Two of 14 spring practices are in the books. We’ll learn more today when the Jackets put on shoulder pads, and tomorrow, when they do some real hitting in full pads.
Coach Paul Johnson addressed a few issues after practice No. 2.
Here’s what he had to say about the defensive line, which lost Michael Johnson, Vance Walker and Darryl Richard. (Currently, the first unit is Derrick Morgan and Robert Hall at DE, Ben Anderson and Jason Peters in the middle).
“In shorts, it’s hard to gauge defensive linemen. We’ve got some guys we’re excited about mixed in with some guys who have played a little bit. I think that will sort itself out. I think we’ve got to be a group of guys who really pay attention to detail and try to be fundamentally sound. We may not have the same type of physical specimens that we’ve had there, but I think we’ve got some good players.”
The backfield will be a lot deeper than it was a year ago. At B-back you start with Jonathan Dwyer and Richard Watson. At A-back you’ve got Roddy Jones, Lucas Cox, Anthony Allen, Marcus Wright and Embry Peeples. (Wright and Peeples are two of the fastest players on the roster.)
“I think we’re going to have more depth than we had a year ago, but we were very lucky a year ago,” CPJ said. “We didn’t get very many people hurt. As you start to build a program up, the ideal thing is going to be where you have depth and if you miss a guy, you move another guy in and you’re not staying up at night worrying who’s going to play if this guy gets hurt. We’re a little closer to that this year. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer.”
He said it’s too early to speculate on how the pieces will fit.
“There’s a perception of what we think they’re going to do, but we haven’t seen ‘em do anything yet. So we’ll gauge it as we go into it.”
Players are being taught to play either position, and that’s key.
“I think it will help make us better. Our goal is to get the best 11 players on the field. It might be three of ‘em at B-back, so they’ll have to move. It could be three at A-back, and they’ll have to be able to move. We’ve just got to get the best 11 on the field.”
Your thoughts on the backfield?