The last day of open viewing in training camp came with a few unusual changes on both offense and defense. Players like Duke Johnson, Denzel Perryman, Braxton Berrios, Malcolm Lewis, Shane McDermott and others had the day off.
Many thought the move was to prevent an injury on the last day of camp or to let others get a shot with 1's. However, it was more of a mental tactic by Head Coach Al Golden. He did indeed want other players to run with the 1's and to prevent injury, but he mostly wanted to see how others would react to key players being out.
1) Al Golden on benching captains
It was a smart move from Golden not to tell the rest of the team that several players would have the day off. Injuries are unexpected and sudden, so the reaction would be similar.
Regarding players who stepped up during Saturday's practice, Golden had this to say.
"You saw Chad (Thomas) step up today. Chad always steps up. You also saw Dallas Crawford step up."
2) Dallas Crawford, Chad Thomas and other defensive players
As for the players that did get the day off, they enjoyed coaching up their teammates. Especially Denzel Perryman.
3) "I'm coach DP today!"-Perryman
Other players like Braxton Berrios, Malcolm Lewis and Rashawn Scott were coaching up the younger wide receivers, like Darrell Langham.
After practice, Golden was asked about his impressions of Darrell Langham.
"He's great. For him to be that big and that fast incredible. He'll be a big presence in the red zone. Right now we want him to drop to 222 lbs."
4) Darrell Langham (2nd receiver) Lewis, Berrios and Scott coaching
As for Scott, he was no longer wearing a sling on his arm. During Friday's press conference, Al Golden said the senior wide receiver had suffered an "exotic" injury, but that he would return in about 3-4 weeks time.
Nearing the end of practice, the words "GOAL LINE DRILL, GOAL LINE DRILL" were yelled into the megaphone. Players, especially the defense got particularly hyped for this drill.
5) Defense chanting
On one play, Chad Thomas had a non contact sack on Brad Kaaya. The defense went crazy and ran to him. On the next play, Gus Edwards stretched on to the pile-on and scored a touchdown. After the TD, the offense went crazy and ran to Edwards.
I asked both Jamal Carter and Dallas Crawford about what makes the goal line drill so special. This is what they had to say.
"We gotta be real physical and aggressive down there. But we have fun."- Jamal Carter
6) Dallas Crawford on goal line drill
Jamal Carter was asked about Dallas Crawford and what he's brought to the defense. He started his answer with
"Dallas...he changed the game"
7) Carter on Crawford
- I want to thank everyone who's taken time out their day to read this series. These last two weeks, covering the team I grew up with has been absolutely incredible. I'd like to thank Jerry Steinberg for all his help and for giving me this opportunity. It's football season!