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Monday, July 31, 2006

What have we learned so far?

Three days into training camp and already some interesting facts are coming to light:

1. Will Poole, who was slated to be the starter before he tore up his knee prior to last season, is well behind the other corners, and specifically Travis Daniels, in terms of technique and understanding. He may be more talented to some degree, in that he's more physical. But if he is to challenge for a starting job this year, the technique lightbulb must burst on in the coming weeks. Yes he was around all of last year and went to meetings and alike. But there's nothing like practicing it on the field.

2. Same for Shirdonya Mitchell. He's regained his speed, but it's not about that. He is effectively a rookie trying to learn how to play the position as the coaches want him to do it.

3. Joey Harrington is thinking rather than reacting and that will be addressed as he gets some -- I hope lots -- of playing time in the preseason. The system is new to him so he has to unlearn all the stuff he knew at Detroit and get acclimated with the Miami stuff. The big difference is the Miami stuff is simpler, believe it or not. In Miami, he has a progression of reads and he must follow that progression. In Detroit's west-coast offense, which by the way was the ancient version of Bill Walsh's offense under Mariucci, the receivers weren't always in the same place because their reads determined where they ended up. That is the reason Harrington did better before Mariucci than after the coach took over.

4. I've seen Daunte Culpepper take off running down the field five or six times this camp when he finds no receivers open. He also chased a defensive back down the sideline when his pass was batted at the line of scrimmage and intercepted. I think that's a good sign.

5. I still think Jason Allen's deal will get done fairly soon. Maybe by the end of this week.

6. Dan Wilkinson is still on the radar, but as each day passes, the idea of having him come in becomes less attractive to Nick Saban. Several reasons for that: His delaying tactics mean he doesn't "want it" enough and it also means he's not going to be in the best of shape.

7. Been watching L.J Shelton and Damion McIntosh in pass rush drills and, really, Shelton doesn't look any better to me than McIntosh. Let's see if the upgrade shows up in the preseason games.


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