I'm not sure if people are still interested in hearing impressions from training camp, but in case there are some who are curious about what is going on there I thought I would jot down a few informal impressions from tonight.
First and foremost, I was struck by how confident the team looked compared to a few weeks ago. The victory over the Colts probably had a lot to do with it, but I suspect the guys are simply into the Gailey mindset and feeling much more comfortable about it. Also, even though it rained hard at times, making the ground and ball slippery, there were very few mistakes. This is the kind of practice that Chan Gailey kept saying he wanted, and tonight he got it.
The standout for me was Stevie Johnson. I have always liked him, but it now seems to me he has grown into a genuine #2 WR, making impressive catches literally all over the field. He was everyone's favorite target and I don't believe he missed one ball all night. Chad Jackson looked almost as good, especially on a deep throw down the sideline from Brian Brohm. The rest of the receiving corps also did well, especially Naamen Roosevelt, but Roscoe Parrish did muff several balls he should have had.
Not many running plays tonight -- the emphasis was definitely on the pass. When they did carry the ball Spiller and Bell had some nice runs. On one occasion the ball was snapped directly to Spiller in what appeared to be a wildcat play (he got stuffed on it, so perhaps we won't see it again).
Among the QB's the best performance of the night clearly belonged to Brohm, who fired off some real bullets that in every case reached their mark. For what it's worth, Trent Edwards had an off-night with some bad throws, including one terrible pick. I wondered if the rain was a factor for him. However, the award for best appearance by a QB this evening belonged to Jim Kelly, who strolled along with sideline chatting with the coaches.
The defense left the stadium for a while to work on the back practice field, but when they returned I was especially impressed by Ellis Lankster, who might have been trying extra hard to make up for his dubious game last week. #25 had a pass break-up on a deep ball in the far corner of the endzone that was truly a thing of beauty. Leodis McKelvin, by contrast, had a so-so practice, commiting blatant interference on one play and whiffing on another. For Aaron Maybin it was famine or feast, with a lot of plays in which he went nowhere, but also one great "sack" of Trent Edwards. His quickness is amazing when he can figure out how to use it.
Finally, TE Michael Matthews went out with what looked to be a minor injury. Let's hope it's minor, because the TE dept. was looking very lonely. First there was only Matthews and Stupar to do drills together, and then just Stupar by himself. Pretty sad.