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2024 Spring Practices

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Practice Report: Notes & observations from OTA No. 2


Here's what caught my eye from the practice field at OTA No. 2:

* During the individual practice period I made a beeline over to the outside linebackers group, where new coach Charlie Bullen was putting his players through drills. There was a big focus on hand placement and winning with the correct inside/outside arm, depending on alignment. The drills stressed the importance of the edge players getting their hands inside, which allows them to control the chest of the offensive lineman and win the leverage battle.

* Kayvon Thibodeaux and Brian Burns were working with each other in these drills, and it is amazing seeing how similar their body types are when they stand next to each other. Thibodeaux is a little thicker in the upper body, which is probably why he is listed at 258, while Burns is at 250.

* I then made my way over to the offensive linemen, who were working together on combo blocks in the run game. The drills featured two players, either a center and guard or guard and tackle, working together to block two defenders. One defender was on the first level with the second playing a linebacker/second-level role. The defenders would present different movements, which forced the offensive linemen to work together in different ways to get both players blocked. It trained the mental part of the game for the offensive linemen to know how to pass off one player to each other, and the physical chemistry necessary to execute it on the field.

* Later in practice, Devin Singletary joined the offensive line group and they worked together on how to pick up different blitzes. There's a lot of teaching going on from both the mental and physical parts of the position with the offensive line group right now.

See all the action from spring practices at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

* The team portion of practice featured all red zone work, with most of it coming inside the 10-yard line. The defense started strong with a pass break-up by Deonte Banks. The offense did score two touchdowns in the first team period, with Tommy DeVito finding Malik Nabers in the back of the end zone after scrambling to buy time in the backfield. Undrafted rookie free agent Nathan Rourke also connected with veteran wide receiver Miles Boykin on a shovel pass while he ran forward in the pocket but before he passed the line of scrimmage.

* The offense heated up later in practice and started getting the ball in the end zone more consistently. Olszewski was extremely active as a receiver, catching a pair of touchdown passes. He is enjoying his chance to compete at wide receiver. Jalin Hyatt scored a touchdown crossing along the back line on a throw from DeVito. Tight end Tyree Jackson was left open in the end zone for a short touchdown catch, while Boykin caught back-to-back touchdowns from Drew Lock at the end of the team practice.

* Rookie Tyone Tracy Jr. got involved in the passing game and caught two balls, one in the flat and another over the middle that could have gone for touchdowns.

* The defense made some plays in the final couple of team periods. Bobby Okereke and Ryder Anderson combined for what could have been a sack. Tre Hawkins III knocked a ball away in the end zone.

* Practices end with a developmental period for the young players, and Rourke made the most of it. He hit John Jiles near the front pylon, who made an amazing grab for a touchdown. Two plays later he connected with wide receiver Chase Cota for a touchdown.

* The defense came up with a takeaway with Jalen Mills successfully executing a tip drill to come down with an interception.

View photos from spring practices at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.


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