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Camp 2007: BigBlueShoe and the Offense 8/6/2007

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Keyunta Dawson and Ryan Lilja at Training Camp, 8/6/2007.
Let me first laud the outstanding reports submitted by MasterRWayne and jdb, who were also at camp with me. MasterRWayne focused on the field where most of the defensive drills were run while my focus, especially in the first hour of camp, was on the RBs and WRs.

Before I get into the report, I encourage any and all Colts fans who can attend camp to do so. It is a lot of fun. Players like Harrison, Wayne, Manning, and Freeney make plays right in front of you. Sometimes, especially in the case of Dallas Clark, they'll interact with you. While doing their opening stretches, it started to rain heavy. A fan next to me yelled to Dallas Clark, who was stretching ten feet from us, that this must remind him of the Super Bowl. Clark smiled and responded "You have no idea." It got a laugh from the crowd.

Cool stuff like that doesn't happen at games. Here's my Monday report:

Wide Receivers

  • I watched all the WR drills. You gain a big appreciation for guys like Wayne and Harrison by how they carry themselves and how they work. During drills, neither bobbled a ball, dropped a pass, or did anything half-assed. They were machines. Marvin made a great over the shoulder catch during position drills right in front of me. If not for the rain, I'd have had a great picture.
  • Anthony Gonzalez is the real deal, and he could start on teams like Philly, KC, and Denver. I mentioned that Harrison and Wayne never missed a beat in drills. Gonzo was the same way. He was explosive out of his breaks, and every catch was soft in the hands. He has tremendous quickness, body control, and speed. He made several nice grabs during the scrimmages. Guys like Meachum and Bowe better be all world, because Gonzo is one of the more impressive rookie WRs I've ever seen.
  • Guys like Aaron Brown and Craphonzo Thorpe have no chance to make the team. Both looked slow out of breaks, and both bobbled or dropped a few balls.
  • I can see why many fans find Roy Hall intriguing. First and foremost, he is a WR, not a friggin' TE. Any talk of moving him to TE is completely and utterly stupid. Many fans compare him to Marcus Pollard. No, he is not Pollard. He's too fast to be Pollard. Hall is a massive player with tremendous upper body strength. He didn't blow me away with his blocking, but his body control and speed are impressive. He has trouble getting low and digging balls out of the dirt (dropped both drill balls thrown to him) because he's so big. However, he seems good at absorbing hits and making plays high. In scrimmage, Manning made a nice throw to him over the middle and Hall made a nice catch.
  • Despite struggling with low balls in drills, Hall made a nice low grab in the second scrimmage. After making the catch, he was leveled by Dante Hughes (more on him later), and held onto the ball.
  • Between drills, Gonzo was always talking with Manning, asking questions.

Running Backs

  • Before camp officially began this morning, RBs coach Gene Huey was giving instruction to DeDe Dorsey and Clifton Dawson.
  • All the running backs, save Luke Lawton, have excellent hands. All made solid grabs sliding out from the backfield. Dorsey and Dawson, especially, showed speed after the catch
  • Dorsey is the #2 back in my book. He's got a nice burst into the line hole, and runs hard. He's very quick and shifty, much like Dom. And again, very good hands out of the backfield. I did not get a good chance to evaluate his blocking.
  • Luke Lawton looked horrible. He almost injured himself trying to catch a pass in drills. He bobbled and dropped some balls, and just looked sloppy. During a scrimmage, he nearly got his head taken off by Dante Hughes, who stuck him so hard it got a gasp from the crowd.
  • Didn't get a good look at Kenton Keith.
  • Several offensive packages had Dorsey and Addai on the field, with Addai sliding over into the slot receiver position.
  • In I formations, neither Darrell Reid not Dan Klecko were used as the FB. TE Gijon Robinson was the FB. His blocking looked solid.

Offensive Line and QBs

  • I paid less attention to these areas, but in general they looked good.
  • I know jdb is killing Ugoh in his diary entry. I watched him some and I saw him improve with each drill and scrimmage. Freeney was beating him often, but then again Freeney beats Seattle's Walter Jones often, and he's considered the best LT in football. Ugoh is big, athletic, and is improving in his technique. His footwork needs improving, but that is very coachable.
  • That Manning guy? He looked pretty good.
  • John Navarre stinks. He threw a pick to Dante Hughes in scrimmage. He's got a weak arm, and doesn't look comfortable.

Some final side notes from Monday 8/6 TC:

  • Dante Hughes was impressive. He had numerous bog hits and made two great coverage plays. One was the Navarre INT, and the other was a good pass breakup on a deep sideline route from Manning to Harrison. Hughes is good.
  • Freddie Keiaho is better than Cato June. It's so obvious it is almost funny. The guy collides with people and it makes a sound that hurts YOUR bones.
  • Quinn Pitcock did indeed practice. I couldn't judge his ability, but he did not noticeably limp or anything. He's a big kid but looks quick.
  • KaMichael Hall has a chance to make the team as a backup LBer. He made some nice hits during the scrimmages. One hit on Lawton forced a fumble. Again, Lawton was terrible today.

MasterRWayne and I plan to attend tomorrow's practice as well, focusing a bit more on Special Teams. In today's practices, TJ Rushing, Antonio Perkins, and Gonzo were all returning punts and kicks.

More news on camp tomorrow. For the time being, put the news about McFarland from your mind and focus on the positives. Injuries happen, and maybe like Dallas Clark last season (who also ruptured his patella last season, but returned), Booger might be back this year.

For an update on the afternoon Special Teams practice, read jdb's latest diary for all the info. Go Colts!