1 - Tyrod has his best dayThe offense is always behind the defense at the outset of training camp, but once the first week is in the books you typically see the offense make a push in its execution. That was readily apparent on Monday with the starting offensive unit. Tyrod Taylor had one of his most consistent days of camp, but more important than his completions was his decision making.
After getting off to a slow start in the first series of 11-on-11, Taylor locked in after that. He completed his next five passes and finished the day unofficially 11-for-13. He still took a couple of sacks on the day, but overall he hit targets, especially in the middle of the field.
During the starting offense's two-minute drill against the starting defense, Taylor converted a 3rd-and-4 hitting Sammy Watkins on a quick slant for a first down. He then found Clay over the middle for another play to move the sticks.
Taylor also overcame a sack on 1st-and-10 at the defense's 40-yard line. Facing a 2nd-and-17 he got half that yardage on a completion to Rod Streater. He then found Zay Jones over the middle on a 3rd-and-8 to keep the drive going. With eight seconds left, Taylor spiked the first down snap leading to the drive's final play.
His best pass was his last one as he gunned a throw over the middle 20 yards to Charles Clay for a touchdown to finish a two-minute drill with no time left on the clock.
"Tyrod just trusted me in that situation," said Clay. "The more I can continue to make plays like that for him and for the team, the more I continue to build that trust. It was big. It's always big to finish out the end of a practice when everybody is tired and push and finish with the two minute drill and finish with the touchdown."
"He's a great guy. A great quarterback, great leader, a guy who is always in his book," said Jonathan Williams of Taylor. "He said he's going to trust guys. He's moved the ball pretty well down here. He's been looking good. He's taken control of the offense so I'm excited."
2 - Defense wins on last couple of two-minute drivesWhile the starting offense converted with a touchdown on the first drive, the second and third team offensive units were foiled by their corresponding defensive units.
T.J. Yates made plays to move the ball, including a 4th-and-7 conversion near midfield when he hit Logan Thomas with 31 seconds on the clock to keep the drive alive. However, when facing a 3rd-and-10 at the 28 with eight seconds left and needing a touchdown, Yates was sacked by Jerel Worthy before he could get the ball down to the end zone.
The third team's drive was even shorter. Facing a 1st-and-10 situation at midfield with 25 seconds on the clock, Nate Peterman hit Daikiel Shorts for a 21-yard completion and he got out of bounds to stop the clock with 18 seconds left.
But on the next play Cedric O'Neal made a reception out of the backfield, but was stripped by Gerald Hodges, who scooped up the loose ball and ran the other way on a fumble return. He didn't reach the end zone, but it was his second takeaway in his last three practices.
"It feels good. It just lets you know the respect that we're trying to show for the game and for our coaches in the things that they're presenting in meetings," said Hodges, who had an interception on Friday night. "The things that they're pressing forward on day in and day out for us to come out here, not just myself, but each of the guys are making attempts to get the ball. It's good to make tackles and things like that, but when we can get the ball back in the offense's hands we're rolling."
Hodges has put himself in good position to land a job with the second unit at linebacker due to his versatility and playmaking ability thus far. If he can carry that into the preseason games he'll be a lock.
3 - Streater sneaks in some starter repsHe hasn't unseated anyone among the top three receivers yet. Sammy Watkins, Andre Holmes and Zay Jones still look to be getting the most time with the starting unit. But on Monday, Rod Streater rotated in with the first unit during the team segments.
He didn't get much time with the ones, but the move is an indication that he's pushed himself into the conversation for a top three role. That could change however, with the team's addition of Anquan Boldin, who signed Monday afternoon.
Still, Streater is putting himself in position to lock down a roster spot. If he can continue his steady play in the preseason games, he'll be on the 53-man roster.
Bonus notesCB Kevon Seymour did not practice due to a foot injury he's listed as day to day. Replacing him as a second team corner was first-year CB Bradley Sylve.
CB Marcus Sayles served as the second team nickel corner with Seymour out of the lineup.
Micah Hyde (hip) participated in the team segments Monday, but had his reps limited with Shamiel Gary rotating in for him a good deal.
Third team MLB Carl Bradford had an interception.
Adolphus Washington had a nice tackle for loss on a carry by Cedric O'Neal. Preston Brown had a quality tackle for loss on LeSean McCoy during 9-on-7 work.
Marcell Dareus and Jerel Worthy had sacks.
CB Charles James had an INT and Reggie Ragland got his hand in the passing lane at the second level to force an incompletion.