A lot of this morning's information (including roster moves, injury updates, and reaction to Jim Irsay's tweet yesterday) was included in this morning's update, but we've still got some stuff we'll include in the intro to today's notes. It was an interesting day at Anderson University to say the least, as we were very interested to see how the team responded to their ugly loss on Sunday.
The answer? Business as usual.
My reaction? No surprise whatsoever.
There wasn't any hiding the fact that the team stunk on Sunday, with Luck saying that "we definitely could have performed better" and that they need to get better, and the way to do that is to practice. He said that they should improve and that will come with being faster and more confident.
Chuck Pagano's emphasis today was that the team was "disappointed but not discouraged" by Sunday's loss and said that he absolutely expects a bounce back performance this Sunday against the Giants, as does everybody else on the team. Pagano said that "top to bottom we were all disappointed" and that "we expect to go out and perform." He stressed the fact that "there is no need to panic" and said that they will keep improving on the good things and identify the flaws and work on them. He told the players to talk with their position coach and get a plan on how to improved individually, and then to do that.
The team should look much better on Sunday, like Pagano expects, simply because the starters will play longer. Pagano said today that "our starters will play more this week. He also stated that the starters have to play more this week to continue to work on playing together and continue to get better. The more that they play, the more that we will see the points of emphasis.
Three guys in particular that Pagano raved about were Delano Howell, Allen Chapman, and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. He was asked about Howell, as the safety played 89 snaps on Sunday, and Pagano said with a smile that "he's in excellent shape. Marathon man." He added that Howell took full advantage of an opportunity when he had it and that "he made a statement." He said that it was a great start towards Howell making himself necessary.
Pagano wasn't asked about Allen Chapman but threw his name out there anyway as a guy that really impressed on Sunday and the coach said he stood out as well, also taking full advantage of an opportunity.
Someone asked about T.Y. Hilton's tendency to make big plays and whether Pagano expects it from him and he answered that "everybody does." He said that with the way that Hilton prepares, "it's no surprise to us."
So yeah, other than the fact that today was the first day back after an ugly loss, the team had to deal with their owner tweeting something ill-advised, two players being signed and two others being waived-injured, and two guys coming off of the PUP, there's not much to report.
Because, after all, it's business as usual here in Anderson, Indiana.
Here are some notes and observations from this afternoon's practice:
- Even though it was business as usual in regards to how practice was run, it was not business as usual when it came to the actual play on the field. Well, at least let's hope not. There were A TON of drops today. Here are just the ones that I wrote down, which I don't think was all of them: Delone Carter, Jeremy Kelley, Lanear Sampson, Jabin Sambrano, Justice Cunningham, Darrius Heyward-Bey (4), Reggie Wayne, Dominique Jones. I kid you not. And those are just the ones that I wrote down. It was bad. Really, really, really, really, really bad. So bad that even after practice when some receivers were just running routes and the quarterbacks getting a little extra throwing in, we saw a few drops too. Wow.
- Speaking of DHB, I think it might actually stand for "Doesn't Hang-onto Balls." Geez, he was terrible today. On one, he heard footsteps - but they're in freaking shells. He's not going to get hit! On another, Luck threw a really nice comeback route that hit him in the hands. And perhaps the worst one of the day and the last one of the day, Luck aired it out deep downfield to DHB, running into the end zone. He comes back, getting in front of 3 guys getting ready to catch the hail mary touchdown... and it went right through his hands. Ugh.
- Since we're on the topic of drops, how about a guy who really impressed me with his hands today - Ahmad Bradshaw. At this morning's walkthrough he was working at the jugs machine and was catching everything, just walking continually towards the machine. At the end, he was literally about 2-3 yards away it looked like and still was catching it all. Very impressive.
- Other than drops, which ruled the day, there actually was other stuff going on today as well, believe it or not. One of them was that Daniel Adongo was participating in practice for the first time this camp. He came out, got help adjusting his helmet, got help with his gloves, and then was on the punt rush scout team. He did very well at running right into a blocker. Hey, it's a start, right?
- Matt Hasselbeck had a really good day of practice today. He made some really nice throws in individual drills and then led his second team offense to two straight touchdown drives against the first team defense, just picking them apart. The play of the day came via a Hasselbeck throw to T.Y. Hilton on a throw that was absolutely perfect. He threw it to T.Y. on a wheel route deep along the left sideline and it was a beauty. It beat Vontae Davis and Delano Howell and just dropped perfectly into Hilton's hands.
- Griff Whalen, who has a groin injury, was holding for a Brandon McManus kick today. Now I'm not sure, but I wouldn't think that's good on an injured groin. Just me. But hey, what can't the Griffer do?
- The best drill in camp seems to be the pass rush drill, where a defensive lineman goes up against an offensive lineman. Here are some observations from that today: Robert Mathis blew right by Anthony Castonzo. Anthony Castonzo did really well against Bjoern Werner. Caesar Rayford may be too tall to be an effective rusher - his stance is awkward and he's just so stiff coming up. Ben Ijalana handled him pretty well today.
- Bjoern Werner, honestly, hasn't done a whole lot to impress me this camp. He just hasn't shown me a lot in terms of pass rush. I know he's still learning, so I'm not sounding the alarm bell yet by any means, but he hasn't had the best camp.
- Coby Fleener missed practice today with a concussion. The team is going through the protocol with him.
- Dwayne Allen was spotted today! He has a boot on his right foot and is on crutches. The thing is, multiple times it looked like he started to walk, remembered the crutches, and then began using them. I still don't know what to make of his injury and still don't know whether to expect him back week one, but we did see him today.
- Because of the injuries to Fleener and Allen, Justice Cunningham and Dominique Jones saw some really good playing time today at tight end. Hopefully that will really help both of them.