We’re all itching for football season, that’s obvious. Each practice report almost comes as a tease, as we’re relying on coaches and players to tell us how practices are going and progress as a whole, rather than seeing it first hand. As fast as it hit us, training camp is already on its downhill swing, and today signifies one of the final huge chances for us to see how the team is doing before kickoff on September 3rd.
Here are just a few things we need to hear following the big scrimmage by all parties involved.
Praise for both QBs, not just Drew Barker
The past few media sessions have included a QB1 love-fest, praising Barker’s leadership and consistency under center. For Stephen Johnson II, however, we’ve seen mixed reviews, mostly surrounding the JUCO transfer’s questionable accuracy on some of the deeper throws. It’s apparent hearing positive news surrounding Drew Barker is necessary, but it’d be nice to see Johnson build upon an impressive outing yesterday into live game action today.
Receivers capitalizing on good QB play
These first two sort of go hand in hand, impressive plays by the quarterback usually indicates a solid day by the receiving corps, and vice versa. No drops, that’s a big one. They’ve knocked the rust off, no mental errors here on out.
Dorian Baker has taken a HUGE step up this offseason, separating himself as the team’s best receiver, and guys like Jeff Badet and Garrett “Juice” Johnson have really impressed as well. We need to hear more consistency out of the next tier guys like Jabari Greenwood, Tavin Richardson, and Ryan Timmons following today’s scrimmage. If Barker and Johnson have big days, expect to see smiling faces out of Stoops and Gran when the media brings up the receiving corps.
Tackling out of the linebackers
Stoops has been up and down on the position group as a whole, but we need to hear optimism for the linebackers. We’ve heard various name drops by the coaching staff throughout camp, Eli Brown and Denzil Ware just to name a few, but we need guys like Josh Allen and Jordan Jones to take a big step up and produce in coverage and in the pass rush. There’s talent in this group, but they’ve failed to exceed expectations thus far in camp, and today will be a great opportunity to show progress in live action.
Pressure on the defensive line
This has been a constant narrative from day one, we need to get some QB pressure out of the defensive line, especially following the absence of Regie Meant. Guys like Adrian Middleton and Kordell Looney have stepped up nicely to replace Meant, but there are still countless kinks to work out before the coaching staff is satisfied. Matt Elam and Courtney Miggins are the seasoned veterans, they know the system, it’s time to hear great things out of them. We’ve heard a few positive tidbits by both guys here and there, but today is a big day to find out the progress made from the first big scrimmage to the second.
Some of them may seem obvious, but with camp slowly coming to a close, capitalizing on these key issues will pay huge dividends throughout preseason practices and as the season progresses.