The wide receiver group is definitely showing signs of separation from the top end to the bottom from what I see. John Brown, Cole Beasley, Zay Jones, Andre Roberts, Robert Foster, and Ray-Ray McCloud are the only ones getting first team reps and all are out there on a regular rotation. Everyone else is behind them, with Isaiah McKenzie the next one up. McCloud has definitely seen an uptick in reps. He’s starting to emerge as a regular with Roberts and Foster.
From reading into reps and thinking about numbers, I think David Sills, Nick Easley, Victor Bolden, Jr., and Cam Phillips are fighting for one (maybe two) practice squad spots.
Duke Williams isn’t the kind of player I see as practice squad material. He’s already been a pro for a few years and if he cannot make the team outright, it’s probably better to spend resources developing a younger player. Williams did have two touchdowns Thursday and looked good in red zone work. He still has chances to impress and show he deserves consideration for a roster spot, but that will have to come when they face live competition in preseason.
At least once every practice, Ed Oliver has a “wow, did you see that!?” moment. It usually involves him getting into the backfield really quickly and making an offensive lineman turn to try and find him. He did it again on Thursday.
Also, Kyle Williams is really working hands-on with Oliver. After one 11-on-11 red zone passing session, Williams took Oliver aside and talked with him about how he reacted to getting hooked, where his leverage should come from, and foot placement. It was really interesting to watch, but what I liked best about the exchange was that Oliver was very receptive to what Williams was saying and even showing him what happened and asking questions.
There’s no doubt veteran Kurt Coleman is the No. 3 safety, at least right now. With Hyde out, he was always on the field once again, and is calling out signals and directing traffic. Signed after the retirement of Rafael Bush, Coleman is very familiar with Sean McDermott’s defense after playing for him in both Philadelphia and Carolina.
Tight end Lee Smith, running back Frank Gore, offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle, defensive end Trent Murphy, and defensive tackle Star Lotulelei all got rest/maintenance days. Defensive end Jerry Hughes (ankle), safety Micah Hyde (neck), guard Quinton Spain (foot), and defensive tackle Robert Thomas (knee) all sat out, as well.
With Morse and Spain both out, here’s how the first-team offensive line looked:
Cody Ford also got first-team reps at right tackle, and Nsekhe moved over to get some at left tackle, as well. There’s been a lot of shuffling the last couple days due to all the injuries, with coaches wanting to make sure players know different spots and get used to communicating with each other when that happens.
The team will be at New Era Field Friday night at 6:15 p.m. for “The Return of the Blue & Red” practice. It is free and open to the public, but a ticket is required to attend.