Brandon Marshall, Patrick Cobbs, and Will Allen get the day off
Some fans' hearts might have dropped when Brandon Marshall was not in uniform with his teammates this afternoon, but no worries, he was just getting a well-deserved day off. For about a week now, Marshall has lived up to the hype, in practice anyway, and has reportedly been dominate at times. Yes, it's important for him to establish a rhythm with his new quarterback, but a physical freak like Marshall doesn't really need the same reps the others do.
He could probably work out on his own, only show up for the games, and still be one of the better receivers in the league. Of course, that's not the ideal situation, but missing a session here and there and avoiding any risk of injury for the day is not going to alter the course of this football team. With Will Allen and Patrick Cobbs, though, this is probably just precautionary as both are returning from season-ending injuries.
Sean Smith de-moted
The second-year corner has had a few bumps in the road early on in camp, but that was expected given that he would be lining up against Brandon Marshall. Today, things got a little worse. Smith spent the majority of the workout on the second-team for the first time since winning a starting job in his rookie training camp. Perhaps, even more surprising was who got the nod ahead of him. Jason Allen-yes, the same Jason Allen who's coverage skills have rivaled that of Gibril Wilson- was paired with Vontae Davis on the first-team. Now, that would have likely been Will Allen had he not had the day off.
Let's get one thing straight, Jason Allen has zero chance of cracking the starting lineup this season. Well, outside of a plague of injuries to the position, anyway. Jason Allen is in no way, shape, or form a starting caliber cornerback, free safety, strong safety, or whatever other position he has played so far in his NFL career. That's why this has "subtle message to Smith" written all over it. Yes, he's had his struggles so far, but this is likely just a motivational tool to get him going and living up the promising potential he has.
If the poor play continues, however, Will Allen will have the inside position at stealing Smith's starting job, with Nolan Carroll eventually being next in line after that, based on the solid camp he's had so far.
Is it time to worry about the offensive line?
Heading into camp the consensus seemed to be that the competition along the interior of the line had more to do with their being a surplus of talent, not a lack thereof. Unfortunately, the more camp drags on, the latter appears to be more and more realistic. We expected to see competition and rotation, but not this. A combined seven players have lined up with the first-team at the the two guard spots and center. How exactly is this group supposed to develop chemistry?
Andrew Hartline lined up with the starters at center today, ahead of Jake Grove and Joe Berger. Have Grove and Berger really been that bad, or is this just another tactic to get them to step up their game? At this point, your guess is as good as mine. One thing is clear, though, the interior isn't coming along as well as the coaches were hoping it would. If it were, at least one player would have stepped up at one of positions, and would be on the verge of solidifying himself. Rookie John Jerry has spent the most time with the first-team, but he still seems to be on a tryout basis, essentially getting looks against the number ones on defense.
It's important to remember it's still early, however, and at this point in camp the defense is usually ahead of the offense. It's just a little frustrating that no one seems to be rising to the occasion. There's still plenty of time, so hopefully the continuous competition and grind eventually gets the most out of this group, and clear cut, quality starters emerge.
Henne struggling with touch
We haven't heard much about Chad Henne so far in camp. Nothing overly positive, nothing overwhelmingly negative. If there was one aspect of his game he was looking to improve the most during the offseason, it was probably his touch throws. Any improvement made wasn't on display this evening, though. Henne reportedly had an attempted screen pass knocked down by Koa Misi, had another intercepted by Jared Odrick, and had a dump-off pass taken back to the house by Reshad Jones. On the bright side, at least the rookies had a solid practice.