Archive for the ‘Elvis Dumervil’ Category

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My thoughts on Denver’s MNF Skirmish

August 14, 2007

Things you wait eight months for can seem somewhat disappointing when they actually come around. Admittedly, I have been more involved this off-season than ever before. I started this blog, became active in several forums (I actually Mod over at TSZ), found several awesome Bronco blogs and generally spent hours each day researching all available info on my favorite NFL team.

With all that hype, I guess I should have been prepared for a little let-down after the first preseason game on Monday night. However, when the game was done I felt VERY down and out.

At first I thought that my post-game depression was due to the inevitable let-down after looking forward to something for so long. However, as I got up this morning I was still feeling rather icky about that game last night. Which makes me think that it has less to do with my emotional state, and much more to do with the performance of the team.

Now, I don’t want to say that there weren’t some very good moments last night! When we started the game with a 67 yard drive for an easy TD, I was whooping like a mad-man. Seeing Henry tear through defenders to find yardage was a beautiful thing.

But when our Broncos kick-off coverage allowed the 49ers to gain 31 yards on the following play I was fuming. As I’ve said over and over this off-season, our kick-off coverage was 31st in the league last year and Scott O’Brien was brought in to turn this around. I know this was only one play, but if first impressions really do count, I wasn’t impressed.

Then our 1st Team defense took the field, and it only took a few plays for my stomach to turn and my palms to start sweating. Our D-line seemed to have NO run stopping ability and the 49ers picked us apart with short-yardage passes that fell right between the LB’s and DB’s. Gains of 8,9,6 and 18 yards happened before we were able to get our first sack (thank you Engelberger) and force them to settle for three.

And that’s the way it seemed to go all night. We got an early lead and then let the 49ers take over in the time of possession and third down conversion battles. Yes, our 3rd and 4th stringer were good enough to prevent them from taking the lead back, but it was the sheer lack of stopping-power our Defense displayed that really caused my heart to sink.

Our Defense can not give up 144 yards on the ground and expect to win games. The 49ers gained a total of 386 yards to our 270 yards. The 49ers owned us in Time of Possession (by almost 10 minutes – that’s nearly a full quarter). They also converted WAY too many 3rd downs (7 of 16 while Denver was 3 of 9). We need to find a way to get our defense OFF THE FIELD!

The thing that shocked me the most was how eerily familiar this game was to our games last year. We only scored 17 points — that’s what we averaged under Jake Plummer in 2006. We won by holding on to a tiny lead. And the most scare fact is that our Defense looked just like the ‘bend-but-don’t-break’ system we seem to have fallen into each of the last few years.

Every year we have a DC that talks about how aggressive the new Defense is going to be, but then we get killed when our opponents begin tearing us up with those short passes. You can’t give away 5.2 yards per play and expect us to win 10-12 games.

Rationally, I do understand that our guys are still learning Bate’s new scheme. I know that there will be an adjustment period and that we still haven’t ironed out our starters along the D-line. I just hope that last night’s problem was the players’ learning curves rather than any inherent flaw in Bates’ system.
POSITIVE NOTE:

I was impressed with some of what I saw. On offense I loved seeing Henry and Cutler get to work. Walker made a nice catch and Hixon played bigger than his numbers show. I was also surprised by how well our O-line played considering the missing starters.

EDIT: You all need to check out BroncoTalk’s breakdown of that first Offensive drive. It’s great work by Kmonty (as always!): CHECK IT OUT!


On Defense I was impressed with Webster and Green at LB. Engelberger has many haters among the fans for some reason, but he played good ball on Monday. Dumervil also had a good night. But I loved what I saw from our Safeties; and not just our starters – but Abdullah, Cargile, Cox and (of course) Foxworth. Of the rookies, Crowder seemed to be the most active.

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 5

August 2, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY FIVE OF TRAINING CAMP:

Warrick HoldmanDay Five is in the books, and it came with quite a scare. Warrick Holdman collided with teammate Mike Bell near the sideline early in the morning session. He suffered what is being called a ‘spinal cord concussion’ from the collision.

“He went numb for about 30 or 40 seconds out there and he got his feeling back — which is a good sign. I don’t know for sure, but normally when somebody gets that feeling back, it’s usually positive.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/2/07

While it’s a good sign, the team took no chances and Holdman was strapped to a back board, loaded into an ambulance and taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center. He will remain there over night for observation.

The eerie part of this report is how familiar it is to the one that followed the Seattle game when Al Wilson was injured. As both LB’s Al Wilson and John Mobley had their careers end due to this type of injury, it makes everyone involved concerned about Holdman tonight.

On a lighter side, Travis Henry may be the leading contender for the #1 RB spot, but that doesn’t mean he’s above the law. Today he was punished with running laps for jumping offsides during practice. And that’s not the first time our RB star has done laps after a camp session. The first time was because he wasn’t standing in the right place.

“They see it as you’ve got to pay attention to the little things. I respect that.” — Travis Henry 8/2/07

…well, you’ve been warned — No getting out of line boys and girls, or you’ll answer to Coach Shanahan! 🙂

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ATTENDANCE:

In addition to Holdman leaving the field on a stretcher, here are the other camp injuries…

WR Marquay McDaniel was held out again due to his hamstring injury. Chad Mustard was out with a right hamstring injury. Glenn Martinez was also out again with a right thigh injury. Marcus Thomas joined the group on the sideline today due to a left calf injury. Brandon Marshall, Tony Scheffler, Rod Smith, Lamont Reid and Doug Niehuis were all still out. Sam Adams did not practice today because of a right knee injury but Shanahan said it was a part of the plan for Adams to sit out.

“He’s all right. It’s a game plan that we have—we’re going to make sure he’s in shape. We know he can play the game. When he played the first couple practices, he’s been very impressive but we don’t want to overdo it as well.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/2/07

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
Walker and Brandon Stokley ran with the 1st Team.
den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change from the last few days.
den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
Again, no change. Travis Henry with Cecil Sapp running second. Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.
den-logo.jpg O-line:
1st Team O-line was unchanged: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper and RT Erik Pears.

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg D-line:
* 1st Team D-line stayed the same as the last couple of days with Jimmy Kennedy work in Sam Adams spot: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Jimmy Kennedy.

DIME PACKAGE NOTE: Unchanged from yesterday: Ekuban and Warren were the tackles with ends Jarvis Moss and Elvis Dumervil.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s were: D.D. Lewis took his turn at SAM today, D.J. Williams still impressing at MIKE and Ian Gold at WILL.

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No changes here as CB’s Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly and Safeties Nick Ferguson and John Lynch played on the 1st Team. Foxworth was their Nickel back and Cox joined the 1st Team during work on the Dime Package.

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SPECIAL TEAMS LINE UPS: THURSDAY

den-logo.jpg Kick-Off Return Team:
Returners consisted of WR’s Quincy Morgan, David Kircus and Domenik Hixon each fielded some kicks during the afternoon session. Both Brandon Pace and Todd Sauerbrun got reps kicked off.

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 4

August 1, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY FOUR OF TRAINING CAMP:

Day four and away we go!

If the biggest news yesterday was Domenik Hixon’s shoulder injury, the top story today should have been his return to the practice field.

However, Javon Walker broke his silence today and spoke to a throng of eager reporters after the morning practice. Much to their chagrin, he didn’t discuss the Jan. 1st death of Darrent Williams. But that didn’t stop every sports media outlet from leading with the story “Walker still silent on slain teammate” — way to respect the man’s emotional recovery dill weeds!

In ACTUAL football news, Ian Gold made it back into the line up and Domenik Hixon muscled through his shoulder pain to complete the morning practice. Brandon Marshall, however, sat out again. Shanahan noted that and made some pointed comments about the importance of beating the injury bug and getting out on the field.

“When guys get hurt, it really hurts their chances of making the team. For a guy like Domenik to come in after a first-degree shoulder separation is pretty impressive. He worked through it, and that is what you are hoping a guy is going to do.”

“A guy that keeps getting hurt, we can’t waste repetition on a guy that’s not out there. We have to have guys who can stay healthy.”

— Mike Shanahan 8/1/07

And if Shanahan wasn’t blunt enough, Ted Sundquist also commented on Brandon Marshall today.

“We’re counting on Brandon. We put a lot of time and effort into coaching him, getting him ready, but ultimately on a Mike Shanahan team you’ve got to go out on the field and perform”

— Ted Sundquist 8/1/07

Brandon Marshall needs to get his butt in gear, deal with a little pain and get out on that darn practice field — SOON.

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ATTENDANCE:

WR Marquay McDaniel was held out with a hamstring injury. Kenard Lang and Chad Mustard did not participate and Glenn Martinez was sidelined during the morning practice with a strained leg muscle.

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: WEDNESDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
Walker and Brandon Stokley ran with the 1st Team.

den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change from the last few days.
den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
Again, no change. Travis Henry with Cecil Sapp running second. Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.

den-logo.jpg O-line:
* 1st Team O-line was unchanged: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper and RT Erik Pears.

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: WEDNESDAY

den-logo.jpg D-line:
* 1st Team D-line stayed the same as the last couple of days: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Sam Adams, but Jimmy Kennedy replaced Adams for some reps this morning.

DIME PACKAGE NOTE: Unchanged from yesterday: Ekuban and Warren were the tackles with ends Jarvis Moss and Elvis Dumervil.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s were: Nate Webster took his turn at SAM today, D.J. Williams still impressing at MIKE and Ian Gold back at WILL.

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No changes here as CB’s Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly and Safeties Nick Ferguson and John Lynch played on the 1st Team. Foxworth was their Nickel back and Cox joined the 1st Team during work on the Dime Package.

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SPECIAL TEAMS LINE UPS: WEDNESDAY

den-logo.jpg Kick-Off Return Team:
Returners consisted of WR’s Quincy Morgan, David Kircus and Domenik Hixon each fielded some kicks during the afternoon session. Both Brandon Pace and Todd Sauerbrun got reps kicked off.

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 3

July 31, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY THREE OF TRAINING CAMP:

Domenik Hixon InjuredWe’re at Day Three at Dove Valley, boys and girls!

And the biggest news from the morning practice is Domenik Hixon’s shoulder injury. The speedy receiver landed on it during the later part of the morning session.

“I just came out and tried to make a play and landed on my shoulder. That’s football.” — Domenik Hixon 7/31/07

The injury is thought to be ‘slight,’ although he will not be returning to the field for the rest of the day. Mike Shanahan discribed the injury as a 1st degree shoulder separation. They will have a MRI done tomorrow to determine the exact injury and recovery time.

Hixon’s absence left room for David Kircus to show off his skills. He had some very acrobatic catches, but he also dropped or bobbled several passes leading Shanahan to mention his consistancy in his post-practice presser.

“He’s a little inconsistent. He drops the ball a few too many times, but he does come up with the big play. That consistency dictates whether or not you get a chance to play come game time. But David does show flashes and hopefully that consistency will improve and if it does improve he will have a chance to be on the football team.”

— Mike Shanahan 7/31/07

However, the ray of hope for Day 3 was seeing Rod Smith running (well, jogging) on the field after the second practice! Go Rod — we NEED ya buddy! 🙂

* Image provide by Erik Lars Bakke and Andrew Mason *

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ONE-A-DAY GROUP

Veteran Players on one-a-day status included: Champ Bailey, John Lynch, Nick Ferguson, Tom Nalen, Matt Lepsis, Ebenezer Ekuban, Sam Adams and Stephen Alexander. Brandon Stokley and Adam Meadows both practiced after sitting out the morning session. Travis Henry also got the afternoon practice off.

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: TUESDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
With Hixon out and Brandon Stokley only practicing in the evening, David Kircus ran with the 1st Team and Brian Clark was the #3 WR.

den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change, Nate Jackson and Chad Mustard were also on the 1st Team for kick off returns.

den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
Again, no change. Travis Henry with Cecil Sapp running second. Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.

den-logo.jpg O-line:
* 1st Team O-line was unchanged from yesterday: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper and RT Erik Pears. AFTERNOON: With Lepsis and Nalen sitting out the practice, Chris Myers took over at center, RT Erik Pears shifted over to the left side and Adam Meadows took Pears’ spot at RT.

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: TUESDAY

den-logo.jpg D-line:
* 1st Team D-line stayed the same as the last couple of days: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Sam Adams. AFTERNOON: Elvis Dumervil lined up at right DE with Ekuban on one-a-days.

DIME PACKAGE NOTE: Ekuban and Warren were the tackles with ends Jarvis Moss and Elvis Dumervil.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* With Ian Gold out with back spasms, the 1st Team LB’s were: D.D. Lewis at SAM, D.J. Williams at MIKE and Louis Green at WILL.

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No changes here as CB’s Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly and Safeties Nick Ferguson and John Lynch played on the 1st Team. Foxworth was their Nickel back and Cox joined the 1st Team during work on the Dime Package. Rookie Roderick Rogers did seem 2nd Team action late in the morning practice. AFTERNOON: Domonique Foxworth and Curome Cox filled in for Lynch and Ferguson in the afternoon and Karl Paymah filled in for Champ.

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SPECIAL TEAMS LINE UPS: TUESDAY

den-logo.jpg Kick-Off Return Team:
On Special Teams the 1st kick-off return team looked like this: Safeties Steve Cargile & Hamza Abdullah, RB Cecil Sapp, LB’s Warrick Holdman & D.D. Lewis, TE’s Nate Jackson & Chad Mustard, DE Tim Crowder and O-lineman Chris Myers.

Returners consisted of WR Quincy Morgan and RB Mike Bell, with Kircus and WR Glenn Martinez each fielded some kicks as well. Morgan’s lead blocking was handled by Kyle Johnson, while Troy Fleming worked with Bell.

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TRAINING CAMP: DAY 2

July 30, 2007

NOTES AND NEWS FROM DAY TWO OF TRAINING CAMP:

“That long arm’s going to be home for you baby, home! That’s the leverage we’ve got to have, gentlemen!”

— Jim Bates, in reference to a great play by Elvis Dumervil

So, Day #2 is in the books.

The Broncos had another great day of practice. The morning practice was with shoulder pads and shorts, and the afternoon practice was a shortened Special Teams session. Highlights included Brandon Stokley’s impressive work as he competes for the #2 WR spot. Jarvis Moss showing some great improvement today and Elvis Dumervil proving to his new coach that a short man with long arms can still bust up a play (see above quote)!

On to the notes…

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OFFENSIVE LINE UPS: MONDAY

den-logo.jpg Wide Outs:
Brandon Stokley and Hixon both had time with the first team, but Stokley seemed to impress the most.

den-logo.jpg Tight Ends:
No real change, although Nate Jackson had a good practice. Daniel Graham remained the primary TE with Stephen Alexander and Nate Jackson both getting some reps on the 1st Team. Teyo Johnson worked exclusively with the 2nd and 3rd Teams.

den-logo.jpg Running Backs:
Travis Henry began to pull away seriously from the pack as the rest of the roster followed. Cecil Sapp was running second with Mike Bell, Andre Hall and Young following behind.

den-logo.jpg O-line:
* 1st Team O-line was unchanged from yesterday: LT Matt Lepsis, LG Ben Hamilton, C Tom Nalen, RG Chris Kuper and RT Erik Pears.

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DEFENSIVE LINE UPS: MONDAY

den-logo.jpg D-line:
* 1st Team D-line stayed the same as Sunday: DE’s Ebenezer Ekuban and John Engelberger, DT’s Gerard Warren and Sam Adams.

NICKLE PACKAGE NOTE: Amon Gordon replaced Adams in this package.

den-logo.jpg Linebackers:
* 1st Team LB’s saw D.D. Lewis rotate in for his turn with the unit: SAM D.D. Lewis, WILL Ian Gold, MIKE D.J. Williams

den-logo.jpg Secondary:
No surprises here as CB’s Champ Bailey and Dre’ Bly and Safeties Nick Ferguson and John Lynch played on the 1st Team. Foxworth was their Nickel back and Cox joined the 1st Team during work on the Dime Package.

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DOGFISH: Camp Preview D-line

July 12, 2007

A day late, but with all the post-mini-camp news, who can blame me! 🙂

Here, again, is our guest author Dogfish’s Training Camp Preview of the D-line. For those of you who don’t know, Dogfish is an All-Pro contributor on the Broncomania forum with nearly 10,000 posts. I admire the insight and thoughtfulness of his work and have been given permission to post his TC Previews here on this blog.

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GUEST AUTHOR: DOGFISH

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

OVERVIEW:

After losing one starter to free agency, forcing the other to take a pay cut, and bringing in at least three new players with starting potential, no position on the team saw more change over the off-season. . . HALLELUJAH! It was well past time. With a new D-line coach and DC in addition to all the new faces, competition should be wide open, and camp will go a long way towards sorting out a suddenly-crowded position. TC will be a good opportunity for Bates to start determining which DTs are the best fits for his system.

Nobody has more to prove than Gerard Warren. He may have been hindered by injuries last year, but it’s hard for me to believe that Shanahan would have forced him to redo a one year-old contract if he felt that Warren gave it as much as he could under the circumstances. He’s not going to win a starting job by default this year, so he’ll have to put forth a solid effort, and TC is the place to set the tone.

Rookie Marcus Thomas has to prove that he deserves the chance we took on him, and the best way to start is by demonstrating a high work ethic in camp. If he does, he can put a lot of pressure on the vets. Hopefully Thomas will also hit the weight room hard. TC will be our first look at Sam Adams, and how well his knee has healed. It will also be Jimmy Kennedy’s best chance to make an impression, and show that he’s willing to work hard and control two gaps without complaining. Kennedy has the natural talent to win a starting spot if he’s motivated and can keep his motor running–something he seemingly hasn’t done in the past. Alvin McKinley probably needs to show up with some additional weight if he’s going to be effective doing what Bates wants him to do.

The rest of the DTs are going to be hard-pressed to earn spots on this team, so camp will be crucial for these guys. Demetrin Veal was just signed to an extension, but he needs to show that he can fit somewhere in Bates’ defense. Amon Gordon’s lack of hustle is likely to catch up with him now that Andre Patterson is gone. Antwon Burton’s size gives him some potential as a run-stopper, but it looks like he’s going to get caught in the shuffle with more accomplished players ahead of him on the depth chart. Swing-DL Kenny Peterson was likely gone regardless, but he certainly punched his ticket out of town by drawing a four-game suspension for steroid use. Undrafted rookie free-agent Steven Harris will have a chance to earn a spot on the practice squad with a solid camp.

PLAYER TO WATCH:

It would obviously be very easy to go with Marcus Thomas here– and I will no doubt have a keen eye on Thomas. I’m as excited by his potential as anyone else, but I’m going to go with Jimmy Kennedy here. Kennedy is far ahead of Thomas in terms of strength and NFL game experience. . . and don’t forget that he was a #12 overall pick a few years ago. So far he hasn’t shown the desire and absolute dedication required to make the most of that talent, but he could be a big factor for us if the light comes on. I won’t hold my breath, but maybe getting traded was enough to get his attention. He’s also in his contract year, so hopefully he’ll be motivated by that.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Marcus Thomas vs. the Field for playing time. Since I understand quite well just how much impact role players can have on a team, I don’t get anywhere NEARLY as worked up over who’s going to start at certain positions as a lot of posters around Broncomania do–and Thomas could be behind Sam Adams on the depth chart, and still end up taking more snaps than Adams does. Thomas’ natural talent is very apparent, and how hard he’s willing to work should go a long way towards determining just how much playing time he gets in our rotation. His quickness gives him the potential to be the most disruptive of our DTs, so hopefully he shows enough to at least win a nickel pass-rusher spot to start the season– that’s where I see him making the most initial impact.

I also think we may see McKinley and Veal battling for the last roster spot at DT.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. Gerald Warren
2. Sam Adams
3. Jimmy Kennedy
4. Marcus Thomas
5. Alvin McKinley

DEFENSIVE ENDS

OVERVIEW:

The revamping of our defensive line continues at DE, and like at DT the camp competition should be pretty fierce. Given the big difference in experience, I’m not entirely sure that starting spots will be on the line. It’s certainly possible given the emphasis Bates places on pass-rushing ability, but IMO the MOST probable scenario is that Lang and Ekuban will hold off the youngsters initially. Still, it would be exciting to see one of the new guys earn a starting spot right off the bat, so I’ll definitely be paying close attention.
In addition to Elvis Dumervil, Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder, I think we’ll carry either two or three veteran DEs– depending on how the rest of the roster breaks down, of course. If we only carry two, then Lang, Ekuban and John Engelberger will likely battle it out for those two spots. I think Carlos Hall has very little chance to make the team after we spent first-day picks on two DEs. I doubt we’ll keep another pass-rush specialist with Dumervil and Moss.

Camp will be important for Johnson and Bates to get a better idea of everyone’s capabilities. TC’s importance is obviously highest for the rookies, but with new coaches and a new system, the importance increases for the vets as well–and these guys will be fighting for their jobs, and quite probably their last chances to start in the NFL. Once Bates and Johnson see what the older guys can do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them given some practices off so the younger guys can get more reps, and the coaching staff has a better opportunity to evaluate them and to teach technique. I expect that we’ll see Crowder or maybe Dumervil running with the first team in some afternoon practices.
PLAYER TO WATCH:

Elvis Dumervil. We all know the impact that Dumervil made last year as a rookie playing a part-time role. It’ll be interesting to see how he builds on a fine first season. I was pleasantly surprised by his production, but I was concerned as to whether we’d see a drop-off once teams got some game tape on him. Dumervil exploded on the scene with five sacks in a two-week span in October, but managed only one sack in four games during November. I was afraid that teams may have figured out how to deal with him, but he did rebound somewhat with two-and-a-half sacks in five games in December. Dumervil’s weaknesses are pretty obvious, so it will be extremely important for him to continue to hit the weight room and refine his technique.

Bates has had a lot of success with pass-rushers in his other stops, so I’m excited to see if he can maximize Elvis’ potential. He’s had a year to adjust to the size and speed of his opponents, so we’ll see how he can produce in a scheme that relies on it’s front four to generate pressure.

BEST POSITION BATTLE:

Ebenezer Ekuban vs. Tim Crowder at LDE. Bates likes guys with speed off the edge at both DE spots, and Crowder may have more than Ekuban at this point in their respective careers. Crowder is also the most polished and balanced of our young DEs, and in my mind is likely to be the first to mount a serious challenge for a starting spot. I’m sure Ekuban has heard all the talk, and the selection of DEs with our top two picks sent a clear message. We’ll see how he responds, but I would expect his pride to bring out his best effort. I think this particular battle could go all year, but TC will be a nice preview.   🙂
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

1. Ebenezer Ekuban
2. Kenard Lang
3. Tim Crowder
4. Elvis Dumervil
5. Jarvis Moss

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Great preview, Dogfish! And we’ll wrap up the Training Camp Previews tomorrow with a look at the defensive secondary.