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OTAs - Day 4 - Leadership showing

Posted Jun 1, 2010

There may not be many instances where one can visibly witness leadership in the practice setting, but entering the second week of OTAs, one veteran offensive lineman has seen some on display from one particular quarterback.

Right tackle Cornell Green, the free agent signee from Oakland made unsolicited mention of Trent Edwards’ leadership through the course of the offseason conditioning program up until now.

“Trent is ready man, Trent is ready to go,” said Green after Tuesday’s practice. “He’s talking to us every day. We’re amongst him every day. We’re just trying to jell right now.”

When asked to expand on what kind of leadership he’s seen from Edwards, Green referenced how Edwards is carrying himself as well as interacting with teammates.

“Just his confidence man,” said Green. “He’s confident with what he wants to do. He wants to lead a team. He’s had some years in the league and he just wants to be able to get this team past that point of just being a good team and getting to the playoffs. He works with us every day. We eat breakfast together. We’re chatting with him so I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Edwards has made an effort to encourage and prop up teammates on the practice field even when he’s not taking snaps. After rookie receiver David Nelson made a nice looking catch over the middle on a throw from Ryan Fitzpatrick, Edwards offered a low five to the wideout on his way off the field, while giving him a few words.

“It’s a game that relies on trust and you build camaraderie through the offseason,” said Edwards. “And the way you win football games is through having trust and having those offseason workouts. You put in your preparation, you prepare to win and you have friends on this team and guys you compete with every day and you grow as a team together.”

Right now in terms of performance on the practice field no one quarterback has far and away outshined any of the others. With reps split four ways it can sometimes be difficult to stand out.

QB Update
That being said Ryan Fitzpatrick was the first player through in the rotation during the run game series of team work as well as 7-on-7. In both cases he was followed by Edwards, then Brian Brohm and Levi Brown.

During 11-on-11 Edwards was first under center, followed by Fitzpatrick then Brohm and Brown. Edwards had some quality throws over the middle during 7-on-7. Fitzpatrick worked the sidelines and the slants a bit more, but did have a few solid completions in the middle of the field too as that seemed to be a focus for the offense Tuesday.

Brohm and Brown’s reps were lesser than the other two signal callers.

Cadence quandary
In addition to getting accustomed to a new scheme and a new offensive line coach with new techniques the offensive linemen are also entrusted with getting a feel for the different pre-snap cadence of all four quarterbacks.

It can prove to be a challenge at this point in the offseason. Even Green jumped offsides once prompting a self-directed expletive at the tail end of a run play.

“Cadence,” said Green shaking his head. “I jumped offsides on the first play because I was on a whole different cadence, but we’ve got some good guys. We’re just trying to jell right now. This is the time for learning, getting techniques down and just working together because we are a young team so we’re getting the fundamentals down first.”

Ball security
Speaking of fundamentals offensive coordinator/running backs coach Curtis Modkins has been emphasizing ball security every single day with his backs. One particularly interesting drill involves a harness that wraps around the nose of the ball and attaches to a six to eight-foot strap.

In the drill the ball carrier holds the harnessed ball as he would on any normal carry in a game. A fellow back then holds onto the strap connected to the ball and stands a yard or two behind the ball carrier and yanks periodically on the strap while Modkins instructs the ball carrier to shuttle to the left, right, forward or back.

The tugging on the ball forces the back to apply forearm pressure to the ball to pin it securely into their side so it’s not tugged back underneath their armpit.

After one player had the ball tugged away Modkins sternly stated.

“We’ve got to take care of the ball.”

Observation notes
Roscoe Parrish was getting consistent and at times instanteous separation from his defenders during the team portions of practice. Parrish looks more motivated than ever to make an impact on offense this season.

C.J. Spiller continues to be the next back in the rotation after Fred Jackson and made some catches out of the backfield Tuesday, something that has not been seen too often up until this point.

Leodis McKelvin got some work at left cornerback rotating in with Terrence McGee the second time the first team defense was on the field. McKelvin has typically lined up on the right side. Drayton Florence was the starter opposite both McGee and later McKelvin.

Florence, Reggie Corner and Ashton Youboty all got some work at nickel corner.

Seventh-round pick Kyle Calloway continues to get reps at right tackle with the third unit, despite initial plans to line him up at guard.

During team work Donte Whitner deftly sniffed out a draw play, shouting ‘Draw! Draw!’ just moments before the snap, giving the defense a good pre-snap call.

Highlights
Among the performers on Tuesday was tight end Jonathan Stupar. With Shawn Nelson not in attendance Stupar and Michael Matthews got all the reps in practice at tight end and they were busy.

Stupar pulled in six passes between 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 work. Matthews chipped in with two receptions.

David Nelson madethe aforementionedhigh grab to pull in a pass from Fitzpatrick during 7-on-7.

Michael Matthews had a good looking reception over the middle on a throw from Edwards. And Edwards would follow on the next play on a pass deep down the middle to Felton Huggins.

Rookie Naaman Roosevelt also went deep down the middle to pull in a catch from Fitzpatrick in 7-on-7.

Fred Jackson had a nice run as he got to the sideline quickly after getting through the hole for what would’ve been big yardage.

Lee Evans did a nice job toeing the sideline on a throw from Edwards.

Defensively, Paul Posluszny had another pass breakup on a throw underneath.

Leodis McKelvin almost had an interception on a throw intended for Evans in 11-on-11.

Torell Troup got great penetration on a run play as he forced the run extremely wide resulting in a minimal gain at best.

Schedule
The team is back on the practice field Wednesday for a 12:05 pm practice. Coach Gailey is scheduled to speak following practice.

This is a longer week for the players. With OTAs wrapping up Thursday there is a voluntary minicamp that immediately follows. It begins on Friday and runs through the weekend.

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