A Somber Group of Linebackers
I caught some weird vibes from the linebackers and it’s not because I watched an episode of Stranger Things before practice. D.J. Eliot has never been one to deeply elaborate about a player’s performance, but these responses seemed more blunt than usual.
“Courtney hasn’t seemed too gassed considering that he did that and played hard every play.” I followed up asking if he knew he was pleased with how he handled his alignments and assignments. “I was, I thought he did a good job.”
When speaking with Love, he was more quiet than normal and beat up, with a few bumps and cuts on his face. “We’re going into Florida with confidence, ready to go,” but he didn’t say it with a lot of confidence, nor did he sound ready to go. I’m sure the eye in the sky has not been kind this week.
On the outside, De’Niro Laster has moved back to outside linebacker. The transfer from Minnesota said he was “eager” waiting on the sideline, but that was all he could really say because his number was never called.
A Players Only Meeting
Conversely, Denzil Ware wasn’t going to allow the team to fall down the slippery slope. He called a players only meeting that was described as “reaffirming.”
Elsewhere at outside linebacker, Josh Allen has returned to practice but has been used sparingly.
Confidence from JD Harmon
It’s hard not to be confident after bringing in two impressive interceptions in the first half of Saturday’s game. A seasoned vet, Harmon knows there are bumps in the road. The young team can’t linger in the past.
“It’s one game of a long season. You can’t dwell on the past. We can’t get that game back. This is the next game. It’s the most important game on our schedule right now because it’s the next one. I feel like we’re in a good place right now.”
He added another silver lining: “The good thing is, week one to week two you’ll see the most improvement. I feel like we’re doing a good job with those corrections to put ourself in the best position to go out and compete at a high level.”
I didn’t have a very good feeling walking into practice, but JD’s confidence and Ware’s leadership lead me to believe they aren’t letting this ship sink after one week.
A Few Tidbits from D.J. Eliot
Eliot said they were communicating well in the first half, but that didn’t carry over into the second half. “I think that some of the lack of communication led to some of the mental errors.”
Depth is obviously an issue on defense. How is it still an issue in year four? “I think that we’ve had some good players at different positions, but we’ve never really had them all at the same time.” He noted having Bud and Za’Darius early without much help in the secondary, but now it’s flipped, with plenty of depth in the secondary but not the defensive line.
Jordan Bonner will probably not play for awhile. Like Mike Edwards and Derrick Baity last year, he still has to figure out the system in order to be successful on Saturdays.
Watch the entire interview here.