t offer worthwhile insights and why.

Continue checking for additional Senior Bowl coverage at the RSP blog’s Senior Bowl Central

 

Categories: 2016 NFL Draft, Matt Waldman, Players, Quarterback, Running BackTags: , , , ,

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