It’s 97 degrees out. Shade? What shade? I think I’m standing on the sun. How they got bleachers there I’ll never know… and what wrong turn I took to also get there still baffles me. So anyway, its 97 degrees on the Sun and about 1,000 others are there with me and around 80 guys who resemble the 2009 lions.
I have my pad and pen and camera (and backup camera) and realize that writing play by play takes a lot of work, I miss a lot of action, and I don’t even know which method of reporting people like. So I mixed it up today, some of one, some of the other. Hey, it was ON THE SUN and it was HOT, okay?!
First, I’m there early, maybe 15 minutes before practice “officially” starts. Half the team is out there doing stuff. Jason and Nick are kicking to a group of players on one side of one field, the QBs are talking over to the right. There are other groups scattered about doing various things ON THE SUN before practice even starts. Dedicated players they are.
So anyway, the one player I thought I saw practicing catching kick offs was Bullocks. Now I thought he was hurt, and I couldn’t figure out why he was trying his hand at catching kick offs. In fact, it wasn’t until 10 minutes ago that I figured it out. Bullocks is number 27, the number of the player I thought I saw, then I realized a few minutes ago that maybe it was a 21, which would’ve been Aaron Brown, and DING, I figured it out!!! It’s those stupid, retarded, fonts they are using for the numbers. The 1’s look like 7’s. Especially on the Sun!
So, anyway, Bullocks was no where to be seen, but Aaron Brown was practicing along with 5 others before practice started.
So the horn blows, they all start to do their stretching, and I’m wondering if that pool of water by my feet was because they had watered the grass just before I got there, or if I was really sweating that badly. (Turns out… both).
After the stretching, those players still alive took to the fields into their position groups. This time I was nearest the wide receivers. So whoever Ernie Sims growled at today I do not know.
First thing I notice about the WRs is that B. Johnson is there, helping out the coaches with the drills. Most injured players don’t do that… or at least I hadn’t seen it in the past. I thought is was interesting. After a while the QBs quit their drills with their coach and joined the WRs. Crossing route practice ensued. From there various other drills commenced, with a coach here and there flipping over their clipboards from time to time to see what drills they were to cover that day.
As the other position groups finished they joined in, eventually there were fullbacks, tightends, running backs and all those coaches there too. I saw Stafford hitting about 3 out 4 nice throws with the other being quite a bit off (75% isn’t bad though). Culpepper was hitting about the same. Stanton has some work to do still. When they started doing something that looked like a spread offense drill (5 wide, but 1 or 2 might be a RB, or FB, or TE, or combo) the press started to wander over from where they had been. I had never seen this drill before so I’m hopeful someone in the press can fill me in on what I was watching.
When they did some special teams work I noticed that the rest of the players were not drilling… but standing and watching. I took it that the coach was giving them a break since it was so hot and that long hot trip to the sun probably tired them out some. I also noticed that Colbert was playing gunner on special teams. More and more I saw players taking it easy watching this or that drill, I thought it was pretty nice of the coach to only drill some of the team at once and give the other time to acclimate to the conditions on the sun, being none of them were any more used to it then I was.
I saw Salaam get hurt, and Gandy (a center) took his place playing LT. I thought that was odd. But I have checked and I can't figure out how the numbers 6 and 5 could be anything but a 65 even with those horrid fonts. Later I saw Salaam playing again, so it must not have been serious.
They did some kind of 11 on 11 drill. Heller dropped a pass. Someone else then dropped. To the ground. Wet towels were rushed to him, a whole wagon load of gatorade was driven there (where it had to be unloaded so they could load the guy on the wagon to take him inside). He had wet towels draped all over him so I could not tell if it was a player, a coach, or someone from the press (or someone visiting). Never did find out. Stafford then threw a ball that was way off. I think it was way off, maybe someone didn’t go towards Mars when they should’ve, can’t ever be sure of these things. I did see Henry make another defensive play.
Later they worked on punt returns, again resting players not involved. Buchanan was still working punt returns. Then Williams caught one, side note… When he threw the ball back to a coach it was a good 30 yards and he threw a perfect spiral. Can you say “wildcat”? Delmas was watching punt coverage, as was Henry when he joined them… not saying others weren’t watching, but they were on my side of the action watching something specific, and I do not know what. Colbert was again working as a gunner on punt coverage. A bit later Ken Harris took his place to give him a rest. Suddenly someone didn’t get into position and the coach flipped. No more of that drill. He was hot!!! Of course, he was on the Sun, so what do you expect, but still, that player must have really done a no-no!
Later on, Levy made a nice move on D to break up a Stanton pass. Then I think I passed out… as I recall picking on the Killer for a minute or two, and he picking on me, then next thing I know practice is over. ¾ of the people never made it that far, so the lineup for autographs was short, and most of the players probably appreciated that. Some still came over to sign or talk, including Larry Foote, Gronkowski (he was actually first over), and some others who’s names I didn’t write down but pictures I have. They will be up later, if I can get either camera working again. They do not like the Sun.
For that matter, neither do I… at least… not visiting it.
Ps. On the way home I think I drove through a tornado. The car tried to take flight into a field quite suddenly, but I managed to stay on pavement. A bit up the road there were trees down blocking one lane or the other, leaves and twigs and branches everywhere, several of those very large very heavy signs that light up were upside down, one smashed to very small pieces, and right after that was a truck with a chain trying to pull a full sized tree off the expressway so everyone could stop having to drive the shoulder to continue on down the road. What a mess. I blamed it all … on the sun. (departs whistling a Stevie Wonder tune).