I went to training camp this morning, as I'm sure most of you all did as well. I had a fairly good seat; I was in the middle of the bleachers, and a few rows up, so I had a good angle on most plays.
Here's my "report:"
Guys who stood out...
DE J.J. Watt - Watt got past his man on just about every running play. His pass rushing looks good too, but shedding blocks is definitely his biggest strength.
DT/DE Damione Lewis - Yes, you read this right, Damione Lewis stood out. I didn't have the best angle on him rushing the passer, but boy did he look good on running plays. He didn't shed blocks like Watt did, but he collapsed the middle. First team RG Mike Brisiel got absolutely bull rushed by Lewis on a toss play to Lewis' side of the field. It wasn't just that one time though. Lewis lived in the backfield on running plays.
CB Brandon Harris - Harris looked really good in both zone and man coverage. In zone, he's got good eyes and quick feet. Scouting reports on him said he was a very versatile player, and he is. He looked good in both the slot and on the outside. He also made a terrific diving interception in the slot against one of the QBs (Can't remember which one).
OG Antoine Caldwell - Caldwell looked really good on running plays. He consistently pushed his man back. If he can work on his technique in pass blocking, he could push Brisiel for the starting RG job.
OLB/DE Mario Williams - Mario looked really fluid rushing the passer on the outside, whether it was standing up or having his hand down. I think he's going to have a career season. Note: Mario and Watt were on the same side on Nickel and Dime situations, with Watt as the DT, and they kicked ass. Good 1-2 punch in the making.
RB Ben Tate - Tate stood out the most out of the offensive players. He had great vision, and exploded through holes. He was on the 2nd team though, with Derrick Ward in Foster's place on the first team.
CB Johnathan Joseph - Joseph's technique in man is nearly flawless. Whether he was pressing or giving a little bit of space, he stuck with his man every time. He switched off of Jacoby and Walter throughout the morning. Can't wait to see him guard 'Dre.
NT Shaun Cody - Cody held his own on the running plays. He got some penetration on a few plays, but he was never pushed back that much.
CB Jason Allen - Allen was consistent today, for the most part. Whether it was in zone coverage or man coverage, he was in good position to make plays, and he did. He jumped a comeback route, and picked off Matt Leinart. I wouldn't mind this guy as the #2 CB, but it looks like K-Jax will be the starting #2 on the 15th.
Guys who stood out... In a bad way
OLB Brooks Reed - Reed looked lost and uncomfortable. When he was rushing the passer while standing up, he looked incredibly uncomfortable. He was shifting his feet and didn't know how to explode off the edge like he did in college. He may take a bit more time to develop as an OLB.
CB Roc Carmichael - Roc has good technique and good speed, but sometimes he got burned in man coverage. Undrafted WR Jeff Maehl ran a very nice crossing route, and separated himself from Roc by at least 3 or 4 yards. I wouldn't worry about Roc, but he did have some bad moments this morning.
NT/DT Earl Mitchell - Earl had some good moments today, but he is on this list for one reason: Getting absolutely blown up by Kasey Studdard. It was a running play, and Mitchell lined up on the nose, shading to the left, near Studdard. The center blocked someone else, which left Mitchell and Studdard one-on-one. I'm not sure if I've seen a dominant pancake. Mitchell simply got his ass kicked on that play. The fact that it was Studdard is embarrassing. Let's hope this doesn't happen in the regular season.
LB DeMeco Ryans - Ryans moved well today, but wasn't looking good in man coverage. Ben Tate burned him badly on a wheel route and gained around 30 yards before a DB ran him down. Hopefully he's better in zone.
RG Mike Brisiel - Mike was up and down today, which is strange because he's usually a reliable guy. But today, he was inconsistent. He got blown up by Damione Lewis and J.J. Watt a couple of times, but other than that, he was solid. I'd say it's going to be another close battle between him and Caldwell for the starting RG job.
For the most part, everyone looked good. The OL opened up quite a few holes, and the RBs exploded through them.
Standout player of the day: J.J. Watt - Watt lived in the backfield today, whether it was on running plays or passing plays. Can't wait to see him dominate the Colts rookie OLinemen.